Vendula London is a gorgeous, modern handbag brand with designs you won’t find anywhere else. They are colourful, whimsical and feminine. From shop fronts on bags, to boats and hot air balloon coin purses, you will find something for everyone on your Christmas list!
Recently, I interviewed the team behind Vendula London. Let me know in the comments if you have ever seen this brand and which is your favourite of their styles.
According to your website, Vendula London launched in 2003. Who is behind the brand?
The label was established in 2003 by two friends – Vendula Zemanova, a corporate lawyer and Raymond Lam, an accountant. They decided to venture into the world of fashion. The only experience they had was Vendula’s passion for handbags and Raymond’s auditing experience in the fashion industry. They saw an opportunity in the market for a fun and quirky fashion accessories with a difference at affordable prices. Vendula means “Wendy” in English but sounds unusual so it fit the bill.
I first discovered your bags via a sponsored ad on Instagram which appeared in my news feed. How do you feel social media has affected your brand’s reach?
Regarding our communication strategy, far from following a classic fashion brand path our goal is to get close to our core retail customer through social media, mainly Facebook and Instagram. We use strategically chosen keywords on Instagram and we advertise on Facebook for brand awareness. And of course we have a network of bloggers to help us spread the love!
How do most of your customers find out about your brand?
Through social media mainly and through shops.
Before launching in 2003, what were your founders/creators doing?
Vendula Zemanova was a corporate lawyer and Raymond Lam an accountant. Vendula left the company in 2005 to pursue her carrier in law.
Did they attend a Fashion design school?
No, but our main designer Kelly-Anne did.
Did you do tradeshows/showrooms? If so, which ones and what was your experience of them?
We are doing tradeshows in:
- Paris – Who’s next
- Offenbach – Germany
- Milan – Italy
- Madrid Spain
When I first spotted your bags in that Instagram sponsored post I was blown away by the uniqueness of the shopfronts. Where do you find your inspiration?
We started our shop front range 5 years ago and the inspiration for our shop front bags comes from the whole team and from our fans’ feedback.
For example, our Book Shop range came from an online survey. For SS18 we will have a coffee truck range that I had the idea about when I saw a similar truck on my way to the office.
Your bags are all made of faux leather and as such are animal friendly. Was this a conscious decision to be a vegan brand or did it just happen that way because of the cost factor in faux vs real leather?
High-quality PU leather are quite expensive so being vegan doesn’t help us to save money to be honest.
Not being conscious of animal cruelty nowadays is criminal especially when PU leather and faux furs are as good as real ones. And vegan ladies deserve to have funky bags and accessories in their life too.
What challenges did you face when you started out and how did you overcome them?
It was a slow and difficult start. Vendula and Raymond could only afford to work on Vendula London on a part-time basis mostly in evenings and weekends while holding down day jobs to pay the bills. Vendula eventually left the company to take up a partnership in a law firm in 2005. Vendula London has continued to grow over the years under Raymond’s directorship supported by a network of UK and international agents and distributors and to a strong online presence.
Do you manufacture offshore? If so, how did you find a manufacturer who worked best to your needs?
The company currently employs 12 full time staff in the UK and 150 workers at its wholly owned factory in China.
How many collections/pieces do you design and put into production each year?
A collection has an average of 7 new styles with 4 bags, 2 wallets and 2 coin purses. We have 2 new collection a year.
How do you keep motivated and inspired?
Because we are not following fashion codes we take our inspiration from everything, art, lifestyle, our agents or customers suggestions.
What are your plans for the brand in the future?
We are about to open a flagship store in Covent Garden in a few weeks, which is a milestone for us. We carry on developing our website with a new feature: D.A.Y – Do your Accessory Yourself – where our fans can create and order their very own Vendula London shop front bag.
What themes will we see in the next collection?
Prosecco Bar, Tiki Bar and English Garden will come next season and I am confident they will be very popular!
You can view all of the Vendula London bags and coin purses at https://www.vendulalondon.com/