Bridget Brown has experience filling voids in the market. She started her first business Bella Bridesmaids in 2000 when she was working at a high-end retail store and noticed groups of girls coming in and buying the same dress in multiples. “They’d go, ‘Oh god, we can’t find a really cool bridesmaid dress,’” said Brown, who built Bella Bridesmaids into a 43-store network and sold it in 2012 to one of her franchisees.
Around that time, Brown had embraced a vegan lifestyle. Her husband Nick noticed that she could never find a decent vegan handbag or pair of shoes that were less than a luxury price point. “I’ve always been a conscious consumer and I always want to know where something is made and how it was made and what kind of conditions it was made in,” said Brown. “Nick said, ‘Let’s try and do this. Let’s not do shoes — that’s really difficult. Let’s start with bags.'” After two years of development, Brown and her husband last month launched Filbert, a small range of four vegan bags priced $225 to $475, they’re selling direct-to-consumer through the label’s site shopfilbert.com.
All of the items are made of materials mostly sourced in the U.S. “The lining for all of the bags is an organic cotton that’s grown in Texas and it’s milled in South Carolina,” said Brown, who’s based in Sausalito, Calif. “The hardware is solid brass and it’s made in a third-generation factory in Connecticut. The vegan leather is made in Massachusetts and it’s a PU as opposed to a PVC. Our canvas is Italian and our zippers are Riri zippers, which are like the Rolls Royce of zippers. They’re made in Switzerland.”
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