Let me start this post by saying that Kelly Hall, creator of Snapdragon Fashion, is one of the most gracious people I’ve ever met. As I stumbled through a few camera issues during our shoot she was so patient and didn’t even bat an eye when we had to reschedule. Her reaction and response to the situation (as I died inside of embarrassment) was, “everything happens for a reason.” She was so right because THIS location was breathtaking and we made it through the second session with something to show for it. The kindness she displayed to me is not only how she lives her life but it is the breath of life throughout her brand. Focused on leaving the world better than she found it, her hand-crafted, socially conscious handbags give women the opportunity to be proud of the bag they carry. The commitment of Snapdragon is to create each bag without compromise to workers, animals and the communities it serves. The Moondance clutch (as seen, here and here) is one of the most unique items I have in my closet. This hassle-free clutch solves the problem of what to do with your clutch when you go out with your girlfriends as it transforms into a bangle allowing you use both hands to sip your cocktail or snap a photo. I could fan girl over Kelly and her coveted line forever so instead here’s an inside look at our coffee shop conversation (and some exciting new things on her horizon!):
CG: What inspired you to start Snapdragon?
KH: Love this question. It’s equally fun and fulfilling to think about the chain of events that led me to this point. The point I envisioned for over a decade, but fell short of achieving not once, but twice along the way. It’s almost surreal to even be asked the question. Is this really happening?
It’s said that there are two sides and the truth, and this adage rings true in how Snapdragon came about. I remember exactly where I was when I had my first calling to design. I was twenty something, living in Savannah and spending most of my time commuting between home, work and happy hour. Savannah is a walking city so I was on foot for most of my adventures. I needed a cross-body bag spacious enough to carry the essentials, but not functionally over-complicated with pouches and buckles.
After years of searching, buying the closest thing I could find then later tossing it into the Goodwill pile, I declared that I would design my own one day.
Meanwhile, my career in sales was budding. I worked for two great companies who were leaders in their respective industries for a combined tenure of 15 years. At the pinnacle of my career I had the privilege of leading a brilliant team and product strategy for Target, a highly revered role within my company. On paper there was much to be proud of, so it took courage to acknowledge the nagging in my soul to create something of my own. After several years of planning, saving and monopolizing my friend’s time in free counseling sessions, I made what seemed to be the wildest decision of my life and took an extended professional sabbatical.
It was only during this downtime, and arguably as a result of this downtime, that I would find the clarity to bring Snapdragon to life. The truth behind my inspiration is that it evolved over time from a purely design-based vision to one that would embody my inherent need to unleash the energy of my right brain. What seemed to be “failed attempts” were simply the universe’s way of keeping me in the lane that would be prepare me for this moment.
I love this question because it allows me to recall the path in reverse order and realize how each point along the way was perfectly placed, even if it didn’t seem that way at the time. Snapdragon is my vessel to create my story and leave a positive impact on the world, but it would have never been possible without the experience and inspiration I gained in my previous career. I’m grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way.
CG: What does a day in the life of Snapdragon look like?
KH: Having just celebrated the 6-month anniversary of my brand launch, most of my work is focused in two areas: collaboration and product development.
I’m a bit of an early bird and generally rise with the morning sun. I spend a few minutes of quiet reflection then go for a walk with my dog. My best days start with a trip down to the beach for sunrise; nothing hits my reset button like quiet time by the ocean.
A typical work day is a mix of meetings, planning, imagining and learning. I try to keep only 2-3 big projects in flight at once so I can do my best work with clear prioritization. I’m currently launching a collaboration, BY HAND, with Nicole Paloma, a fellow visionary and local designer. BY HAND is a personalized collection of hand-crafted products by local artists shipped directly to clients all over the country. The lion share of my work over the past couple months has been spent building the customer experience and processes needed to make this unique offering seamless to each client.
I’m simultaneously in the initial design phase of a new product concept and potential collaboration that will serve as a significant milestone for the brand. Too soon to share more details… so stay tuned for more to come in the next couple weeks!
CG: Where do you draw your inspiration for the current line of handbags and future handbags?
KH: My design inspiration comes in a variety of flavors, but I get really fired up by solving problems. When I’m drawn visually to a design, I immediately think… how could I make it better? Then those ideas become the baseline for future designs.
CG: What’s the best part about operating your company out of the 30A community?
KH: It was the immense beauty of the beaches that initially drew me into the 30A market. I’ve never been in another setting that moves me so deeply. Having settled in a bit to the area, I find the creative energy flowing between the tribe of artists in this community to be almost overwhelming. This ubiquitous creative spirit of 30A makes building my brand here even more fun. Inspiration can be found everywhere you turn.
CG: Describe the concept and goals of the Snapdragon brand.
KH: My goal for the brand is simple: to leave the world better than I found it. I try to apply this rule to every decision I make for the brand and let it be my compass.
CG: What’s your biggest “lesson learned” as a business owner?
KH: Whoa. So many lessons, so little time.
I’d say the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is the importance of asking questions. Own it when you need help. Raise your hand. Asking the right questions of the right people is critical when building something meaningful and sustainable.
CG: Words of advice for other aspiring creatives near and far?
KH: When you’re passionate about your work, you want to share it with the world. When you talk about it, people will share their opinions. It’s a natural response and an important element of the journey. Be grateful for the feedback but be acutely aware of what you let settle into your psyche. Early on I found myself latching onto opinions and attempting to respond to them all. You can’t be everything to everybody and become your best, authentic self.
My advice is to take the time to clearly define your vision and be true to it. Let it come into focus through thoughtful planning, then get after it. Not everyone will get it, and that’s ok. Create goals, then stretch them. You should be in situations often where you’re shaking in your boots.
I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes by the great Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Snapdragon has been my greatest obstacle and accomplishment. Thank you, Christina, for giving me a lens through which to share my story.
I get the pleasure of piecing these features together before they go live and as I read through this one, I wanted more! Do you all feel like that? I just want to soak up every word of advice, experience and drop of wisdom that Kelly has to offer because as you can see it’s vast yet she remains so humble. And what a rare combination to find today! I am SO excited to watch the Snapdragon brand grow! If you’d like to keep up with Kelly along her journey, be sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
Thank you so much for stopping by today!