My name is Nicolien den Hertog and I am 28 years old. I
graduated from the art Academie in Utrecht (the Netherlands) September 2011. I
studied fashion but always knew I wanted to design and make bags. Just out of
school I bought a good industrial machine, but before getting to use it I had to
design my bags first. The 22nd of January, I had my first sales day, in my own
house for family and friends. It went really well! Now I've just had the opening
of a pop-up store in Utrecht where they are selling some of my bags and
accessories for to months (BEDFORD). Last Sunday there was an art market where I
was selling my stuff and things are still coming my way. My website is almost
done but most people I reach through my facebook page. With entering
the Independent Handbag Designer Awards I'm hoping to get more exposure and be
able focus on my bag line completely.
My target audience is not necessarily age bound. My design is without fuss. I
belief that simple design can be elegant and timeless. I get inspired by bags
from the past that had a function of some kind. I make bags that are easy to
use, and kind to the eye. I play around with color combinations and different
leathers put together. All bags are one of a kind, made with love with my own
too hands. All bags and accessories are one of a kind. The small shoulder
bags, wallets and key covers are entirely or in part made from recycled
materials. I am still looking for a way to do the same for the big shoulder
When I went to Bagmuseum Hendrikje for the first time, now some then years ago.
I knew that that was what I wanted to be, a bag designer. Every time now that
I'm not doing anything, bag designs pop up in my head, that's how I know that
I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I am a handbag designer for everything that
it takes to be one. About a month and a half ago I wanted to do the art market
in Amsterdam. Before entering I wanted to finish making my small shoulder bags,
I had been working on. I had cut twenty of them and put the strengthening and
hardware in. I was ready to sew them all at once. Then, with sewing the first
one I realized that the strengthening I used was much stronger than the one I
had used before. I had to take all the hardware and strengthening out and start
over, and I missed the market... it really was a nightmare!
When I had just put up my facebook page, I started getting orders right away.
A blogger, fifties darling, found me and put up a really nice story about my
bags. I got approached by pop-up store BEDFORD to sell my stuff and also got
approached by two stores that were interested in selling my bags. I love that
without having to beg or give things for free or even so much as to go by,
people see the quality of my products and want to do something with it. That
makes me very proud and determined to go on to make my brand a successful one
that stands out.