Here at House of Coco, we’re all about millenials and Mary Jardine is just that.
Three years ago Mary began her career as a handbag designer and is now the proud owner of Jardine of London. So when given the opportunity to ask her a few questions we jumped at the chance to know just how one balances a family, hobbies and their own brand.
“From a very early age I just loved handbags, what girl doesn’t? I just love feeling glamorous and smart. London is a huge inspiration for me; it’s such a cosmopolitan city with massive diversity in street style.”
Jardine’s inspiration mainly surrounds practicality and people watching is one way which allows her to see the different clothes people wear and how quickly fashion changes. Yet her main observation was that classic styles remain, inspiring her collection.
Jardine’s inspiration for her first bag came from her childhood memories of her leather music case, hence the music bar detail in her designs; “I always wondered what it would be like to have something incredibly chic with lovely clean lines, incorporating the bar but at the same time being practical. I feel I have achieved it with the Jardine of London ‘City’ Bag.”
One of the main points of focus in Jardine’s designs is the gold star used in both the brand name and the interior of each design. The inspiration from this comes from the Jardine Star Brooch, left to Queen Elizabeth II in 1981 by Lady Jardine. The brooch has eight points and a diamond is placed on a knife-wire between each point, creating what looks like a star.
“I am determined to have my bags made in Britain, supporting manufacturing in this country which I feel very proud of.”
As the bags are made in Britain, Jardine can ensure her designs are of the highest quality and are made from ‘beautiful buttery soft-calf leather’ giving the bags a luxurious feel. Each design can hold an Ipad or even a MacBook and they also have an inside security pocket for valuables! There are only a few of each design and colour making owning a Jardine of London bag an exclusive experience. Yet despite all this, the most important aspect of each design is that they actually function.
“The bag actually works; it is incredibly light, whereas other bags that size are like carrying a sack of potatoes around with you! With regards to functions of the bag; the original design was quite similar to the end product when I look back at my first sketches. The final product is as light as a feather but equally strong to carry as much as a girl can cram in.”
Jardine’s designs essentially reflect her personal style, simple yet classic. “I do tend to live in a variety of jeans, jeans for home, and smart jeans for London. I do love to dress up though and any opportunity to put a dress and heels on is always welcomed. My favourite accessory? Handbags of course!”
As you can guess owning a brand and having a family isn’t easy and Jardine strives to keep a calm home for her family. With one husband and two grown sons, the task has essentially become easier. Jardine limits her time travelling away from home for the brand and having her designs made in Britain only aids that.
“Two sons and one husband – that makes 3 boys! Fortunately, all three are relatively well-trained in the domestic department, so they help out at meal times etc. This all means I can concentrate on my business without too many distractions around the home.”
With a family, running a brand and working from home, Jardine is extremely self motivated, determined and organised; with her days starting at 6am and ending at 10pm.
“My husband brings me a cup of ginger tea and we catch the 6am headline news on TV, just so I know what is going on in the world.”
Her working day begins like any of ours with checking her emails. She then deals with any orders that have come in overnight off the website before checking with the workshop in London that all the bags in production are going according to plan. Jardine spends her afternoon making new contacts and always make time to walk her dog, Bumble.
“It gives me time to clear my head and get some exercise at the same time.”
Jardine’s next steps involve continually establishing her brand, for example, adding to the trading name Jardine of England with Jardine of London too due to the brands international appeal. As well as other designs in the pipeline, Jardine also intends to produce a make-up bag and purse to compliment her collection.
Jardine is also due to exhibit at London Fashion Week’s Off Schedule Show at The Grand Connaught Rooms on both 19th & 20th September, Mary’s brand is ever expanding; making her the one to watch.
“My advice for anyone intending to follow in my footsteps is research, research and more research! You cannot prevent yourself from making mistakes however hard you try; just be prepared to pick yourself up and carry on when required. If you are passionate enough about what you are doing and you really believe in it, you will succeed.”