Not just a bag, its a statement!
So, here`s the story. After earning myself a little money, I thought that it was about time I treated myself. I was on the lookout for a new bag. I had bags before like every woman before me, but nothing ever seemed to be the right one or to even last long. I hopped online and set my budget and started looking for a nice new bag in black or brown, something that would take everything I have to carry, including a laptop or tablet. It is here I should say that black and brown are my usual go to colours. My comfort zone is not very wide, but I had no idea it was about to become a gaping chasm!!!
I stumbled onto Hoopla Bags. Ok, I thought to myself. Let`s look. Hoopla offer so much more than a bag. As my title suggests, it’s a statement. Here is what Hoopla offer:
- 5 different versions of tote bags.
- Clutch bag.
- A mini bag.
- A cross body box style bag.
- A cross body slouch bag.
This grabbed my attention straight away, especially with the variations of a tote bag. Just what I needed. Next step choose a colour I thought. Here`s where it got tricky for me. The colours are
- Olive green, black, mustard, dusty pink, blue/grey, burgundy, brown, cream, blue, aqua, orange, red, olive, lavender, jade green, forest green and fuchsia.
The colours available depend on the style of bag you are looking for. I was looking for a tote and after much deliberation I settled on a dusty pink small portrait tote. A week later, my package arrived.
Was I happy??? Oh yes! Very happy. Everything I carry around with me goes in there comfortably, including my laptop or tablet. There is a pocket inside for keys and anything valuable and it meets my needs brilliantly. Its sturdy, well made and is just perfect.
After 3 months of using my tote, I got an email offering me 25% off. Now I have self-control but offer me money off in a jewellers or bag shop and I`m in! I get that from my mum. Online I went and started looking at the box bags. I realised I had nothing small now. If I was going out in an evening or to see a friend, I had nothing just to throw purse, keys and phone in.
I looked for a day or two and made my decision. Cross body box bag it was. Colour…mustard. Well, I had stepped out of my comfort zone with pink so there was no excuse for not going bolder and brighter this time!!! It’s on its way as I write this.
While I was choosing my bag, I emailed the owner and founder of Hoopla, Vicky Bzovy. I explained that I was a writer and would love to review her company. Here is the Hoopla story:
Approximately three years ago, Vicky was living her life overseas in Malaysia. However life was about to change. Her children had returned to Australia to study and she found that she had time to spare. She realised that she knew what she wanted. It was a dream to have her own business. Her day job involved working with books, Sourcing supplies and negotiation with other parties to get what she needed. She knew that experience would come in handy when she started her own business but still was unaware as to what that would be.
While out in a market in Hong Kong, she found herself a tote bag. Like all good women, she fell in love with her bag, but it fell apart. The quality was disappointing, but it planted the seed that she may be able to make one herself. She realised that bag making involved a lot more than she initially realised and she soon knew that she was on a steep learning curve.
250 bags in 5 colours! That was the first set that she made. Making them worked well but how to market them and research potential client base with limited knowledge was not the way to go. Vicky says in her bio “I wouldn’t recommend this approach to anyone – a simple business plan and a little research would definitely make your life simpler. I learned the hard way”
Friends helped Vicky find a name for the business and design her logo. A page was initially set up on Facebook where posts about Hoopla bags could gather pace! Over time they sold to not just friends and family, but they began to reach the wider community. Pop up markets were used to get the product in front of the customer. Sometimes one would be sold, sometimes twelve, sometimes none.
The product numbers grew and at 18 months, a decision had to be made. Bigger and better for Hoopla or let it quietly die. Thankfully Vicky continued and Hoopla has grown exponentially.
Now with nine styles, heaps of colours and distribution working well to ensure that customers receive their order in a timely fashion, Hoopla has become a force to be reckoned with. Hoopla receives amazing support from their stockists and feedback from customers continues.
Vicky says “There are still days when we sell very few bags at a market, I don’t think there has been another ‘no sale’ day but we have been close. On the flip side, sometimes we can’t keep up with the online orders or the stockist orders, it’s a rollercoaster ride but worth it. After 25 years in publishing, I’m loving learning about a new industry, working with a brilliant team and meeting all our gorgeous customers. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner!”