Armed with MBA backgrounds, major design experience in the fashion industry and the belief that anything is possible, Eileen Vincett and her partner were thrilled to create an accessory brand with a simple mission: to create beautiful, functional baby bags that would also support children’s educational initiatives around the world.
“I started my career at Coach where I designed Men’s bag ranges for the luxury market and moved from there to J.Crew where I was responsible for the men’s accessory collections. In 2010, I moved to London and continued working in design. I met Danica Shepetys in 2012 and after many discussions about creating a business that would also give back, we co-founded Land of Ed.” – Eileen Vincett, co-founder of Land Of Ed.
What made you decide to start your own company?
E: After years working for large companies, I knew that I wanted to be a part of a different type of business where I felt good about the work, and where my time and energy gave back. Of course, timing is everything too. I was pregnant with my son, and there wasn’t a fashionable, considered baby bag, at a reasonable price point on the market. This had to change, so we decided to design our own!
Was including a social mission important to you?
E: It was one of the most important aspects of creating our brand. We feel that business should be a force for good and that companies can still be profitable and successful while also doing their part to improve the world in some way.
What made you choose to favour education?
E: I think the number of children denied access to education is a global problem on the rise and something that has to be a addressed. UNESCO has published a report indicating that in 2013, 124 million children and adolescents were out of school. This is unacceptable and as global citizens, we should be doing everything possible to give children their basic right to an education. It was easy to decide where we wanted to give back with our business model as we believe education is the most powerful tool you can give a child.
Now that Land Of Ed is running, what at are your goals?
E: In the short term, my goal is to get our first school up and running. For every bag sold, an element of a school is built. Our first style, The Patrick, will build a school in the Chin State of Burma. Looking further, I want to grow our business so we can create many opportunities for children to learn around the world. We have two more bags in work now, so we are headed in the right direction.
Where do you find motivation?
E: I am motivated by people who use their work to make the world a better place. We are honoured to be a part of the BCorp family, and the work done by these companies is awe inspiring. When I have a rough day, I am reminded of how much amazing work is being done and it drives me forward.
What made you choose this particular career path?
E: From a surface level, I love accessory design. I have been given so many great opportunities to learn about all of the creativity, engineering and business that goes into creating collections. I also, however, need to do work that will bring some good along with making a profit so coupled with my love of creating, Land of Ed is the perfect mix. It doesn’t feel like work when your whole heart is in it, and this career path doesn’t feel like work at all.
What is your greatest achievement?
E: Get back to me with this question after our first school is built.
Any tips on how to run a successful business?
E: I think being open to the resources around you and not being scared to ask for what you want is very important. I’m amazed at the overwhelming offers to help us when we were getting started. People want to see you succeed! I also think being humble and realizing early into the process that you don’t know everything is key. I try to make sure I’m not the smartest person in the room, as I always want to be learning new ways to do business. I seek out those who know more than I do.
To you, what makes a successful leader?
E: I think good leaders are those who recognize how much they can impact the world and who do their part to try and give back as a component of their business model. Employees are inspired by this and will be more likely to work to their full potential if they feel like they are a part of something that is making a difference.
Why did you choose to start something at this point in your life?
E: I think in my twenties I was so focused on gaining experience and learning as much as possible about the fashion industry, that the idea of starting my own business never crossed my mind. I reached a point in my thirties where I wasn’t learning at the rate I hoped for anymore in my career and was also struggling with this horrible feeling that I wasn’t creating any ripple effect for good. I felt, given the skills and experience I had; it was my responsibility to use them now in a positive way.
In the Land of Ed anything is possible. For more info on their products, story and mission, please visit www.landofed.com.