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Sage Aubrey on Handbag Designer 101 Podcast Every Tuesday






Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:00

Hi and welcome to the Handbag Designer 101 podcast with your host, emily Blumenthal, handbag designer expert and handbag fairy godmother, where we cover everything about handbags, from making, marketing, designing and talking to handbag designers and industry experts about what it takes to make a successful handbag. Welcome, sage Aubrey, to the Handbag Designer 101 podcast, so happy to have you. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

00:31

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here today. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:35

Was it a finalist in 2018? I'm 2019. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

00:39

I don't know if it was 1918, but it was a minute ago, I think it was 2019, that you were a finalist. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:46

It was in the best handbag and overall style and design. I remember. I remember the bag. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

00:50

Yeah, and I think it was there with Brandon Blackwood that year, correct. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:54

It was 2019. Yeah, yeah, it's funny. History was made on that night in quite a bit, because I'm glad you brought that up because many people do not know that that is where he got his start. We were there, we saw it and I, funnily enough, was speaking to the head of the CFDA and his name came up and I was like PS, he came from us. And he got all bitey and he's like no, he came from us and I'm like not true. And then he said to me what year? And I said 2019 and he was like, oh okay, I said I've known him for 10 years anyway. I knew Brandon, since he was selling on his own, the whole thing. Wow, this is about you. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

01:36

Sage, but I'm okay that I lost to someone who's iconic right now, so I'm glad that he took it that year. It was meant to be, but I'm happy to be here and happy to talk about my cool little niche brand and yeah, and what something very small can be very powerful at the same time? Oof. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

01:57

She said it. She said it, so you are in Arizona now. Yes, yes. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

02:01

In Arizona but sell all over the world. So we ship straight out of Arizona to a bunch of different countries in the world, so you can buy the bags just about anywhere and we can have them shipped anywhere. So where the bags made? The bags are made in Florence, Italy. So we produce everything in Italy, which comes with this pros and cons. One of the cons is that it's incredibly expensive. They also are. I've been to a lot of places around the world trying to get my bags bags manufactured and they just seem to be the ones that can nail it. So there's a lot of sacrifice in, you know, choosing the quality of the design, because my bag is really intricate with all of the different facets of it. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

02:45

So we're still think about that when you create it, that when you come up with a very cool out of the box design, that every single change in the style, shape, silhouette will go back to labor costs. And people don't seem to take that into account. They're like oh yeah, it'll be affordably priced at a, you know, 275, 295, 395. And then once you've added an extra corner, an extra bucket, an extra handle, an extra piece of hardware, it's like now it's 695, now it's sort of 95. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

03:16

And so I think that's one of the hardest things that you learn as a young designer that I'll never forget. I think I met you like 15 years ago, like seriously, you were at magic doing a talk about bags, and I'll never forget. I came up to you and I was like really fresh you probably don't remember Was that nice? You gave me a really hard, good piece of advice. I'll never forget it but I still I honor it and I understand why you gave that advice and you said you knew you were asking me about the bag and the shape and stuff like that. And you're like, well, what's your price point? I was like, oh well, it's going to be around 600. And you're like, well, don't quit your day job. 

03:54

And I think that if someone asked me the same exact thing today, I would be like don't quit your day job, but keep going for it. You know, and what I learned in this journey that I'm sure all of us on here learn, is that price is the most critical element and when you are the emerging designer, it is incredibly difficult to compete with something over $400. I had to learn that the really, really hard way for me to get people over the line to trust me to come in and purchase a sage Aubrey handbag. So for anyone out there, that's just starting out. If someone tells you there's a sweet spot in starting out with price point, do your best work that you can to try to get there without sacrificing too much of your design dream. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

04:49

Hey, what I said to you was and obviously I don't think I was in a position to contextualize this, but that was based on my own personal experience of having gone through the exact same thing- but now that I've been through it, I would be like don't quit your day job, but go for it. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

05:07

You know 100%, if I did have a day job I probably wouldn't be here today. Anyways, but it's a complicated industry. I think it teaches us so much the hard way that, because everything is complicated, I mean do you hear that from everybody doing this? Because I'm like, how do you design market, manufacture? I mean like, do all the sales like it's insane, right? 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

05:35

Yeah it got to the point, at least, with me being the accounts payable and the accounts receivable and the PR person and the marketing person. And in my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes that people do is when they go into it. Hopefully they've saved money. I hate hearing people gone in the minus to do this, but the first thing they do is start outsourcing a publicist. They outsource the marketing team and it's like oh dear God, I spoke to a designer who had paid for my consulting and her bags weren't even ready and like I immediately went into like do you know who your customer is? Do you know what their needs are? Do you know what their wants are? Do you know what their price point threshold? Do you know what the other bags they have? Do you know where they live? And then, on top of it, please tell me you haven't hired a publicist, because if your bags are not ready, you shouldn't be hiring anybody. She's like no, I already have hired someone. 

06:28

I was like what are you paying them $2,500? They're like yeah, you gave them. They gave me a deal. They're going to make at least 10 grand off of you, with nothing to sell and nothing to show. So you have to do everything yourself, otherwise, how are you going to know who they're reaching out to? And you need to know which editors cover brands like yours. You need to know which editors cover uniquely shaped bags or female founded bags or people from the Southwest Like. You need to find these editors so you know that they will be open when you reach out to them, much like buyers are too. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

07:02

Yeah, and I think one of the other principles that I learned all building, say, job read was that I didn't understand that initially what I was doing was building a culture and I didn't really know part of my job was understanding and developing not only an identity but a brand culture that people can live within. I think that was one of the hardest lessons that I had to learn. Really quickly when I saw this and I was like here I am, here's my bags, they're kind of good. And then I was like, oh, what do I do? Just put a picture on Instagram of these bags, until I really started to develop a deep story behind my brand Brands with fans and the narrative to go with it. 

07:50

Yes, and then that's what really started to start picking up pace. And then I did the same mistake that every designer does. I got huge stock hits into Bloomingdale's in the Middle East and all throughout the Middle East and I was like, oh, and this was at the time when influencers were huge, because this was like seven years ago or something like that and I went and invested a ton of money in a huge PR firm in LA and got my ass handed to me literally. Yeah, and I think about I would never spend that money like that today. How was? 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

08:22

said ass handed to you in what capacity? That they couldn't place it, or they took all your money, or there was no placement or you had nothing to show for it Place the bags. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

08:31

So first of all, I just thought that that was the way that you blow up and I was like under this weird fog and naive that that would be the panacea to your brand Like here's my tipping point moment, because I've given you all this money. 

08:44

Yeah, because you know, at times seven years ago, there also was just kind of coming into this full influencer thing and the whole bit. So I just thought, okay, if I get it on every influencer and on celebrities, everyone's going to want these bags, it's going to get shot, it's going to get into the magazines and it's like a game over thing. Yeah, and what I learned was the game over was the 30,000 plus dollars that I had spent on gifting and also paying a really large retainer fee. Now, yes, we were seeing on Eva Longoria and Vanessa Hudgens and on all the big ones, but it literally sold $7,000 worth of bags. Yeah, yeah. And just for anyone out there listening, this focus on building in your backyard, focus on building media where you live, focus on building community around people that are going to support you, they're going to support your community, they're your loyalists you don't get into we all get into this because we're like, oh, we're going to be like Kate Spade. Then you get into this and then you're like, oh, that's not what it's actually about. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

09:51

I say, when you're building it, make sure you're a hometown hero first, because it's full of what's hanging fruit. Be the one of one of where you are. How many designers are out of Arizona? How many handbag designers? None. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

10:04

And I'm the person that whether it was smart business or shrewness or being like I don't know how I'm going to go build this, so I've got to go do it in my backyard. 

10:13

I made sure that in the last seven years I am the preeminent designer in Arizona that everyone knows about and when opportunities come to the valley, they call me. When we went through COVID, the only reason why I survived was because everyone in Arizona showed up to come buy a bag my supporters, the fans. It's so important and I love that you're giving everyone this message, emily, because it's not about just being sold in department stores and being this massive designer and all this stuff, because that may eventually come. But what you're giving the people advice on is like that's how you make it. It's like you've got to do it in your hometown first and you've got to take all the right steps and you've got to build your credentials and you've got to fail and you've got to flub and your bag has to keep, or your bags have to keep getting reinspired till it makes it, till someone finds it and they love it and well let me ask you this because this is a good segue. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

11:07

So being said, preeminent handbag designer of Arizona, which I love, if they were doing a handbag, I'd say in this USA, but I guess all that construct is so out right now. But if you were the handbag representing Arizona, it would be the stage Aubrey with the sash going around it when you started out. And, just out of curiosity, do you have local boutiques that are? You have this symbiotic relationship. They know that they're going to get the first drop, that you go to them and you kind of look after each other, that they know that the stage Aubrey fans can go to them first because they're going to get your first product and you work with them on developing our ideas. Does that exist, yeah? 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

11:52

And like that's where I built up all my my once I got out of the Middle East in large retail, because it wasn't good for me as a young designer. I couldn't afford to keep up with what they needed. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

12:03

What does that mean? What do you mean? You couldn't keep up or afford. What did that? 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

12:06

mean they were wanting like seven or eight new skews this season from me and I couldn't afford to keep up with because they had me on the shelves with Sophia Holm, Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang and I was like this is, it's the near impossible task. It's trying to do that when I'm just trying to still figure out my manufacturing years ago Right, right, right, right, Different place and I was brought into that whole situation for an incubator. So I was there on the shelf for like two years. I think it was Wow. Yeah, I mean it was the best, it was just the greatest thing ever. But I wasn't totally ready for it. But when are we? 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

12:48

ever ready for anything. I was just going to say you're not listen. I got into coterie or accessory circuit a hundred years ago. I barely had a collection. But I got in and I was like, screw that, if I have the opportunity I'll work backwards. I you know, it was like for three weeks I just said samples pumped out because I'm like I'm not missing this opportunity. So you reverse engineer, you have no choice. I'm not missing this opportunity. Oh, yeah. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

13:13

And so just going back to the stockets, but yeah, I just started to develop relationships with the local boutiques here and in the early game they wouldn't take me, they wouldn't take me, they wouldn't take me. And then we got over a certain threshold and they were like okay, we're going to stock your bags in store. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

13:28

How many units? Do you remember that the first, the biggest order, that the first store carried? 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

13:33

Oh gosh, I think it was like seven or eight bags and you were so excited and it was just the greatest feeling because I could finally feel like, okay, I can go and build stockets, I can go and build this, I can. People like it. Now People go into the store and they're looking for it. So it was a really cool feeling. And yeah, and I'm forever grateful for anyone who ever took a chance on me in the beginning. It's taken so much for me to prove to people that they can trust the brand and the brand is not going anywhere. 

14:06

Do you still work with these boutiques? And some of them I do. Some of them I don't. Some of them I circulate in and out of Like sometimes some stores take me and they take me on for holiday, or some stores I'm in all the time, some I'm just in seasonally and sometimes I found that's also really good. Like you circulate through different trends, so sometimes I'm in there, sometimes I'm out. Sometimes my little leather goods are in there, sometimes the big bags are in there, so it's kind of that's great. We're all so different and we're in, we're out. Some people get limited edition stuff, some people don't. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

14:41

Are you very considering you know you are in Arizona do you make sure that your D2C inventory is different than what's sold in stores? And how are you able, as a small brand, smaller brand I'm not saying you're brand a small, but as a you know how are you able to do you have the same inventory? Because it's hard, like if you put your stuff on sale and these local stores still have it. It's like a fine line, like do you let them know you're going on sale? Like how do you handle all of that? 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

15:12

Yeah, so I'll let them know I'm going on sale and or I give them the opportunity to do like end of season sales where they can make more of a percentage. So I am constantly in conversation with my retailers. I never not in communicating what's going on, but the thing about my brand is that I don't do a lot of sales, so I'll let them know. We have like Mother's Day sale. We always do always done a Black Friday sale which sells all of the old years inventory. You just need it gone, need it gone and cash back in, cash back on, and then at the end end whatever I don't sell. If someone's having like a sidewalk sale with one of their boutiques and like here's my excess inventory, if you want it, you can have it and sell it and take this percentage. So I'm always making sure my inventory is sold through. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

16:02

In terms of development. So your bag is a two, four, six. It's a hexagon, right Hexish. It's cut, it's a hex adjacent. Yeah, I mean, you know it's funny, I don't remember faces, but I remember bags. I thought so, yeah, what you do, yeah, yeah. So I remembered your bag. It stood out. I had a white cousins with hexagon bag. Would you call that your anchor piece? Is that the Sage Aubrey hero bag of your collection? 

16:35

If you ever wanted to start a handbag brand and didn't know where to start, this is for you. If you had dreams of becoming a handbag designer but aren't trained in design, this is for you. If you have a handbag brand and need strategy and direction, this is for you. I'm Emily Blumenthal, handbag designer expert and handbag fairy godmother, and this is the handbag designer one-on-one masterclass. Over the next 10 classes, I will break down everything you need to know to make, manufacture and market a handbag brand. Broken down to ensure that you will not only skip steps in the handbag building process, but also to save money to avoid the learning curve of costly mistakes. 

17:16

For the past 20 years, I've been teaching at the top fashion universities in New York City, wrote the handbag designer Bible, founded the handbag awards and created the only handbag designer podcast. I'm going to show you like I have countless brands to create in this in-depth course from sketch to sample to sale. Whether you're just starting out and don't even know where to start or begin, or if you've had a brand and need some strategic direction, the handbag designer one-on-one masterclass is just for you. So let's get started and you'll be the creator of the next it bag. Name me, emily Blumenthal, in the handbag designer one-on-one masterclass. So be sure to sign up at EmilyBloomethalcom slash masterclass and type in the code on cast to get 10% off your masterclass today. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

18:06

So I would say I've come out with a lot of different bags and I always reimagine this shape. So anytime, any bag in my collection, no matter whether you were standing here or a mine a mile away, you would know the bag because of its really unique hexagonal shape and that bag will always forever. The first bag that I've been known for is the Luna, which is like the OG, and it's being reimagined right now too. It will always keep its shape, but I'm always trying to figure out how to make it relevant and how to make it. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

18:41

That's clever and when I speak with designers I always say figure out what your hero bag is and if you know there's traction, what the 80% of your business comes from, 20% of your customers people like that bag. I always say look at the Balenciaga motorcycle bag, look at every single iteration. I wish someone could do like a time lapse of all the changes the hardware smaller, the hardware bigger. The bag gets bigger, the bag gets smaller, the materials change, the colors change, the strap changes, but it still carries that same DNA that people know it's that bag. So I think that was super clever of you to come up with a silhouette that's very, very specific to you. Yeah, that people know that if anybody is following designers that have a unique DNA and a unique perspective, they know it's a Seja Beback. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

19:31

Yeah, and I like when I first started and I was getting my ass handed to me again by all these manufacturers and they were like you don't know what you're doing, you don't know what you're doing, you don't know what you're doing, and so I didn't know. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

19:44

They will tell you that 100%. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

19:47

And they're like you're going to fail. You don't know what you're doing. So I remember one day I was like okay, I'm going to go to the library and figure out, go read the history on fashion and bags and these accessory brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermes and all these guys have been around for a really long time. And it finally dawned on me I was like okay, if my bags are standing in a row of other bags, I have to make sure that mine is identifiable in either fabric, texture, shape, like whatever it is. And I was like so that's what made me start to look at this as art and as sign, but also keeping the end woman in mind, that this is meant to be functional and usable and used. As for an everyday woman, it's not just a piece of art, Right? So like, how do you bridge? 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

20:36

What are we doing before this? 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

20:37

Before handbags I owned women's boutiques and online shopping retails. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

20:45

That's what you did right out of college straight you went straight into retail. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

20:48

So my mom's sister and I we had an accessory business when I was 15 in high school and then from there I went to Fittum, dropped out of Fittum, came back here, had money saved from the business and then started my first store when I was 21,. Scaled that, got out of that business at 27 and then started to invest in Sage Aubrey and building that business. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

21:11

What made you decide to name it after yourself? Because I go both ways in terms of people doing that. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

21:17

Oh dear, oh, dear, another. I just thought because at the time I didn't know and I was like, well, rebecca Minkov did it, so I'm just going to do it. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

21:26

I mean you do have a very cool name. I mean that you have going for you. So is Aubrey your middle name. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

21:33

Aubrey's middle. Yeah, okay. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

21:36

So when you got married, did you change your maiden name? I didn't. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

21:42

Okay, I was in Sage Aubrey Chess are legally, but I'm Sage Aubrey Lohman married. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

21:50

Yeah, I did that too. I said the same thing. Like you know, you work so hard to develop a personal brand, like I'll change it personally. So when we're a family, like going through customs, you all know where to gather. But you know, once we cross that line, I'm back to Blumenthal, like this is who I am the end. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

22:06

So yeah, it was just, yeah, my husband's Canadian, and so I was like it just sounds complicated and I'm just going to keep, so you're already border crossing to begin with. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

22:17

Yes, yeah, we sure are. That's hilarious. So that's so interesting that Rebecca Minkoff templatized that for you, I think, where I'm speaking to her in December for this. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

22:30

Why he did for a lot of us I think a lot of. I think she seemed like this regular chick who went out and did something absolutely extraordinary. I am nowhere near the success that she is, but I think it's really cool that she's inspired younger indie artists to go out there and try to figure out if they can do it. And yeah, I was really inspired by her story and I was like we can all do it, let's just go yeah. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

22:56

And like one. I don't want you to say I'm not as big as she is. I don't like when people do that because you've worked so goddamn hard, and like when you have your own brand and your own business. You eat, sleep, breathe unapologetically. This is what you do, this is who I am. Your kids see you doing it. Your family, they see you packing boxes. They see you with this Like don't ever say I'm not as big. You are big in your own right and that's never anything you should ever discount. 

23:22

Number one you've accomplished a lot and you know, I know when I see that style bag, I know it's yours and anybody who doesn't, who listens to this will now know it is too. Because, as a result of having this podcast and having this platform, I think it's super important to amplify which is a very key word designers like yourself who are doing something and doing it successfully and are worth and valuable, valued at getting this kind of attention. Because you have been through that iteration of recognizing and I am glad you took saying don't quit your day job the right way. It makes me concerned when people are starting a brand or anything. 

24:03

I teach entrepreneurship at FIT to. There's so many learning curves and sunk costs, that if you go all in without having another bad source of income, seeing that people are going in the minus and credit debt, it's like no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You're going to set yourself up, so you might as well figure it out and have something else paying you or at least work in the industry, if you're lucky enough to learn off someone else. So I'm glad you read it that way. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

24:30

Yeah, absolutely, and like I think it's that hard knowledge that maybe it could hurt when you're younger because you don't get it. But wisdom is like critical and anybody who wants to come into this industry and build they've got to know it has to be the long haul. Yeah, brands and designers and people work in this industry for 20 years before they found that thing that like hit. You know 15, 20 years, like it takes a lot of like turning and burning and figuring out and per-severance, and so I think it's the right advice. Like what? 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

25:08

kept you going at the hard times, like here you are, you get into this incubator, you think you hit it. Then you realize this is going to cost you more money to do what you've wanted to do than you could actually make. And then you have this moment like now what? Now, what am I supposed to do? I've worked so hard, I've developed this. Like how are you able to go from that to like okay, I guess I got to start over. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

25:32

Yeah, I mean, I think that first of all, I don't know if I just love a challenge or if I'm insane, or you don't even realize you're being challenged because you signed up for it and it's like okay, now what? 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

25:44

Yeah? 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

25:45

And to say that there isn't burnout would be a lie Because, yeah, you're impossible task. Signing up to start this and what it takes in those designers who do it and showcase it on a large scale level takes a lot of capital and your whole life. Yes, it's Zion your whole life away, literally. And so a couple things as going through this and you know being at programs at FIT and you know traveling around and doing different stuff and developing this and building it, and started to meet a lot of designers, I was like a lot of these people aren't very happy. 

26:19

Happiness is really critical for me in my life. Every day I'm like this live wire of happiness, but I want to be happy and I never set out to be accepted by the industry. I always set out to inspire women to be a bolder version of themselves, to go out and get something. So what I learned along the way was that the community that I was building was like the lifeline for me, right, right, right For me. 

26:51

I've inspired so many people to go out and build something for themselves and be a bolder version of themselves, and so, at the end of the day, it's not about fashion for me. At the end of the day. It's about my loyalists. It's about the person who shows up to come and buy a bag for me to come, listen to me, speak, to come and, you know, be a part of this community and support it. So, and maybe that sounds really bad, but it became about the individual woman. For me Then it did about being accepted into this fashion society that I'm like. I don't really care if I'm accepted into or not, because it's not about that for me anymore. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

27:26

It's about the women who I'm building for and I think this puts you at an advantage, actually being in Arizona. When I was in London, when I was working there, my closest friends were all Australian and which you know coming from the US side. That's always fascinating, I'm sure when you were living abroad you're like oh my God, there's so many people living from so many places who knew. And the takeaway that I got from people in Australia was that they are so far removed from everybody and everything that if they go someplace they're in it, but their mindset is so much that we do what we do because we're so far apart that we're on our own islands. So I'm not saying Arizona is Australia, but from a fashion perspective it might as well be, because you can run your own empire without being impacted of the noise of LA or Atlanta or New York, because the thing that people tend to forget and say oh, I need to be here, you know what. Everybody's money is green and everybody needs a handbag and everybody wants to feel good about themselves. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

28:32

So why shouldn't it be you and I think that's the whole thing that you also have to learn along this journey is that to make it doesn't mean making it on the runways at New York Fashion Week making it, and it's all different for everybody. 

28:47

What is it making it for you? 

28:49

You know what I mean? It's all perspective, but I think the big thing is that there's so much burnout in this industry because it's so difficult, and I just want the people listening on the other side of this to feel worthy and to know that this is really difficult and they're trying to do the mere impossible task, but not to get so short-sighted in like one tunnel vision. Keep your mind open to what you're learning and like how you can help teach other people or what other opportunities can come along the way, because you gain so much knowledge on this journey that that knowledge is so valuable, and I just want designers, young designers, to know that that if you can go through this and launch a brand to get yourself out there, you have just been through literally like business school at Harvard yeah, 100%, the learning curve is a 90 degree angle, and so I just I think that was my thing was like I was so stuck on this hard perspective of what I thought the success was going to look like, and also what the brand should look like. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

29:55

when you started out to that point, were you changing your collection, your brand, just like a retail would like I need to change it every season, and then you realize I don't need to, because my customers don't want that. They want to keep coming back to buy the same thing. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

30:11

Yeah, and I'll never forget. I had this another meeting with a really large buyer that kicked my butt hard and it was a Bloomingdale's buyer in the US, and I'll never forget. I brought my collection in there which at that time had like five or six different SKUs, like Silhouettes, and she looked at me and she was like why would we ever buy a collection where you're doing the same bag but in different sizes? No, it's like it just doesn't make any sense. And I'll never forget looking at her being like, well, people like the small one and they like the medium size one because they won't buy the small one. 

30:49

And the small people sometimes are like, oh, I'll upgrade to the medium because I want to actually read a bag, right, I'll remember just looking at her and being like I don't even know what to say to you Because I'm like people are buying both of the different sizes and it's working for my business. But I just listened to her and I let her talk to me and tell me everything. But I was like, yeah, I'm like you and I are going to meet again one day and I hope that I will have proven this theory wrong. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

31:19

Well, I think number one no retailer nowadays and I think a lot of people aren't even aware of this no retailer will pick you up as brand at retail, in store. Most retailers right now will take you on as a drop ship because it's no loss to them, number one, and no risks to them when. 

31:40

I was starting to sell. Oh my God, totally. And number two no one will touch you now unless you have strong direct to consumer sales. They want to know what your sales are. They will check your social media numbers. They will check your social following and it's now illegal, I think, for people hiring you to ask for your social. It doesn't mean they won't Google you. That's why I tell all my students like, keep everything private. No pictures of you know dumb pictures of you not looking the part that you should, because you are your own brand and you always have to be your own best publicist. But you have to make sure that whatever you're putting out there is representative of your brand and you have to look like you've got fans, because no retailer will pick you up if you're not a brand but fans. So the fact that you were able to say at least to yourself I know this is working. Maybe it won't work for your customer, but it's working for mine. So it's a good thing that you had been through the cycle to know this. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

32:41

And I think you know the other thing for designers on the other side is like build your community, just one like percent. You've got a fad and ability to be making money from all angles. Yeah, as a designer, you've got to bake it from in-store, like from your boutique skews. You've got to be making it online. You've got to be doing pop-ups. You've got to be selling on your newsletter. You've got to be creating more collaborations with other people and other designers and other artists. 

33:09

And I think that's the one interesting thing that's made me successful is that I have been relentless on this journey of figuring out how I was going to make this work. Yeah, and that's through multiple sales channels, multiple revenues, getting myself out my local media all the time. I'm always out there, I'm always in magazines, always like pushing media hard. I'm always out doing talks. Now I get on stages and do talks. People learn about me, they like me and then eventually they become a customer. So, however you find your angle of bringing your clientele in and getting them to spend with you, you've got to figure that out real fast, because this is not about being a designer. This is about building a business that can be capitalized, that can continuously recapitalizing all of your inventory and all of your overhead. And it's tough, it's really tough. How in terms? 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

34:06

of. I just want to speak to these points and then we're going to wrap up, because you keep speaking about community and that's so very important. How do you look after and cater to your online community versus your local Arizona community, for the people who are actually shopping for your bags? 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

34:25

Yeah, and I kind of feel like they're one of the same. It's interesting because in my brand I'm making it. I didn't totally use to take the face of my brand, which is something that's happening right now, and I'm recalibrating everything. I'm making it about empowerment, building something bold. I'm teaching people what I've learned from the fashion industry which identity is really important. It's important for people building personal brands. Today, I intertwine everything that is about me into my personal brand and it's a theory. We're going to see how it works. 

35:00

It seems to be that it's just starting to drum things up again on a whole other level for me, yeah. So I would say go all in. If you're putting your face and your name on your bag, I think it's really important that you figure out how to be the essence of the brand, and that may not work for everybody. This is just a one perspective way of looking at it. I've learned that people love my story. They like who I am and because of that, they want to support me and purchase the bags. It goes hand in hand that figuring out how to be the full package is a part of the shtick. Totally, it's a part of the marketing and it's a part of everything. It's the identity of the brand. Just like you said, emily, you are of your brand, so how you're portraying yourself is how everyone's going to be looking at it, and that's the other thing. You have to work really, really hard on trying to figure out how to make it work for you 100%. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

36:07

Sage Aubrey, you are a superstar from Arizona and beyond. How can people find you, follow you, learn about you, Buy your bags? All that good stuff. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

36:18

Yes, you can follow me at thesageaubrey on Instagram. You can also find the bag handle at Sage Aubrey on Instagram or you can come shop with me at www.sageaubreycom. But I'm always live and active on stories on IG, so check it out Amazing. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

36:39

Well, I can't wait. We're absolutely going to have to do follow ups. I would love to do a live with you in Arizona. Have to come to Arizona to do a live, but I'm here for it 100%. 

Sage Aubrey

Guest

36:49

If I'm in New York, I'll let you know what I'm in New York next Perfect perfect. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

36:53

All right, my dear, it's been wonderful catching up. Can't wait to see what you do next. This has been a pleasure. Thanks for listening. Don't forget to rate and review, and follow us on every single platform at Handbag Designer. Thanks so much. See you next time. 

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