Let’s just say that I’m looking forward to the day when I can say I own a ila handbag. I want that large tote in my hands!!!!! This collection is so perfect for a wedding, bachelorette party…and there is even a bag for travel or the beach. I just love it! Not only did I get the opportunity to ooh and ahh over these gorgeous bags, I was able to hear more about the story of ila handbags, and how designer Paula Bjerketvedt created her brand! I would love to share that with you. Do yourself a favor and check our all of her amazing pieces.
Tell me a little bit about your business and how you started your journey towards creating ila handbags?
“I’ve always had a passion for design, specifically textile design. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in a creative field and have always been drawn to fashion, textiles & history. I graduated with a clothing design degree from the University of Minnesota. I landed a job out of college, I worked as a visual display coordinator at a larger clothing retailer and got a lot of good experience for 4 years. I then moved on to work for Anthropologie. I was the Visual & Merchandising Manger for the Minnesota stores for over 5 years. It was wonderful & innovative retailer to work for. They truly embraced creativity and originality with in each store.
It was at Anthropologie that I became truly inspired and had dreams of branching out on my own. During this time at had gotten married and we had our first child; I was ready for something new. My husband ran a small design and branding studio in northeast Minneapolis. I started working with my husband at his studio as his project manager. After working together for over a year I started thinking a collaboration for my own business would be a good idea.
“The moment” came through an invitation to a friends wedding in Paris, France. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend her wedding but knew I wanted to give her something special. In college I had always been drawn to bags and clutches as an accessory to my clothing designs, so sketching some clutch ideas for her wedding seemed natural. I pulled my sewing machine up from the basement and got to work. After a few rounds of modifications I showed my friend a clutch and she loved it. A few friends saw the clutches and wanted one of their own. It seemed like there might be a business there so I started making more and producing other styles, etc. ila is named after my eclectic, fashionable grandmother, Illavern Gregory (ila) and was started fall of 2010.
I currently run the shop out of our home studio. My recent collaboration with a designer friend from Chicago has been wonderful. I love collaborating with other creatives and hope to do more of that in the future.”
What should we know about ila handbags?
“ila (pronounced Isla) is a Minneapolis, MN based boutique handbag and design studio featuring handcrafted, limited edition clutches and totes. All bags are handmade with only the highest quality silk, cotton, wool & leather fabrics. ila’s bags and clutches have been featured in publications such as Martha Stewart Weddings, The Knot, WHITE magazine, Well Wed Magazine, Minnesota Bride & MSP Weddings.”
If you could make a handbag for anyone famous, who would that be?
Sienne Miller, Jenna Lyons or Sofia Coppola!