Emma White, founder of handmade leather goods company Honey & Toast, tells us about the secrets of her brand’s success and her love for leopard print.

 

On starting her own business…

After working in the accessories industry for 15 years, for brands like Paul Smith, Mary Katrantzou and Alice Temperley, I wanted the opportunity to work more flexibly around my children – and school hours mainly. I had a ‘now or never’ moment and I just wanted to be able to do the school run some days! Honey & Toast is actually named with my daughter in mind. Sometimes when she was little the only thing I could get her to eat was honey and toast!

 

On designing and creating products for children, before expanding the range to include products for their parents too…

For the children’s satchels it’s all about creating something that feeds kids’ ideas and imaginations, while producing something functional that will live to tell the tale of their childhood adventures. I wanted to create something for modern families that will stand the test of time, has real value and will only get better with age so it can be handed down to siblings. Our bags have to be really user-friendly for children, with easy-to-open poppers and adjustable straps. Children are a more demanding customer, that’s for sure!

I never planned to make bags for ‘grown ups’. It started with some women asking for longer straps on the children’s bags, and it went from there. Now the bags and accessories for adults sell better than the children’s here in the UK! I want to expand the range with more styles so I have zip- top pouches coming soon, plus a tote for spring, which I’m really excited about.

 

On British craftsmanship…

I worked with our factory in Somerset while working at Paul Smith and had a great relationship with them. They hand-make all of our products and their craftsmanship is second to none. Working in the UK is great for me as I can go to visit the factory whenever I need to, I can speak to them all the time (I do!), and they’re very flexible with order numbers which, as a small business, I really need.

 

On her bestselling ‘Etter’ leopard satchel…

I love leopard print because it’s so timeless and wanted to produce a leopard bag for a long time. It’s a classic print that goes with everything – it’s stylish and fun. It can also be gender neutral: I love it when customers buy our leopard print scooter bags for their boys, not just their girls.

 

On where she gets her inspiration…

Everything inspires me, which might sound like a cliché, but for me it’s true. I love vintage markets, books, galleries, exhibitions, people watching – I have been known to chase people down the street trying to take photos of their bags…

 

 

View the Honey & Toast range