Choosing the right changing bag is one of the big decisions of pregnancy. It can be tough to find a tote that strikes a balance between functionality and style – and many mums end up having to compromise one for the other.
But not Keri Jamieson. This smart mum-of-three simply created a range of luxurious bags that combine both needs and the resulting range, KeriKit, will last you long after your child is out of nappies. The KeriKit Joy XL Thor leather backpack even won bronze in the Junior Design Awards 2017.
We caught up with Keri to find out more…
Hello Keri, please tell us about yourself and your family?
I’m a mum, a wife and a business woman. During my career I have worked as a senior accessories buyer and an accessories designer for 20 years, based in both Hong Kong and London, where I met my husband Scott. We thoroughly enjoyed living in London and used to whizz from east to west on our trusty scooters for over six years.
We then had our first child, Jasper who is 5½ and then we had the twins – Charlie and Aryella who are now nearly 4 and we soon discovered that living in a first floor flat just wasn’t going to work. Deciding which baby stayed on the street unattended while we took the other one upstairs was too much of a dilemma!
So, while heavily pregnant with the twins we moved back to the beautiful Cheshire countryside into my mother’s house which I grew up in. We split the house and now we have granny next door which is such a help and also so lovely as she is one of my best friends too!
Tell us about KeriKit and how you came to create your label in 2016.
When I was pregnant I went to a well-known high street retailer to buy a changing bag and was really disappointed with the options. They were either ugly and only concerned with wipe-clean fabrics and practicality, or they were completely overpriced and not fit for purpose as a changing bag.
When I had the twins the story was much the same and I was appalled to find there was only one bag on the market designed for twins. I didn’t want to lose my fashion identity just because I had a baby, so with my experiences as a handbag designer I decided to solve the problem myself and created KeriKit.
With so many changing bags to choose, from what sets KeriKit apart?
KeriKit bags are the only changing bags that are truly multifunctional. On the outside they look like a normal bag but inside functionality reigns! We never cut corners and each design is made using the highest quality hardworking leathers that endure well beyond motherhood.
You don’t want to carry a changing bag after the kids are out of nappies, but a KeriKit changes with you and adapts to who you are and where you are going. They are intelligently designed to be effortlessly practical, whether its for business, baby or travel. They really are a bag for life, because they multitask alongside the modern mother.
Where do you source design inspiration?
I don’t particularly follow what brands are doing. Instead I take a problem and try to find the solution – but with style. My aim is for fashion to fuse with function. Backpacks are so on trend right now, and yet you often have to pick between a practical style or a fashion item.
With our award-winning bestseller Joy, I created a bag that not only looks great, it keeps you organised too. We also have Thea, our genius weekender, which allows you to travel through an airport with your trolley bag in one hand while the other holds your baby. Now that is stress-free travel!
What three things have you discovered about being a mother in business?
Firstly, work-life balance is crucial! When I first launched in 2016 I found myself spending time with the kids but feeling stressed or worried about work – I couldn’t switch off from it and it starting eating into my family life. So now I’m a big advocate of flexible work hours, its so much more productive and better for my wellbeing. I also love working from home, so even if I’m in my office I can hear my children laughing and playing and I’m never more than a shout a way if there are tears! I encourage this ethos with my employees too – we have team yoga meetings 3 days a week and everyone works round their life commitments.
Secondly, business is hard – you have to have a tough skin and come back fighting. I found the first two years really tough as watching other brands succeed really quickly was frustrating. But as we go into year three I have come to realise that it’s okay to be a slow burner, and we are doing well in our own right. I have learnt not to waste time and energy comparing myself to others, its so unhealthy and unproductive.
Lastly, London isn’t everything! When I launched my business I felt that I was missing out because I wasn’t networking with people in London and I was falling to the wayside because I was ‘out of the loop’. But I am so proud to be northern! The north has so much to offer itself and you don’t have to be in London to succeed. I can jump on a train and be there in an hour and forty, but I am so glad I can live in the countryside and have the best of both worlds.