Last week I met the happiest woman in North London.
Marcia Robinson has just brought Italian handbag brand O Bag Factory to the UK and is grinning from ear to ear about it. I can understand why.
This time last year Marcia was working in an office as an IT professional, when one small purchase from a little multi-brand boutique in Brighton changed the course of her career. The bright yellow O Bag she bought and wore to a music festival that weekend caused quite a stir. Everyone wanted to know what material it was made from, where they could get one and how much it cost.
Such was the interest and admiration for her new O Bag that (middle age reference alert…) like a modern day Victor Kiam, she contacted the Italian company to see if she could start a franchise. By September, she was well on her way to being the first franchisee in the UK.
Marcia knew she was onto something big when her pop up shop in Old Street did a booming trade over the two week Christmas period last year, so she started looking for premises near her home in North London. She found the perfect spot right next to the Clock Tower in Crouch End, a well known landmark in the area.
What I love about my O Bag is that I chose all the elements myself. Each bag is customiseable and all of the elements are interchangeable. I started by choosing a bright turquoise body, made from a silicone material called EVA, which is waterproof, flexible and tactile (and wipe-clean, which in my house is a real bonus!). I then chose handles (they have leather, but I went for the long leather-like handles), a corduroy insert with a zip and internal pockets and then to top it off, I chose a faux fur in a deep chocolate brown. This is the softest faux fur I’ve ever felt and is the stand out element for me. I’ve had so many comments, most start with ‘Wow, look at your bag!’
Marcia put the bag together for me in a couple of minutes, but there are instructions on the website with a helpful video so you can buy each element of the handbag online and create your own O Bag.
The bags come in several shapes and sizes. The shop also sells watches, pocket watches, sunglasses and other accessories with interchangeable parts – so you can choose a watch face to go with a strap in your colour.
This particular O Bag costs £135, but I went for the most expensive trim and insert. The slightly smaller O Bag Mini is £54 with short rope handles. The O Pocket shoulder bag is just £41, or £59 with a personalised flap.
Here is one of my favourite combinations:
O Bag Factory is open seven days a week and the website allows you to order your various elements, which Marcia and her team will put together for you to collect. If you’re not in London, please contact Marcia about delivery charges.
Marcia hasn’t looked back since she started her O Bag journey. She has big plans to open other franchises around London. The shop has a real buzz about it. If you’re in London please visit the shop and keep Marcia smiling.[Update: Marcia is now selling OBags online. You can see the range and message her for information about stock and delivery via Facebook] [Disclosure: This post is not sponsored but I was fortunate enough to be given my O Bag to review free of charge, for which I’m grateful to Marcia.]