why bags? (or any other dream?)

April 18th, 2011   |   Business AdviceLife

(DESIGN YOUR LOOK winner will be announced later today.)

On a long walk yesterday with my good friend Cathy we talked about what was coming up in our lives. As you can imagine, my bag launch was definitely one of the discussion topics.

And though she has watched the whole process unfold from inception to completion, she asked me a simple question which I’ve gotten from a few other people recently as well:

“Why bags?”

And to that, for some reason, I have an impulse to say,

“Why the hell not?”

I’ve made it very clear in the past that Jess LC has always been a way for me to stay self-employed and independent in order to eventually help people design lives with intention full-time. The fact that I sell jewelry is simply because I sold an (ugly) ankle bracelet at a pool as a fifteen-year-old. Had I sold a puppy near the deep end, I could just as easily be a breeder right now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful for the jewelry experience, it has taught me about design, marketing, business, entrepreneurship, selling, intention, thrift, you name it. And though 12 years of jewelry design has certainly made me a good jewelry designer, I have never personally had a passion for jewelry as a customer. In fact, I only wear about eight pieces of my own jewelry on a regular basis.

But what I do spend my money and attention on is bags. I love them. I got my first Coach bag in college and ever since I was hooked. I love the feel of high quality leather, the shapes and stitching that are possible. I love that I can have something beautiful that is functional as well.

And in all of the 12 years I have been designing I never once allowed myself to think outside the jewelry box. I simply did not allow myself to think that I could do more than what I had done in the past.

Until January.

As I sat (ironically) in a jewelry conference I spoke at this winter, I allowed myself to think beyond where I was on that day. I allowed myself to imagine the company that I wanted to have. And that company vision took me directly to bags and home goods. It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with interior design and bags have always been a personal obsession. So the idea that I might be able to create goods that reflected what I wanted to see and buy in the market was overwhelmingly awesome.

I simply needed to allow myself to think it was possible and that I could do it.

And so if I wrap all of what I’ve just shared into one simple sentence, it still boils down to the same question and answer:

Q “Why bags?”

A “Why the hell not?”

And it turns out that the 330 people on the preview list agree.

So the next time someone questions you about your new venture, don’t be afraid to boil it down to one simple answer,

Why the hell not?


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  • I love it! Sometimes you have to defend doing what you love – way to be succinct and passionate!

  • i love it when women are doing what they need to do to do what they want to do. 🙂 i, in fact, love jewelry and bags…perfect!

  • Congrats on the bag launch!
    Hey…go with what you are passionate about. My dream is to have my own clothing line. In learning to sew and design, I recently discovered that I too am in love with bags. I love fashion in general but it was something about making a fabulous handbag that just clicked with me.

    I wish you the best of luck and success,

  • This was so inspiring! My parents often ask me the “Why?” question when I tell them about a new product line I’m thinking of launching. For me, I want to make quite a leap this summer and move from fine art prints to printing my work on small canvas bags and zipper pouches. They see a huge jump in my branding. I see a huge jump in possibilities. I think as long as you plan correctly and follow your passions, it always works out beautifully.

  • great post. here’s to future “why the hell nots”. chevron shoes/sandals might be nice to go with the new bags!! hehe.


  • What a fabulous and inspiring post! I loved reading this! Congratulations on the bag line – I can’t wait to see it! You’re so right in that bags are beautiful and functional and who doesn’t love a double-duty piece!

  • Thanks for sharing your thought process. Maybe “Why the hell not?” should be the May wallpaper.

  • Those ‘Why’ inquiries can often be the worst – but more often (in my experience) propel us to do our best.

    You’ve tapped into something Jess – I propose a Jess LC basic tote with ‘Why The Hell Not?!’ printed on the side… I’d buy it.

  • And, I’m a bag and pattern designer who’d love to branch into jewelry. Funny how that works, isn’t it? 😉

  • 17Perth

    What a great post. I agree completely!

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