Every woman has them--handbags. And the luxury handbags from Elizabeth Laine are becoming a must-have for fashionistas.
"I started my business because I have always had a passion for fashion and have always wanted to be an entrepreneur," explains Elizabeth Laine, who launched the company in December 2010. "I was at a point in my life where I felt I wasn't getting any younger and wasn't going to let the fear of failing get in the way of pursuing my dream."
But in an age where luxury is out of reach for many people, why has Laine taken that path, rather than introducing a low-cost line? "I promote my company through social networking, word of mouth," explains Laine, "and I make sure that anyone I meet knows about the services I offer."
Many African-Americans find that the fashion industry is closed to them. Laine, an African-American entrepreneur born and raised in Los Angeles, faced her own obstacles as well. "Breaking into the fashion industry is not easy. It is important to have a quality product, something that sets you apart from the rest. And it’s important not to allow any closed doors to stop you," she says. But she also had to overcome many problems new businesses face. "One of the obstacles I faced was working with a contractor who wasn't reliable when it came to having my handbag orders ready within the agreed upon time-frame. I learned that it is better to have a list of people to call for backup instead of relying on one person whose services you like," she recalls. "Another obstacle I faced was for my first trunk show. I had way too many products, thinking I would sell out in that one day. To my surprise, only three handbags sold. From that situation, I learned how to pace myself on the amount of products I have made. It has been important for me to embrace each setback because I have been able to grow from each situation and learn how to avoid the same thing reoccurring."
Despite her initial hardships, Laine, who studied at Art & Design, is looking ahead to a bright future for the Elizabeth Laine Collection. "I have added new colors and styles to the Elizabeth Laine Collection that show more of my versatility as a designer. I am also working with several blogs and magazines the will feature Elizabeth Laine handbags," she says, adding "I feel that I am paving the way for other African-American women. Since then, I launched my Web site, have been featured in articles about my line and have received an overwhelming response from women who have contacted me on how I have inspired them to follow their dreams."