Margriet Meijer changes course. The designer and founder of bag brand Monsak will focus on customization and on her new role as maker coach, she tells FashionUnited by telephone. Monsak’s regular bag line is reduced to one model, the backpack. The other models, including shoulder bags, crossbody bags and laptop bags, will only be available for customization on request in the future. FashionUnited talks to Meijer about this firm turn. “My work started to feel like I was on a hamster wheel.”
Since 2012, Meijer has been making bags from what she calls ‘saved leather’: leather that does not pass the inspection of major fashion houses, for example due to minor damage. Initially she made tailor-made bags, especially for friends and acquaintances, who chose a model designed by Meijer and had it adapted to her liking. An extra inner pocket, longer handles… “I really liked that,” says Meijer, and her customers thought so too. Gradually, Meijer began to sell her bags through shops and markets, and with success. This is how her project grew into a label: Monsak.
This also brought Meijer into the world of retail. Wholesale, stocks, points of sale, margins – she all had to deal with it. “In the long run, some stores earned more from the bags than I did, which I found quite difficult. And certainly in the last year I got the feeling that my studio was becoming a kind of factory. ” The crowds, and the corona crisis, had a ‘muddy effect’, says Meijer. “I wasn’t really concerned with the question: ‘why am I doing this anyway?’”
The value of making
In the summer of 2020, Meijer was asked by a number of other entrepreneurs if she could help them set up a bag label. “I’ve always been talking to other entrepreneurs about their work a lot, and I thought that was really cool,” says Meijer. She accepted the offer. “It was also a way to test whether I could help other entrepreneurs and makers professionally. I’ve been an entrepreneur for eight years, but I was selling a product, not a service, that’s really something else. To suddenly call yourself a coach is a lot. I was still looking for the best way to help. ”
She also encountered some bumps in her own work. “I was no longer doing what made me happy. Being so busy keeping things going, it felt like I was in some kind of machine. I started to wonder: is this still the machine I want to work in? If you are not happy yourself, ”continues Meijer,“ you also lose your magnet. You no longer attract people. ” The designer noticed this very concretely: Monsak’s turnover began to decline. “All kinds of things came together. I thought it was time to choose what makes me happy. ”
Now she is going to support other makers in this. “Especially professional makers who already make a living from their creations. I want to help them take a step back and look at: who are you? Why do you do what you do? What do you make, and for whom? ” This can also help makers reach the right target group. “Making is something very basic,” explains Meijer. “As a maker it is crazy to ask for money for what you can do well and for what is so close to you. It’s hard to appreciate. It is important to stand back and look at what you have to offer and to find a target group that understands what you do and values it. ”
That is one of the reasons that Meijer continues to make tailor-made bags. “With that you create a personal product that people appreciate much longer.” In addition, Meijer will continue to give workshops. “I do that to make the making process tangible, and to show the love and passion for bag making.” What also remains is the backpack, Meijer’s best-selling bag. “I feel so fond of that bag, I use it every day myself. And I also like to be able to offer something that people can buy immediately. But quality remains above quantity. ”
Source: fashionunited.nl by fashionunited.nl.
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