Tessa Spielhofer is a Swiss born designer with a diverse background, having grown up in Israel and gone to school in Hong Kong, before moving to London where she studied business and fashion at the prestigious London College of Fashion. She wanted to create a label that spoke pure luxury but with an accessible price tag. The idea was to build a true British brand by focusing on local sourcing and manufacturing. Tessa Spielhofer bags are not only elegant and fashionable, but were created with a functional mind, allowing the user to keep her valuables safely organised within the bag. The days of fishing around ones bag for keys, wallet or an oyster card, are over.
Tessa talks to us at House of Coco…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
The brand was being developed as far back as 2010 but I have only launched it in the beginning of 2014. This was our soft launch to friends and families and through our positive response we have decided to launch it fully at the beginning of 2015 with our AW2015 Preview.
We wanted to build a brand made from locally sourced materials and have our products produced locally, being inspired by the ‘Made in Britain’ movement. The Lion was chosen as a symbol to represent strength and independence which we like to think that all our customers possess.
Whats your background?
Born in switzerland but having grown up in Israel after which I attended school in Hong Kong and eventually starting my education in Business and Fashion in London at the University of the Arts. I have always loved to travel and was lucky enough to do this growing up. The brand I was to create needed to have easy to wear pieces as well as be functional enough for women on the move. In order to do so the bag did not have to contain dozens of pockets but have all the essentials such as keys, oyster/ID and wallet at easy access whilst being safely strapped to the bag.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
The best thing is to learn from one’s mistake and make the next year and the next collection better to the other. My advice is to never give up on ones dreams and if there is a fall you need to give all your energy to climb even higher. A thing I would have liked to make different is to have a partner, as being the sole Director to a company can be lonely and decisions are even harder to make.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Every day is a new challenge and I think the biggest challenge is yet to come which is to expose my brand to the world. Being a new company the hardest challenge is to get noticed and recognised as a brand.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
As a child I wanted to be a detective or a secret agent; I was obsessed with James Bond movies.
2015 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
The plan is to expand into stores in order to gain more exposure as well as launching our first ever Fashion Show.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
The highlight since our launch is, having attended the Independent Handbag Designer Awards in NYC last year, shortly after our soft launch. It was an amazing opportunity and a great honour to have been chosen amongst thousands as a finalist for the category of best handmade bag.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
We currently have no plans of expanding into further product categories but are considering expansion into other accessories such as necklaces and belts as well as metal jewellery.
Where can people find out more?