What is Beauty? How do we measure it and at its core, where does it come from? Our perception of beauty can be based on many different aspects of our personality and our culture. How we present ourselves and communicate with others is a fascinating interaction between one beautiful soul to another.
I truly believe that granting others the opportunity to express their visions, emotions and ideas freely allows for the unconditional embrace of the multitude of innovative ideas that fill our world. There is nothing more important than to meet someone right where they are at with acceptance. Not always easy to grasp, but this does have the potential to help relationships heal, flourish, and thrive, while educating the human condition in the best ways possible. How we choose to communicate our thoughts and feelings is something that we are all responsible for and in command of. It is an integral building block of how we engage in all relationships.
There are many creative people who have chosen a path less travelled. Whether they are entrepreneurs, small individual business owners, artists, off grid dwellers, or the unseen heroes of their families, these individuals have chosen to journey on a path that speaks to their own unique way of living life.
I am giving back today and paying forward a little of the support and help that I have received along the way with La Zingara Designs. This is so important to me! Where would any of us be without those people around us who BELIEVE in our visions?
I would like to introduce you today to one such visionary woman, Kim Russ. Kim is the founder and creative force behind the
SHÁE Acquisition Work Tote. http://www.shaebag.com
1. Who or what inspired SHÁE into existence?
SHÁE was inspired by my own desire for a better work bag. As a successful business woman myself, I became frustrated by the lack of options on the market and I realized that when it came to work bags, women were choosing one of two options. They were either buying a laptop bag that was relatively functional but that lacked the right look, or they were buying a designer handbag that they chose for the aesthetics, and attempted to make it work for their professional needs. I wanted to create something better that encompassed both functional needs and aesthetic wants. I wanted something that professional women would be proud to carry, that elevated their look, while also fulfilling their day to day business demands. The hallmark characteristic of a SHÁE bag is that it holds it shape and stands up on its own whether empty or full. I was tired of having bags that would tip over or slouch, where I constantly had to look for a wall or chair to prop my bag up against. I wanted to be able to set my bag down anywhere in the middle of a meeting and know everything was right where I needed it. Another pain point I experienced was that often when I bought a designer bag, usually a tote bag design, it would look great at first but I was shocked at how quickly its quality of design would degrade. I was spending hundreds of dollars at a time on a product that usually only looked good for a few months, and before I knew it, I was on the hunt for a new work bag. SHÁE is intentionally designed to be sturdier and more durable, with a sophisticated and elevated look and feel. It is a work bag that has high-end functionality, combined with a high-end aesthetic. The SHÁE work bag is truly a labor of love that was designed for powerhouse women who are demanding something better.
2. How do you define your passion for your company and its premier Work Tote?
I would say my passion is defined by my desire to give professional women a product that works as hard as they do. When it comes to our careers and our aspirations in life, we don’t settle. We’re always evolving and striving to be the best version of ourselves. I wanted to give them something that matches that drive and work ethic. This work bag has both brains and beauty, just like they do. So my passion is to deliver women something that not only meets their needs, but exceeds their expectations. Which is why our tag line is, “The Work Bag That’s As Well Put Together As You Are”! That was truly my guiding principle when designing and creating our debut bag, the Acquisition Work Tote.
3. Tell us a little about your background and what defines happiness for you?
I’ve had a varied background from animal training and rescue in my early years, to a successful career in business development in the medical aesthetics industry for the past 12 years. I’ve always been an overachiever and focused on excelling at whatever I put my mind to. So when I think about my life and what defines happiness for me, it truly comes down to knowing that nothing is off limits for me. If I have a desire and an inspiration to pursue or achieve something, I find happiness in the pursuit and the process. SHÁE is a great reflection of that because I entered into an arena that I had no experience in. I’ve never designed or created a product and brought it to market. I’ve never worked in the handbag or luggage industry. I’ve never run an e-commerce company. However I didn’t let that stop me. When the desire arose I followed my instincts, learned each step as I went, and over the course of 2+ years of hard work, SHÁE was born. Truly a labor of love! When I hear all of the amazing feedback and comments from those using and loving their SHÁE, it brings joy to my heart.
4. As a small entrepreneur, what goals are you aiming for?
While I have short term goals around sale targets and line extensions, my larger goal is to truly change the landscape of how professional women think of shopping for a work bag. Right now if she asks a friend where she should get a great work bag, there isn’t a specific company that comes to mind. She’ll typically be referred to a handbag designer like Tory Burch or Kate Spade for a possible option, or maybe a luggage company like Tumi, but there isn’t a company truly focused on professional women’s needs. I want SHÁE to be THE company that’s synonymous with delivering products for powerhouse women, starting with the ideal work bag.
5. What defines beauty for you?
For me, beauty is defined as a mix of both strength and kindness. When someone is confident, steadfast, and filled with drive, while also being kind and loving to others, there is nothing more beautiful to me than that. Those are the people who truly make the world a better place. I really see that reflected in my vision for SHÁE! While this is a company focused on delivering to the needs of today’s business women, I also want to see it produce a positive benefit beyond just a company selling a product, which is why there’s a giveback component to what we do. Firstly, 10% of all profits are donated to animal welfare and ocean conservation charities like the Best Friends Animal Society and the Surfrider Foundation. Secondly, I’ve chosen to use high quality vegan leather on all our bags which means that they’re animal cruelty free. I’m incredibly proud of that! Additionally, because the vegan leather we use is high quality, and the overall structure of the bag is more reinforced than your typical work bag, SHÁE bags will long outlast other bags on the market. That means there is less need for replacement over time, fewer bags ending up in landfills, and overall waste reduction which is better for our planet. For the woman purchasing a bag from us, it also means a significant cost savings over time because she’ll be able to confidently use her SHÁE for years to come and not have to keep buying replacements!
I am the proud owner of one of Kim’s beautiful SHÁE Work Totes. Since we are all individuals, we will have different needs for the way this tote gets put to work. As for me, it has become the quintessential way to transport my La Zingara Crossbody Straps, my iPad, phone and personal essentials. It is amazing the way it all conveniently fits into the bag and stays organized.
I hope you will take a moment to look at the SHÁE Work Tote website (the link is found above near Kim’s beautiful photo) and please leave a comment here. Tell us what you think! As with all supportive communities, I hope you will share this with others who would benefit from such an amazing product.
Bringing visions into reality truly is a committed effort and the journey is not always easy. I love discovering other creatives who are turning their passions into something tangible.