Creative Women: Rachel Galbraith of Bronté Bags.
Some of you may have met Bronté Bag designer Rachel Galbraith last week at our ‘Stardust & Alchemy’ event and, if you did, you will know what a gentle and creative soul she is. Her approach to design, business and life in general means she is a perfect match for our ethos of supporting small business and only stocking items that we truly love.
Every time someone buys a Bronté Bag, we tell them that it has been made with a lot of love. From choosing the softest, most beautiful leathers, carefully stitching the straps and adding studded stars, to sewing and stamping (with a star, naturally!) the pouches they are sent in, Rachel pours care and attention into each and every piece.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading her answers to our questions and putting this blog post together. I think her voice really shines out in all the responses; I hope you love finding out more about another of our ‘Creative Women’.
Rachel Galbraith, designer and maker of Bronté Bags.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I am a self-taught bag maker winging it in the world of business. That sounds like it’s my turn to speak at a group therapy session! I have no formal training but have a practical, visual mind which tells me “I can make that” and so I do. I have ‘learnt on the job’ as they say, and am still learning every day.
What did you dream of doing as a child and has your career panned out the way you expected?
I have always sewn. I come from a creative family. The kitchen table was used for my mums upholstery projects and a sewing machine was part of the furniture.
From selecting the softest leathers to adding studs, each Bronté bag is made with love by Rachel herself.
Describe the moment you decided on the path you are following now.
When I showed friends the first bag I made and they all wanted one!
Bronté Bags was born when a friend gave me some vintage linen in 2010 and I made a bag from it. I had to source some leather to make the handles and on visiting the leather merchant (Aladdin’s cave !) inspiration exploded and that was it. Stars have always made my heart skip and so became the signature detail of a Bronté Bag.
Have you stuck to a set plan, had an epiphany that has made you suddenly change course, or do you just ‘go with the flow’?
My business has grown from a hobby to what it is now. Having had a slightly bohemian upbringing there has never been a plan but things have turned out ok none the less.
Rachel is usually found in bare feet or sparkly socks, and is always sporting a star somewhere...
How is fashion important to you? Would you say the way you dress has any impact upon your work, or vice versa?
I think fashion is important to me because it gives me an outlet to express my personality and give off a vibe of how I feel about myself. I have no idea who I’m going to be each morning when I wake but generally my outfit works around sparkly socks. I want them on my feet!! It makes me feel good when I look at them. Everyone should have sparkly socks!
What is your first fashion memory?
I was bought up wearing clogs and a patchwork dress so Earthy Rock Chic Boho Vibes fits with those early influences I guess. Things soon changed when I started secondary school and my world opened up. I remember being very taken with my friends jeans which had white piping detail down the side. Trying to get my mum to buy me anything that didn’t come from a jumble sale was tricky but I finally got a pair some time later. By this time my peers had moved on to pedal pushers!
Who is your style icon?
My brother was a mad Blondie fan and I knew all the words to their songs, subliminally, by the age of 8 so Debbie Harry was my first fashion influence for sure.
Rachel's first fashion icon, Debbie Harry.
Which item in your wardrobe would you never get rid of?
Pants !!!…and sparkly socks
Where do you get your style inspiration? Do you have any favourite Instagram/Pinterest accounts or bloggers you follow?
I love Isabelle Marant but unfortunately my bank balance does not! Her pieces never fail to provoke that “Yes!!! That’s what I’ve been looking for my whole life” feeling.
Favourite designer and source of inspiration, Isabel Marant.
Describe your style in three words.
“Earthy rock chick with a boho vibe” is a tag a friend gave me and I quite like it. I think my bags reflect that style…. I have to love everything I make else whats the point!
Bronté Bags reflect Rachel's boho/rock chick aesthetic.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
It means a lot to me when people love the bags I have created. So much work goes into them and I want to keep on pleasing people and build a brand that is recognised for workmanship, quality and integrity. Much work is needed on tech and business skills but I’ll get there.