Making Totes Talented

  • Julia Gash, CEO BIDBI
  • 13th June 2014

For the past couple of months a large part of my work has been getting together the Talented tote bag collection for SS15 (Spring Summer 2015). It seems so far ahead but will surely fly and the collection has to be designed and sampled by the end of this month in order that our international partners and the Talented Team can take pre-orders before we go into production in October.

Ideas are always coming into my head - it's like I have a pair of antenna attached to my skull, soaking in things that inspire me or designs that catch my eye. I'm also on the look out for emerging designers who I can invite to collaborate with Talented as part of a future collection. I look for designers whose work says something unique and is personal to them. Something that gives another layer of meaning to the ordinary and every day. I like how Cherith Harrison or Katy Webster from MIRI represent wildlife in completely different ways but that their work sits together quite comfortably.

There is therefore a need for the Talented Collection to come together as a cohesive group. This sometimes means that I have to say no to a designer because their work is to similar to another or that it just doesn't fit. It's often frustrating when I turn down work that I like but I have to curate a collection that fits together like a jigsaw and hope that we may have space for the designer in a future collection or that there may be a different collaboration that we can work on with them, outside Talented.

I talk about the designs with the collaboraters, choosing themes that work for them as well as Talented and run this past the Talented Team for their input. For Spring Summer, it's topical themes such as the beach and outdoor living as well as working with bright, strong colours that work well in the sunshine that we hopefully will get! :-)

I also contribute to the Collection through my Cityscapes and Best of British and The Royals ranges, which I develop each season. This is the favourite thing I do. It's not like's a complete joy and takes away my stresses and into another world. Mostly I have to design at weekends or in the evenings because there's so much else I have to do at BIDBI. I long for the time when I can make design my day job and hope to phase this in over the next few months as we grow the Talented Team further.


Once the designs are approved we start sampling. This could include samples made at the Fair Trade licensed factory we work with in India or one of the local factories in England. Talented has different production methods and origins, dependent upon the fabric used and style of bag but mostly they are printed at the BIDBI factory in England.

Then I usually have to chase, chase, chase to get everything in and change my mind about what's to go where a few times. This frustrates some of my colleagues at BIDBI but it's an essential part of the creative just has to be right and something small but wrong can throw the whole collection off kilt. We're at this stage right now...the samples are coming in and I'm making final design decisions.

We finally have to get the marketing collateral and collection information together...photograph the collection, create product specification sheets for every line, make a price list, create the swing tickets, bar codes and so on. Finally we have to design the trade show stand and then we get in the car on 3 July and drive to Paris to showcase Talented SS15 at WSN Paris where you will find us in Hall 5 at Stand M21! Lots of marketing and a series of trade shows then follow.

And then I start the creative process for Autumn Winter 2015. It never stops! :-)