Jennifer Chong’s beloved Roman Khan indispensable a stylish, organic leather briefcase for work.
His mandate were elementary though tough to find: well-made, affordable and no manifest logo.
When Khan couldn’t find one that met his needs, 28-year-old Chong stepped in to pattern one instead.
“He and we are really identical as consumers,” pronounced Chong. “We demeanour for affordable, high peculiarity products that final and don’t make us walking billboards for a brand.”
That became a birth of Linjer, a code of minimalist leather bags for group and women.
The online business, that launched in Oct 2014 following a successful Indiegogo campaign, strike $1 million in sales in 14 months. Its bags, that are labelled between $330 and $715, comes in 4 colors and 3 styles: briefcases, totes and a dufflebag for men.
All are designed by Chong with submit from Khan, who quit his pursuit to turn her business partner.
“We’ve had many business wait 4 to 5 months to get their bag,” pronounced Chong, adding a bags have grown a cult following.
The association has also gifted success with a watch collection, innate from another crowdfunding bid that lifted $965,000.
Chong expects sum association sales to strech $3.5 million in a second year.
While this might sound like a near-Cinderella success story, a association has faced vital hurdles in perplexing to accommodate demand.
“We were creatively on lane to strech $5 million in sales [this year] though a prolongation can’t keep adult with direct right now,” she said.
Chong and Khan were held off-guard by it.
“We [needed to find a approach for] a supply sequence to hoop it,” she said. “The prolongation ability of factories is flattering inelastic, so we now have to devise with them some-more carefully.”
Customer use is another challenge.
“Until recently, we were doing patron use ourselves,” she said. “But during one point, we satisfied it wasn’t a best use of a time.”
Chong, who graduated from Dartmouth with a grade in economics, had been operative as a business consultant, roving around a universe to accommodate clients. Eventually, she got burnt out by a severe pace.
Before Linjer, she wanted to start a shoe company. But with no credentials in conform or retail, she done mistakes: “My initial sketches were a disaster.”
Ultimately, Chong dynamic she wanted to take a opposite path.
“The shoe business is a notoriously formidable category,” she said. “You have to understanding with vast inventories and a high lapse rate. There’s a lot of income involved, and we wanted to bootstrap my business.”
Chong cut her waste though gained a plain credentials in a leather attention and shifted her concentration to bags.
Still, a pierce was risky: The integrate invested $20,000 of their possess income to get Linjer off a ground.
While leather bags might not be a insubordinate idea, Chong and Khan done Linjer successful given they were means to code an untapped need among consumers.
“There’s a flourishing call of shoppers, ourselves included, who don’t wish to be greedy tellurian beings,” she said. “If we’re asked to select between inexpensive or improved peculiarity products that will final a prolonged time, we’re picking a latter.”
People don’t wish to bombard out large bucks for costly brands either.
“Consumers are apropos reduction focused on picture and some-more focused on individuality — generally a younger generations,” Marshal Cohen, arch attention researcher with NPD Group, wrote in a new report. “The days of consumers looking to be a partial of a engineer or code transformation are loss in preference of their enterprise to find a character and duty singular to their celebrity and lifestyle.”
After a span lifted $185,000 in 24 hours on Indiegogo, they knew they were on to something.
“This was good marketplace validation for a idea,” pronounced Chong, who pronounced a income lonesome prolongation costs.
She has given relocated to Italy to work some-more closely with Linjer’s supply chain.
“We were usually a two-person group final October, operative out of a vital room,” she said. “Now, we’re essential and employing given a business has grown so quickly.”
The startup has combined 3 interns to assistance with a selling and amicable media efforts and has large skeleton to grow even some-more in a years ahead.
“We’re formulation to launch a collection of board and leather bags and open pop-up shops, so people can also see a products in person,” she said.
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