Way back when we were sweet 15 (or to be specific, 14+), my best friend Pam and I launched our own handbag brand PeeVee. We dared to be different… and it turned out to be our first taste of entrepreneurial success!
Yes we were still at school, slogging hard to pass the first major exam year of our young and ambitious lives…. but we made time for our passion. Being over-achievers and inseparable trend setters (that often ruffled the feathers of the powers-that-were, at school), we made regular day trips to the big city to shop till we literally dropped, with just the exact change left for the hour-long bus ride home.
To feed these regular sprees, we had to find ways and means to fill up the piggy banks (and we could not sell anything in the house, as Pam’s sister Chris had cautioned us). So we set up a joint-venture handbag making business! Of course, the name would be PeeVee. We thought of everything, splitting the costs, expenses, work and profits in half.
We created a logo and a hand-drawn catalogue showing a variety of handbag designs, made with faux suede. It was then passed around the classroom, and by the day’s end, we would have our list of orders.
Each bag required about ¼ yard of fabric purchased from the local men’s tailor shop, and we had a range of colours, all that the shop had in stock. Every handbag was then embellished with brass rings, eyelets and beads, depending on the chosen design, which made it a one-of-a-kind PeeVee original.
On the weekends, Pam and I alternated working on our creations at each other’s house. We hogged our mothers’ sewing rooms, where the PeeVee duo cut and stitched like elves racing against time.
By Monday, the finished handbags would be ready for delivery to the classmates who had ordered them. We beamed with pride at having our handiwork appreciated by one and all, and some were even sent abroad by our classmate clients, as gifts for their sisters. A huge testament to the quality of the individually crafted PeeVee handbags, complete with our logo that was painstakingly worked into the design.
When we had made enough for the next spending spree, we would take the weekend off ‘work’, put on our hot pants and boots (yes, in the hot weather too, after all, were we not living our dreams of being self-supporting fashionistas?) and head off to the big city for a day’s shopping spree, whether it rained or shone!
In spite of the success of the PeeVee brand, the reality of the looming exams (and the disapproval of the powers-that-were) brought our entrepreneurial diversions to a close before we reached our 15th birthdays. Not so the friendship. It continued through the years and Pam is just right there, on the other side of cyberspace!
She still wows everyone with her sewing skills, while being the cutest mom to her grown children and fantastic wife to a lucky man. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend, Pam……and for turning the house upside down in search of the prized photo of us with a PeeVee original handbag!
The penchant for making my own handbags and fashion accessories continued to inspire me over the years… and has evolved into today’s VAL Design.