Chic “Blank Canvas” Bags That Won’t Break the Bank
Paulina Liffner von Sydow, founder of Little Liffner.
Two years ago, you founded Little Liffner, a brand that promises that a bag “never should come with a price tag of a two-week vacation.” What made you take that approach?
I had a really hard time finding a simple but elegant handbag that didn’t come with an offensive price tag, and so did my friends. So I set out to try to create clean-cut styles in materials that speak for themselves. Also, I was really tired of the It bag concept and wanted to offer something different. As travel is my passion, I tend to compare any buys with plane-ticket fares and nights at charming hotels. I want to be able to afford a weekend in Paris and a great bag.
What is a Little Liffner bag, and what does it stand for?
I want my bags to have a blank-canvas quality. The Little Liffners should become what you style them to be and complete your look, whether it is your banged-up favorite denim or a cocktail dress. I want my clients to buy a bag they love and make it their own, rather than buy a brand to show off. That is what Little Liffner stands for: A bag is just a bag is just a bag.
Tell me about your process; do you start from an idea or are you focused on seasonal trends and/or materials?
Materials are everything to me, so I always start from there. The structure of the leather, the color, the smell—that’s my starting point. But, of course, I’m affected by general trends, and street-style blogs are my guilty pleasure! What really inspires me, though, are travel and the way chic girls dress in different cities. Globalization and all, I still see a big difference in how New York chicks and Stockholm girls dress.
Where do you produce your bags?
Outside of Florence, Italy. The Italians are really the best with leather and handbag production. It is also a great excuse to travel a lot to Italy and enjoy the food and generally awesome vibe.
Little Liffner has been an online-only brand but will be available in retail outlets starting this fall. Has that changed how you work?
Building an online business first and finding a small global fan base for Little Liffner through the powers of the Internet has been crucial for me. I love being able to communicate directly with customers and look to develop my online presence every season. However, some retailers are just too great to pass on. At a risk of sounding cheesy, launching in the U.S. market with Barneys is a dream come true for me. I’m sure Little Liffner will reach a wider range of customers through our collaboration. Going into Japan with Tommorrowland feels just as exciting.
Coming from a role at a fashion PR house, how does one effectively communicate a fresh brand in a cost-efficient way?
PR is great in that it’s less expensive than advertising and in some ways more effective. “Earn it” is my motto, and that goes for PR as well. If you focus on doing a good product that the market needs, good press will come.
Photos: Courtesy of Little Liffner