How did you decide to come together to create Dagne Dover as three co-founders?
We all came from different parts of the retail industry, but my background was in bags. I saw an opportunity for a new bag brand that could fuse performance-based materials and extreme interior organization, resulting in bags that could flex with the various parts of one’s lifestyle. I knew I wanted two co-founders – one who was much more analytical and traditionally business-trained, and another who was our designer. I’ve known Deepa, our COO, since we were fresh out of college in NYC, and I heard of Jessy, our Creative Director and Designer, through her having won the Coach Accessories Design Competition while she was a student at Parsons in 2011.
Your mission to “solve handbag problems” is certainly something that resonates with all of us who have spent absurd amounts of time searching through the black hole that can be our bags. Can you share a bit about that approach and how it influences your product design?
We think of ourselves as the creators of the antidote to the blackhole bag. We design all of our bags with intention, so our wearers can organize and protect their items as they move throughout their day. When you’re organized, life just flows smoother. We keep it simple and utilize the same organizational design features throughout our collection of bags, so you can easily switch from one to another. Our style is fluid and versatile so you can wear them with any look, and our materials are performance-driven so that you can truly take them anywhere. We believe good design is everything, and we incorporate that into everything that we do.
It’s always been important to you to create products responsibly and “not be jerks to Mother Earth”, which can often be deprioritized in the fashion industry. Can you tell us about some of the initiatives that you’re most excited about and what your journey has been like carving this kind of path in your industry?
Earlier this year we launched our Almost Vintage program so that pre-owned Dagnes could go to new loving homes once their owners were ready to part with them. Our customers have loved this, and it gives people who have been looking for limited-edition styles from past seasons the ability to snag a nearly “vintage” style that they thought they’d never see again, so that has been super cool! In terms of what’s to come, we launched our Eco-Friendlier collection this past year. It includes styles made of organic cotton, and polyester made of recycled water bottles. Everything we’re producing going forward is made out of materials that are better than what we’ve produced as a brand in the past and way better than the status quo for other bag brands. While it’s challenging since the supply chain for eco-friendlier materials is catching up to our demand, as a leader in our space, we’re really proud of what we’re able to develop and accomplish working with these new materials.
As a member of Brands x Better, you have pledged to donate a portion of your proceeds to charity. What inspired you to incorporate a give-back component into your organization and which organizations are you proud to support?
When COVID started, people didn’t need bags at that time – they needed help. So we wanted to leverage our brand and come together with our digitally-native peer brands to raise money with our customers. Together we raised over $4MM! We decided to support the CDC Foundation, Feeding America, and Save the Children, because each of these supported vulnerable groups throughout COVID. We also wanted our customers to feel that they had agency in choosing where their dollars went, as the impact of COVID hit everyone in such a personal and unique way. When a number of social justice issues came to a head last year, we also added the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Stop AAPI Hate, and other organizations that do important and necessary work to promote awareness and equity to our society. Even though the list of organizations that we support got pretty long, these are all important issues top of mind for us and we wanted our customers to be able to choose the cause that their dollars support.
We would love to hear about your favorite Dagne Dover products to gift this holiday season!
We love the Mila Toiletry Bag because it’s the bag + storage item you may have never realized you needed! It can sit on your counter and keep your skincare organized, while also being ready to pack up for travel. The Mara Phone Sling is another pleaser. It is just so slim and light-weight, with all the Dagne conveniences built-in