• Blythe Leonard

The Woman Behind the Bag: Jane Bag


The Woman Behind the Bag: Jane Bag

The Jane Bag

When I first started my company, I began to do what every designer would do and design like crazy. I sketched hundreds maybe thousands of sketches of all different types of bags. One thing that I knew as a designer, is that you have to know your customer and you have to know exactly what it is that they carry and why. In the beginning of my company I designed so many different styles and you may remember some of them, the Blythe Bag, Caroline Tote, Jane Bag, Adrianna crossbody and the Hope Bag. Some of which have retired and some of which are still around two years later. What you might not know is that the bags are actually named after real people and they all have a reason, they either designed it with me, or I designed the bag with this specific person in mind. You know our Sophia clutches? Well, I guess you can guess what I had playing in our workshop the moment where we were trying to name this product…let’s just say I love the four of them.

So let me take you on this journey with me as I reintroduce you to our bags… and introduce you to our strong women behind them.

I wanted to first start off with my right hand woman’s bag…my mother’s. The Jane bag was introduced in the early stages of my brand. I wanted to pay homage to the one person who has always been there for me, my mom. For those of you who don’t know this, my mother actually works by my side every day without fail. (Check out my “Working with my Daughter” blog post.)The Jane bag, at the time, was so… my mother, it wasn’t funny. Now, she has new favorites, but I had to start off by telling you about the Jane bag. We still have clients that come in and say I want XYZ, and I say “Oh! You want the Jane bag.” It is a shoulder bag, open top, no zipper, one strap that is adjustable, some brass buckles, a couple pockets and some contrast leather panels. My mother has to have a small patch pocket on one side of the interior of her bag to carry around my business cards so that if ANYONE compliments her bag she will hand you my business card faster than lightening. Try it, it’s funny to see! Costco…the grocery store… pharmacy… pretty much anywhere someone says “hey I love your bag,” you’re going to get a card or two.. or three. Thanks Mom! The Jane bag has two flaps with buckle closures on the front of the bag with hidden pockets underneath. They are actually magnetic closures for easy access; they just look like they are buckle closures. Shhhh.. don’t tell anyone! My mother didn’t design this bag, but I did design it with her in mind. She likes to be able to look down in her bag and see everything. So the Jane bag has a magnetic snap at the top of the opening and that is the only closure.

My mom was a special needs teacher for thirty-four years before retiring and coming to work with me. I learned so much about compassion, equality, and friendship from my mother over the years and I try to live day by day with those ideals and life lessons. One thing that I am very passionate about is that everyone should support their local companies, artists, and entrepreneurs. My way of thinking is that if you buy your paper at your local office supply store and have your files printed at your local print shop, and buy your produce at your local farmers market, you are putting money back into the pockets of your local economy. If you buy your paper let’s say, online, because it was a dollar cheaper than your local office supply store, that’s one less person walking in that office supply store. One becomes two and two becomes three and eventually the support is lost from their own community. As my mother says, shopping local and buying American made is “everything.”

Jane Leonard, my mother


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Thomasville, NC

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