I have been following Nikki Henry of NKHenry for many years. I appreciate her beautifully crafted handbags because they are timeless, chic and easy. It appeals to my bohemian side, and for that reason, I am always checking to see what Nikki will come up with next.
HR: When did you first start designing handbags? Did you always want to become a handbag designer or was it a gradual transition from a different career path?
NH: Spring of 2007 was when I first began designing handbags. No, I could have never dreamed this in a million years— about becoming a handbag designer. It initially started as just a manifestation of my creative abilities. The “taking it seriously” and “it a real business” aspect came much later.
HR: What is the most challenging/rewarding aspect(s) of designing accessories and being in business for yourself?
NH: Most challenging aspect is staying motivated, especially when sales are not what you would like them to be. Most rewarding aspect is building a legacy for myself, the feeling of pride in myself for sticking with my business through the highs and lows.
HR: Where did you find inspiration when creating each piece of the Spring 2014 collection?
NH: I get flashes of inspiration. Typically , I’m not the type of designer who can sit at a desk and just start sketching out a full collection. I can start with a general idea of what I want to do like I may have a color inspiration or be inspired by a certain texture.
For the nouveau Kelley bag (purple bag pictured above) I was inspired by our Kelley bag from 2012, which I have since retired. It had a classic silhouette, similarly unlined with raw edges,which I wanted put a boho twist on it. This is where the wood handles came in. I was dying to use wood handles on a bag. I love the “earthy” look it has. I pictured an effortless chic woman perusing open air markets in Spring and Summer carrying this bag. And as always, I try to find rich leather colors that stand out, so in a way the color itself becomes a focal point of the bag. When I put the magnetic snaps in the interior to attach to the removable pouch insert, I realized that when the snaps come together the bag takes on a trapezoid shape. Two silhouettes in one! What’s not to love? The bag is drool worthy alone, but adding the mismatched Kelley double tassel was like the cherry on top. This turn inspired me to create other bag charms to compliment any bag. I plan to roll out more charm styles over the course of the Spring and Summer.
Bag B was inspired by a net fishing bag that I saw in the window of a fabric store that I visit often. Giselle bag (denim bag pictured at top of post) draws on many inspirations. We have been using denim for our bags for the past few seasons, which I love. Not everyone wants a leather bag, so denim has been one of our go to secondary fabrics, especially for our warm season bags. The combination of the denim with the wood handles is a perfect casual look for Spring and Summer. for the leather lovers we will make this style in leather too for late summer.
HR: Describe the woman you design for.
NH: Women that exude an unpretentious, natural sort of sexy– they don’t need too much to hit the mark. My bags and other accessories are an extension of that philosophy.
HR: Which NKHenry bag is your personal favorite? Do you carry other brands aside from your own?
NH: My personal favorite is the nouveau Kelley and the NikkiGirl clutch. Yes, of course I carry other bags. I have a few old school Coach bags, and a Chloe bag.
HR: Name five celebrities you would love to see rocking NKHenry.
NH: Tika Sumpter, Cameron Diaz, Halle Berry, Olivia Palermo, Jessica Alba
HR: What five accessories should every woman have in her wardrobe?
NH: A fly, fabulous neutral color handbag; a pair of cool, timeless sunglasses; large, thin gold hoop earrings; and an infinity scarf in a bold, pretty shade.
HR: What advice can you give to aspiring handbag designers?
NH: If this is for you, stick with and accept both the criticisms and raves with equal ears.