Launched in 2016, handbag brand Taylor Yates manifested from a conversation between Karen and her daughter, Ellen. The duo constructs minimalistic leather handbags by virtue of social good and sustainability.
How can we see the influence of mother and daughter collaborating in the Taylor Yates’s product.
We are so lucky to get to work together and although it can sometimes be a challenge, the combination of Ellen’s fresh ideas, her understanding of current trends and my experience of design, manufacturing and running a business means we can usually make good choices together. We wanted the handwriting of the first collection to really tell the story of what we love and want Taylor Yates to be: understated and stylish with a modern feel. Keeping that aesthetic whilst moving the collection forward is the challenge, but we are up for it!
Most importantly from the beginning we both knew we wanted to build a brand with a purpose. Karen wants to help change lives and give women choice and Ellen wants to reduce our impact on the planet and help to protect it.
What inspired you to dedicate your house to fashioning new bags?
The initial idea was creating a product range of 9 things every woman needs from a handbag to a purse, a lovely notebook and pen and the perfect cashmere scarf. The first part we looked at was the handbag and then we decided this is where we should focus and we wanted to create a range of soft, understated, luxury handbags and the idea grew from there.
It may sound like a cliche but it was literally a chat around the kitchen table, Mum was throwing out ideas and said do you think we can do this? I said yes, why not? And off we went.
What leather source does Taylor Yates use and does this align with the brand’s tenant of sustainability?
Our leather is only sourced as a by-product of food production in the UK and because our bags are handmade in the UK the carbon emissions produced from transporting the leather to our factory are significantly lower than sourcing overseas.
We use environmentally responsible tanning techniques and we are currently looking at new ways to better use our waste leather. We use leather board as base board for our larger styles as opposed to cardboard or PVC.
Because we use natural leather as opposed to synthetic leather or ‘vegan leather’ our leather will biodegrade naturally and completely and it will not decompose into other harmful substances as petroleum based synthetic leathers can.
What is the creative process of designing a new bag?
We often start with a combination of trawling through trend boards and delving into our own favourites whether it’s from Karen’s collection from the 90’s or something we bought whilst travelling. It’s usually the shape that we start with and because our leather is so soft it enables us to create shapes and folds that are often not possible with standard leather. We love the development process, colour also plays an important part, there are often long debates about whether a shape or style will work in a specific colour. Sampling can be expensive and as a small business sometimes we have to just go with our gut feel and hope our customers love what we pick.
What can we expect to see from Taylor Yates moving forward?
Ultimately we want Taylor Yates as a brand to expand across the world and expand the collection from Handbags and leather accessories into clothing and menswear whilst helping change women’s lives. We would love to get to the point where we have waiting lists for new collection releases too.
Next season we are adding a new style along with a new colour into the range and we can’t wait to release it!