21 Entrepreneurs Series: No.1 Kinsale Leather

We’re off to Greece today – and so I leave you with an exciting new series, interviewing and introducing you to (hopefully) some new brands & entrepreneurs that have inspired me! I hope this series inspires any ventures or dreams you may have up your sleeve! xx

I was immediately taken by Dee’s store when we visited Kinsale, a beautiful harbour town in Ireland. The store minimal – the product speaking for itself! I hope to own one of Dee’s bags in my life time, you’ll see why!

TITLE: Dee Mangan – Owner Kinsale Leather

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.09.48 AM

1. ) How did your business come about? How was this idea born and what lead you to do what you’re doing now? 

Kinsale Leather was established in 2014, I had worked for a large Irish retailer and then directly for a designer for five years and this was always my dream. I started with very simple designs in vibrant colours and this really took off. It all came from my own personal desire to find a paired-back handbag made from nothing but high quality leather. The bags are so simple that almost nothing can go wrong! No studs or buckles can break because there are none. Just the tactile nature of the leather and the bright beautiful colours. I now have my own flagship store in Kinsale and I wholesale to various stores in Ireland, the UK, Europe, Asia and through a sales agent in the US. I just won Irish Accessory Designer of the Year for 2016, so the gamble has paid off so far!

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.23.04 AM

2.) Tell us about your morning routine. Any specific rituals / productivity aspects etc

During my twenties I lived in various places and I knew commuting wasn’t going to be for me longterm, I loved living in London but the idea of a train every morning at 7 just wasn’t for me. Having the shop in Kinsale means I have a fairly peaceful morning routine! My husband gets up first and starts breakfast, I walk the dog first thing with a cup of tea for anything from a half hour to an hour (weather dependent) by the water or in a large Fort we have in Kinsale that is just stunning. Two or three mornings a week I’ll go to the workshop after breakfast which is about 15 mins away. Otherwise, I catch up with what’s going on online after breakfast and myself and my dog Marco make our way to the shop about 10 to start the day.

3.) What inspires you?

>I find Scandinavian design really inspiring. The beauty of the simplicity and the materials, such perfection. I also have a total addiction to Scandinavian film and dramas, they look like they’re all shot with a filter but it’s just how life looks there. I spent a week in New York in November and came back with almost a full notepad full of ideas! I think travel is the most important thing you can do to innovate, on my days off i’ll go to Dublin or London just to walk around.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.24.51 AM

4.) Biggest lesson you’ve learnt?

That having your own business is serious highs and serious lows and very often one comes directly after the other. It’s an absolute rollercoaster but it’s the most rewarding thing you can do… when it works out!

5.) Biggest failure so far?

That has to be when I first opened the shop! Oh dear, we did so many sales forecasts and projections, we had them coming out our eyeballs. We thought by being “realistic” we were doing ourselves a favour. A long story short I sold out in four days and had to close the shop after trading for less than a week! It took a full week to re-stock and after another two weeks we’d ran out of leather… I’ll never forget it, people would come up to me on the street and say “didn’t you just open? why are you closed?” Anyway, a good failure I suppose. And a valuable lesson learnt!

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.26.46 AM

6.) Biggest Success so far?

Definitely winning Irish Accessory Designer of the Year for 2016. I know people always say – I wasn’t expecting to win – I really wasn’t. My mum and husband had asked would they come with me to the awards ceremony and I had said no, no need. When I won all I could think was “I’ve nobody to hug!”

7.) Your work space? Clean & Minimal or Eclectic and colourful – what would we find on your desk? 

I’ve a bit of both. My desk in the shop is super clean and minimalistic, the whole shop is. It’s more like a gallery than a shop, the bags are all hung individually like art so you can examine them (and admire them!) properly. Then the workshop and kitchen table is a mess, leather swatches, cutouts, drawings and articles from ten years ago, everywhere.

8.) Top 3 entrepreneurial tips?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’ve found for the most part, people love to help. If you have a question – before you google it – pick up the phone.

Enthusiasm is infectious, if people can see how enthusiastic you are about your business they’re instantly interested.

Watch Paul Smith, Gentleman Designer! His outlook on success, life and work is worth a watch.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.26.31 AM

9.) Who are you currently listening to?

The New Music Friday playlist on Spotify! I’m on the train to Dublin.

10.) Your best marketing tool?


Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.15.42 AMScreen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.28.30 AM

11.) Dream Big Right? What’s next for you?

I want to expand more, the value of handmade Irish accessories in the US and Asia is sky-high and my designs are flying over there, I want to focus more on this.

For more info:

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s