Every woman is always looking for the most stylish and affordable handbag. Shopping for handbags can be a real pain. I know when I go into a mall with a Coach Store, Dooney store and department store, I’m at a loss because I can never make the right decision. Lord knows I can’t afford them all.
Wimbledon startup BagServant is here to help women everywhere find the latest greatest bags. Not only are they the only search engine devoted to handbags from just about every designer but they also have virtual concierge services. Their concierge can help you figure out just want you want, and of course when you want more, you just go back to BagServant.
Lenka Gourdie is the woman behind BagServant. She has a background in consumer marketing and worked for one of London’s fashion manufacturing houses as well. She and her staff have an impeccable eye for the latest trends, styles and of course fashion.
Some of the best fashions in the world come out of the UK and that holds true at BagServant as well. We got a chance to talk with Gourdie about her startup and London’s exciting startup scene. Check out the interview below.
BagServant is a handbag fashion heaven where you can browse, discover, be inspired, be advised and shop for your perfect handbag for any occasion and at any budget.
We are the only search engine devoted to handbags with a concierge service offering you even more help to find the perfect bag for you. Accompanied by inspirational editorial and style advice; BagServant.co.uk allows you to discover the perfect bag from a large selection of top designers, high street brands and emerging designers in a fast and simple way.
In layman’s terms, how does it work? (In other words how would you explain it to your grandmother)
It is a website which features all handbags (the brands you love plus new emerging designers) in one place sold via trusted retailers and brands.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
The CEO & Co-Founder, Lenka Gourdie, is cognoscente of everything fabulous and luxurious and is respected by people who know her for her keen eye for handbags, fashion and luxury products. Lenka has over 15 years experience in sales, marketing, business development and recruitment. Additionally she also has proven experience in commercialisation and new product development. Lenka worked for a fashion manufacturing house for over 2 years.
Operations (Chief Technology Officer) & Co-Founder, Allan Gourdie, is a technology savvy individual with a true passion for innovation and emerging technologies. Allan has previously led numerous global media websites to great success and is passionate about great search. Allan has over 15 years web experience working for large brands such as The Economist, Daily Mail, Loot, the Telegraph, Which? and others. Allan has been involved in creating other start-up products and services.
Where are you based?
We are based in Wimbledon, London.
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
The fashion marketplace is very competitive. Investors here tend to be more conservative than in the USA.
How did you come up with the idea for BagServant?
I always wanted to run my own business and searched for the right idea. I believe when you look for the right idea, you know when you’ve found it.
BagServant was born by combining 2 passions – technology and a love for handbags. I have always loved fashion and my disposable income has always allowed me to spend lots of money on new clothes, shoes and handbags. However, my real passion for handbags was born when I married my husband and he bribed me to take a helicopter trip together on our honeymoon in Hawaii. When he asked me what he needed to do in order to get me on-board, the first thing that came to my mind was a Fendi handbag! Since then, at every special occasion, I have treated myself to a new handbag. Years later, when I read articles about bloggers and fashion, Allan, my business partner presented me with the concept of a search engine and the idea was born.
How did you come up with the name?
It was actually my business partner. He seems to be very good when it comes to coming up with brand names. We had a long list of different names and tried to find a domain name which was free. All the others were not available and this one was. Now it seems that it was the best pick.
What problem does BagServant solve?
We are trying to provide all handbag lovers with a one stop shop with the best handbags and provide them with all the tools they will ever need to find their perfect bag. We have more plans for the future where we are going to solve problems of handbag brands and designers too.
What’s your secret sauce?
By focusing only on handbags, this allows us to focus on the details which others can’t.
Are you bootstrapped or funded?
We have bootstrapped it so far but we are now looking for funding to develop the ultimate handbag destination.
What are some milestones you’ve achieved?
We started with a blog, then we launched a BETA search. We had to rebrand the website as we did not take into consideration the importance of the styling of a fashion site. We rebranded back in August since then we have gained more interest from bloggers and all bag lovers with monthly unique visitors of around 10k growing to 19k more recently. We have signed up many retailers and brands but also interviewed business people such as Michelle Mone and Deborah Meaden. We started running a sponsored competition Bag of the Month which has become very popular with 12k monthly competition entrants. We have also been featured in Mail Online, The Huffington Post and Yahoo Canada.
What’s your next milestone?
We are looking for funding to create the ultimate handbag destination with all handbags all the best handbags in the world. We want to create a marketplace with customization aspects.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
I am not sure, there have been many challenges and there are lots more to come, that’s one thing I am sure about. But I am proud of the fact that I am able to work from home and motivate myself to get things done. I always used to work in an office, so working from home was a big challenge for me.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
I personally have a variety of business role models – starting from my father who was a MD of various large manufacturing companies as well as other business founders such as Tamara Mellon from Jimmy Choo, Natalie Massenet from net-a-porter.com and Michelle Mone.
What’s next for BagServant?
Launching our online marketplace and customisation platform for all bag lovers and handbag designers.
Where can people find out more
BagServant.co.uk ( no www.)