Have you always been interested in design?
From a very young age I have been obsessed with design. I loved watching my grandmother and my mother sew. I enjoyed fabric shopping with them. I loved picking out all the fabrics and imagining the infinite possibilities. Growing up in Texas, this wasn’t the typical path for a young boy.
So you are originally from Texas?
Yes, Port Lavaca, Texas to be exact. I went to college in Austin, Hook ‘em Horns! After graduation, I moved to New York City where I lived for just over 14 years. The past 4 years I’ve moved around a bit. My husband and I moved to San Francisco, then to LA and this past year we landed back in Manhattan. Between my job and my husband’s job, we’ve made some career moves that have allowed us flexibility to work remotely. We decided to move to Dallas in December, and I’m excited to be back in Texas.
What inspired you to make a line of bags?
My work bags, gym bags, travel bags or anywhere-in-between bags had one fatal flaw - what I like to call "the open abyss.” So I decided to jump online and start looking for some ways to organize my “daily junk.” After hours of searching the Internet I found that the options had no style, were poor quality or were way out of my budget. So I decided that if I wanted a stylish way to organize my stuff I would have to create it. I broke out my sewing machine, found an old pair of my husband's jeans and voila, the Gado Bag was born.
How and where are your bags made?
I currently make all the bags in my studio. I use a heavy-duty sewing machine that works well with the thicker fabrics and leathers that I work with. I like being able to control the quality of my product. I put a lot of thought into the colors, the leather, and the fabrics, as well as the hardware. It’s been exciting making each and every bag. What starts out as just pieces of fabrics later turns into a fun useful bag that everyone needs.
How are Gado Bags different from the other brands out there?
The Gado bag is not an extension of my brand, they ARE my brand and my main focus. Many of the higher end bags in the market are just extensions of established fashion lines—almost like afterthoughts. They are not given the thought and detail that I give to each design. The same goes for the more affordable bags---they tend to have poor design and flaws like cheap zippers and liners.
My bags are designed with the customer and purpose of the bag in mind. Take for instance our Sweat Bag – I’ve added a durable bottom to the bag so it can sit on wet surfaces in the locker room. I used a waterproof zipper as well as a rubberized liner to handle spills as well as easy clean up. The materials I use for my bags are of high quality. Not only do I look for durability, but also luxe fabrics and leathers. I love a good zipper. When designing the bags I keep in mind the look and functionality of the zipper. I also try to incorporate a pop of bright color in many of the designs because it makes them easier to find in your gym bag.
Do you see yourself branching out into larger bags or travel items?
This year I plan to expand to include larger bags like more waist/chest bags as well as a tote. I get a lot of requests to develop a laptop sleeve so that is in the works as well.
With my move to Dallas, a goal is to find a few people to sew in my studio to help expand the business to include more wholesale.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy working out. I started really focusing on that about two years ago. I love to travel, entertain, cook, home décor and of course watch bad reality TV.