B meets Anna Walker London
We met Anna back in May in Albion Counter on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. The sun was shining, I had a very good coffee and spotted an Italian Greyhound out the window as I waited, so I had a good feeling about this one. Well really, I did already, Anna’s brand is all about simplicity, functionality, natural sustainable materials and London. Which is our home so got to love it, everything is made right here in the East end (if you’ve not been to London it’s nothing like EastEnders). Anna’s brand offers a practical but “ooo I want it so much” range of leather goods. Who doesn’t need a strong leather tote? You’ll use everything from her range and they’ll last you!
I studied fashion design at the University of Westminster specialising in womenswear. After this I tried out a number of different roles including visual merchandising and accessories styling before eventually, and inevitably, circling back to design. In 2012 I started making bags for myself and for friends. It wasn’t really a brand at this point, more of a side project that gradually grew through word of mouth. In 2014 I launched my transactional website but the big push to take it to the next level came when Liberty bought my products for Autumn/Winter ‘15.
MAKE IT PERSONAL
My brand brings together beautiful, natural materials and high end craftsmanship to produce functional, minimalist leather bags and accessories in London. All products can be personalised with monogrammed lettering to make your own and truly unique to you!
B - Ooo we love this, I always love having my initials or name on things (those who know me will remember Queen B). Also makes such a good gift, we all secretly want to be that person who buys the best presents.
I’ve always been inspired by architecture and interior design, the colourways of my current collection came from looking at the incredible fiberglass colours used by Charles and Ray Eames.
SOMETHINGS GET BETTER WITH AGE…
I work with Italian vegetable-tanned leather and my designs celebrate the beauty of this natural, sustainably sourced material that evolves with use and gets better with wear.
B - I can vouch for this, we used to use a lot of this type of leather at Mulberry (where I worked for 4 years), I still have bags years later I like better now with wear.
Everything is made either by me or by a team at a specialist East London leather workshop. Keeping production small and local is really important – as well as giving me greater control it also keeps the transportation costs and environmental impact down. It’s of course not as cheap as choosing to mass produce in huge quantities overseas but high quality, attention to detail and a close direct relationship are the huge benefits of producing in London.
SHE LOVES A CHALLENGE
The hardest parts and the best bits, for me, are kind of the same thing. The challenge of growing a business is sometimes impossibly hard… but also, I love a challenge. My advice for anyone wanting to set up a business is start small and be persistent.