What is Your Purse-onality?
By Chelsey Plumb
Lindsay Reilly is currently a Fashion and Retail Merchandising student at Lasell College. Five years ago, she started her business, Lindsay Tia Designs, which is known for original, custom-made handbags. Lindsay Tia handbags are known to accentuate a woman’s individual style but leave her feeling fun, flirty, and fabulous. It’s a bag that can carry everything she needs, and it will always be at her side. Each bag is a one-of-a-kind, handmade bag specifically designed for the customer!
Q) What inspires your designs?
A) Each bag I create represents a memory in my life, inspired by both people and places. These bags represent who I am, who I want to be, and where I want to go. I am also really inspired by unique prints. I don’t follow trends because they are constantly changing. Essentially, I want to be the trendsetter.
Q) What future goals do you have for your business, and what are your plans after graduating?
A) After graduating from Lasell, one of my main goals is to open a store in Boston in a good location. Not only will I sell my designed bags there, but also the customer will have the option to create their own. I have a really good idea for a store but want to keep it a secret until I am ready to go ahead and do it!
Q) How would you describe your style?
A) I would not consider my style boring. I love mixing lots of colors and patterns together. Why have another boring bag with a solid color? Not only is the outside of the bag loud and fun, but the inside of each bag has a different lining.
For example, I have one bag that’s black and white zig-zag on the outside and the inside is a hot pink fabric with black, white, and zebra shoes!
Q) Who is your target market/demographic?
A) My bags are for woman and children of all ages. My customer wants to be unique and have their own style. I may not be a “Vera Bradley” brand, but my idea is to change the way of shopping. I don’t want to make just another bag; I want my customer to think of their bag as unique and one-of-a-kind. To make my bags different, I decided to market them as one-of-a-kind handmade bags. My product is for people who want something different that is made in the United States and is a product that no one else will ever have.
Q) What made you decide Lasell was the right college for you?
A) At first when I came to look at Lasell, I refused to get out of the car to see the school. Now, I am a senior at Lasell College and wouldn’t have it any other way. Lasell is a great school for me and gives me a great advantage for starting my business in Boston. My professors have all worked in the fashion industry, and they have given me helpful advice along the way.
Q) How have you progressed in your design career, since you started?
A) When I was eight years old, I learned sewing at Institches, located in Quincy, Massachusetts. Ever since then, I have been sewing. I started my career working as an employee for Karen Smith, owner of Institches, when I was sixteen years old. Since I was a freshman in high school, I have been making handbags, headbands, and few other accessories. I started off just for fun selling them at my friend’s mom’s hair salon in Quincy, Aura Salon. I also began selling mother, daughter, and doll aprons at a small boutique in East Milton Marketplace called A Gift Garden. Last year was when I decided to make my business official, and I launched my website this past August. As of right now, my handbags are online, at Aura Salon in Quincy, and B. Boutique in East Milton.
Q) Do you design anything other than handbags?
A) After handbags, I decided to start doing key chains. Some of the key chains are one-of-a-kind, but some are duplicated. Another product that I have online is t-shirts with my logo on them. In the past, the products that I have made are aprons, table skirts, curtains, duvets, cookie bags, necklaces, headbands, clothing, and clutches.
Q) What are your biggest challenges in having your own line, and how do you plan to overcome them?
A) Right now, my customer base is people I know. My four bag styles are named after people who have helped me get to where I am. There are also a few other people who have helped me. Without their help, starting a business would have been costly. Being in school is a great advantage for me with all the connections my professors have and their understanding of the business. Money and time are my biggest challenges. A lot of materials I use I buy in bulk, and that’s always a bigger expense, but it is cheaper in the long run. Time is a big issue, since I am still a student. I have to balance running a business and my college workload and try to make time for myself when I can!
Q) Do you have anyone who has significantly helped you develop your business?
A) My biggest mentor would be my mother, who has assisted me with everything, because she helps with startup companies. A few other people who have helped me are the four people I named my bags after. The Canavan Carry-All is named after Sue Canavan, my mom’s best friend, who owns Aura Salon. The Miss Karen Original is named after Karen Smith, who taught me everything I know about sewing. The Brooksie Ruffle Tote is named after Lauren Brooks, a good friend of mine. She started her own photography company and helps me take all the pictures of my products and promotional graphics. The last bag is Sewfisticated, named after John Onlinto, who owns the fabric store where I buy my fabric. Another person who has helped me is Holly Bronhard; she helps me make my patterns for my bags and gives me good advice. I name my bags after the people who have helped me. It’s my way of showing my appreciation for what they have helped me with, and how they have helped me get to where I am.
Q) What have you learned/gained from having your own business?
A) Owning my own business has been something I’ve always wanted to do, but I never really thought I would get the opportunity. As soon as I got a few good opportunities, I decided to go out and do it. It has been a success so far, and there is always something new and exciting going on. Being in school at the same time lets me take what I’m learning in the classroom and apply it to my business in order for it to grow.
Q) What advice would you give to people who want to start their own business?
A) If you want to start your own business, go for it when you are ready! Following your dreams is probably one of the best thrills. It makes you work hard to grow a great business. You should be able to follow your dreams and do what you want to do. The only one stopping you is yourself!