Margie Azzopardi & Kat Lebon are the founders of handbag brand State of Folly. The Melbourne-based pair took their combined twenty-five years of airline experience (packing a bag for a living), and a desire to create a less disorganised life, to start their burgeoning label.
Designed in Melbourne, State of Folly bags represent the creative world of two friends whose vision integrates a world of travel, a love of fashion and art, with a matched passion for design. They’re inspired by classic shapes, designed with functionality in mind.
SOF bags are designed to transcend seasons, remain timeless and stylish, by stripping back to basic shape fundamentals.
Margie & Kat spent some Q + A time with TGW:
TGW: Do you remember the day you decided to back yourselves with your brand and hand in your notice at work? Tell me about it. SOF: State of Folly began two years ago. We currently still work for an airline, and manage to balance the two quite nicely.
TGW: Did you get any formal design training before starting SOF? SOF: No, we didn’t have any formal training or qualifications, but had a few contacts in the industry to steer us in the right direction. …
TGW: What was the first design you produced for the brand? SOF: The tote was our first design. We were both pregnant at the same time and couldn’t find a nappy bag we liked.
TGW: How did it feel the first time you saw a stranger walking proudly wearing your product? Where were you? M: Sheer Joy. I wanted to go up to the girl and ask her a million questions but I didn’t. That PROUD feeling is experienced everytime we see our bags being worn.
K: I still get excited every time I see someone with our bags and always fight the urge to approach them
TGW: A woman’s handbag/clutch can reveal a lot about her -snakeskin, enormous logos, brass, sequins, pom poms, studs, cheap or exquisite. What do you think your bags tell the world about a person? M: That they have an eye for detail and appreciate simplistic styling and quality materials.
TGW: Lovers of fashion often make purchases based on emotion-driven factors. I saw your circle bag and instantly remembered a canvas printed record bag I had as a child. And, the shape reminds me of a banjo. Obviously I had to get it, which is how we got here in the first place. What was the last emotionally driven purchases you made? M: I just made an emotional purchase. It was a plant! It took me back to my childhood, our very first home. I remember that it was huge and very distinctive. I had to have it when I saw it in the nursery!
TGW: Who/what inspires you to design? SOF: Our designs are inspired by many outlets. Art, interiors, shapes, patterns… and the list goes on. Our main source of inspiration comes from day to day objects, functionality being the main focus.
TGW: What childhood memory do you have, that may have influenced you to become a designer/business woman? M: I always knew I wanted to have my own business from a very early age, I just wasn’t sure what industry I would get into to. My earliest memory was in high school where my friend and I would set up a stall at lunch time and sell clothes we were tired of, to fund the next few purchases. Fashion, I guess, shouldn’t be a surprise.
K: As a child, all I ever wanted to be was a Flight Attendant, and once I accomplished that goal I was hungry for something more. After meeting Margie through work and becoming great friends, we decided to take the plunge and become business partners.
TGW: How many handbags is too many (to own)? M: You can never have enough handbags!
TGW: What is your proudest achievement? M: Putting this idea to market.
K: Having sold out of our first collection.
TGW: Who are your most famous fans? SOF: Our husbands and kids!
TGW: What is your best seller? SOF: The circle bag with single strap sold out last season, and it looks like it will sell out again. It’s definitely a piece that customers have loved.
TGW: What’s next for you?
SOF: An exciting collaboration which will be announced at the end of March, and another later in the year.