June 20, 2024

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Katya Komarova, Award Winning Handbag Designer

Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m an ex-model from Russia. I started my handbag label katyakomarova.com a few years ago

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I always loved bags. During one of my modelling trips to Thailand I decided to take a break, and I went on a tiny island for a few months. There I met an artisan who taught me how to work with leather. And that was a beginning. I then studied handbag design in Italy. Soon after I moved to Australia for love and slowly started to build my brand here.

Describe the process of launching the business.

We never had a a physical store, so the social media presence was a key. I launched Facebook and Instagram pages to announce the upcoming release to my friends. My husband helped me to build a website. I made a lot of mistakes with the range and the pricing at first, but now looking back, I feel like I needed that lesson. The brand 100% represents now what I want it to be and I’m proud of it.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Consistent online presence, personal approach, work with trustworthy influencers, offline local events and press. It’s a range of tools that enable us keep the position on the market.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

2020/21 has been yet the biggest year for us. We gained more customers overseas as well as in Australia. We launched 2 collaborations with clothing brands and there is more to come. One day I would love to have our one offline presence so that our customers can experience in full our customised bags concept.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

A few lessons: network, be open with your customer and focus on what you do best rather that try to please everyone.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Shopify, MailChimp, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook of course. Nothing secret or new:)

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

One of the recently read books that are now shaping a new approach for customer experience is Aesthetic Intelligence
by Pauline Brown

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Start with asking your friends if they would buy it. Get some proof of it being a product that people need. Create an Instagram page, run a few ads to see if there is a reaction. Testing is everything.

Where can we go to learn more?

You can learn more about my brand on katyakomarova.com