There are so many incredibly talented and creative people living on our doorstep who are creating beautiful, stylish and sustainable products, that in our opinion rival the big mass produced brands on all fronts. One such brand is Poltrona, launched by Victoria Kelley two years ago, right here in Sydney. Victoria designs and manufactures a range of simple and elegant leather and suede bags created in a sustainable and ethical environment and at an affordable price point. We caught up with Victoria for a chat …
Can you tell us a bit about your background and career prior to launching Poltrona Victoria? After graduating from University I chose to travel and work in London at Louis Vuitton, where I confess I began a love of beautiful craftsmanship. After a few months I decided to return home to Canada where I worked in interior design company and then at 28 I got itchy feet and decided to travel for a year. Upon my return to Canada I spent four years in the Travel industry, (where I met my Australian Husband). We moved to Sydney and I worked with a photographer, (Robiin Sellick) until we had our first two children within a year of each other. When our third child arrived I studied to be a Yoga teacher, and spent five years teaching clients on a private basis. Two years ago I launched Poltrona.
What inspired you to launch your own label? After teaching Yoga for five years I wanted something a bit more challenging on a cerebral level. I had always found handbags and shoes to be very expensive in Australia and felt that there was a niche for simple, elegant handbags and so I began a journey to build a business designing and creating handbags and clothing using leathers and suede.
Where do you get the inspiration from for your fabulous designs? I would say I am most inspired by form and colour in nature. I wanted to design bags that would be simple, elegant and beautifully made from hand picked materials.
Can you tell us a bit about where you manufacture your bags? We have established a chain of suppliers that we have chosen, because of the quality of their work, and the strength of our relationships with each of them. Our suppliers and manufacturer, David, are all in Sydney, which helps us to understand and ensure the ethics of our supply chain.
What have been the major highs and lows since launching Poltrona Victoria? I’ve found that the greatest pleasure comes from feeling the thrill of a new design that is sought after and appreciated by clients. The creative side of the business like, the photography is the best part, while, developing and understanding the technical side of the website is more challenging.
How would you describe your style? I would say that I am drawn to clean, elegant lines and I am not fussy, if anything I am probably a bit of a tomboy. I love a classic look, and muted colours, but then I'll throw on a pair of Red patent leather Rojer Viviers to spruce up the look! (Jane Birkin, Ines De La Fressange are two of my favourite style icons that epitomize understated elegance).
What else is in the pipeline for Poltrona Victoria ? I am designing a Travel Wallet and Bag, I have a dress and a skirt in the pipeline, and a smaller version of the Gillian Bag....Also a bag that I am working on for men (with much valuable advice from my husband).
How would you describe yourself in four words? Warm, Family oriented, adventurous
What do you like to do to relax? I like to go for walks in nature, along the coast, up mountains, outside in the elements. A massage and manicure are always another helpful way to relax!
What other creative people / businesses do you admire? I greatly admire the work, and charity of Isabel Allende, the Author from Chili, who writes from a realist style. On a more local level I admire the beautiful craftsmanship of designers like Natalie Marie Jewellery, Oracle Fox Blog and Monica @ Hamptons House.
Finish these sentences …
You will never see me … without something to read
I can’t start my day without … sun salutations followed by a coffee
My guilty pleasure is … a good glass of wine
If money were no object I’d buy … I would take my family and travel all over the world, staying in Boutique accommodation, eating local cuisine, buying art and furnishings for our home, so we could always be reminded of our adventures.