Elizabeth Taylor once said “Behind every successful woman is a fabulous handbag.” The handbag IS the ultimate fashion statement, a status symbol that signifies power and beauty, as well as its practical uses. Despite its popularity amongst women the humble handbag is said to have originated in Egypt in the fourteenth century as a man’s accessory. Ancient hieroglyphs show embroidered and jewel adorned pouches carried around the waist. Used to demonstrate status the richer the individual, the more elaborate the bag. The introduction of train travel in the nineteenth century revolutionised the handbag industry. More people were travelling across the country, and the term ‘handbag’ was coined referring to the luggage that travellers carried by hand. Fashion has clearly moved on and handbags today are made of every material imaginable. In 2018 the global handbag market was valued at 47.0 billion USD. Driven by a rising women workforce, along with increased brand awareness, demand for handbags has rapidly increased over the years. Held over their shoulder, under their arm or in their hands both men and women carry handbags, clutches, purses, wallets and totes to store all that .which is important in modern daily life.
I mentioned earlier that the nineteenth century revolutionised travel and the handbag industry. Fast forward to 2013, enter Christin Svard the designer, founder and owner of Travel & Living Collection. Purveyor of a beautiful luxury range of soft leather hand bags, travel bags and accessories styled for the modern traveller. MsMu5tang & Co., first met Christin in 2019 at a collaboration of South West Women for a commercial vintage inspired photo shoot featuring Christin’s stunning bags and we immediately clicked. To travel is to live, and to travel you need the perfect bag. Designed to go anywhere and everywhere the Travel & Living Collection range are hand-made with tender love and care from super soft high-quality durable leather. The Travel & Living Collection range includes products from large weekender and overnight bags to travel purses and wallets. Available in a wide array of colours they feature sturdy straps and clasps with carefully thought out safe, secure and convenient pockets to organise and contain all of the necessary lovely things we carry around with us.
Having had a twenty year background as a Chief Cabin Attendant and designer of gifts to sell on board for a large Norwegian helicopter company, Christin has always had a passion for travel, and to discover new horizons. Christin states “travel brings many challenges, experiencing different cultures and I really like to learn as much as I can when travelling”. After meeting her Australian husband in China, some 15 years ago Christin moved to Bunbury, Western Australia and found herself in need of a job. Motivated by a lack of stylish travel bags with a practical purpose, knowing she had the creative capabilities to design utilizing her skills and Degree in Art & Design; along with an entrepreneurial mindset Christin found her passion. To design and produce safe, sturdy and stylish travelling bags. With her background as a Flight Attendant Christin states “it felt natural to start designing something that was close to my heart and involved travel”. To satisfy this niche market Travel & Living Collection was born.
After extensive researching…. Did you know the average woman carries at least 2.5 kilo in her handbag every day? Go figure! Christin began designing safe but stylish travelling bags that could really hold some weight. Because you know us ladies love to fill our bags with our phones, camera, travel brochures, cosmetic bag, water bottle and god knows what else! Each bag in the Travel & Living Collection is hand-made using super soft durable leathers personally sourced and designed by Christin herself. Made with TLC! Yes tender, love and care (TLC) a carefully chosen business name and acronym referring the motto of her business, is Act with Tender Love and Care, as if what you do, whatever you do, makes a difference, therefore the brand name Travel & Living Collection. A true sensory experience the soft sumptuous leathers have a velvety feel with silky linings printed with Australian and Norwegian watercolour artist’s works. Christin states: “They [the bags] had to be something which had style and that would feel really good and soft to touch too”.
A firm believer in supporting small business and communities, Christin works with small family entities and creative artisans who sew her bag designs. To have a sustainable business she believes you have to learn new things every day. An important part of Christin’s role as founder of Travel & Living Collection is to research different cultures and backgrounds; and to collaborate with a big network of people from several countries. Christin is one hundred percent committed to building great and trusting relationships. Being well-travelled and working in the airline industry has given her an insight into numerous countries and cultures, and she notes: “I believe in sustainability and for the businesses I work with to be in business for many years to come. It’s important to understand the culture you are working in, paying respect when they do things a bit different than home, which for me was Norway and now Australia. Ceremonies are a big part [of life] in several countries and can delay processes in the making of my bags so great relations with your artisans and businesses are crucial.
Travel & Living Collection reflects a love of travel, luxury and adventure. Creation of a stylish, practical and luxury quality brand with styles that complement each other, means all the bags in the Travel & Living Collection have names relating to the travel world such as the Journey Bag, Weekender, Escape, Dash Clutch (named after an airplane Christin worked on), the Resort Bag, Excess Luggage Bag, Fly Away Bag and of course the Frequent Traveller Laptop Bag. Christin has recently developed a new range just for the businessman (or woman) to include satchels and laptop bags.
When MsMustang asked Christin about any challenges she has experienced in business and how she overcame them Christin says: “Designing and creating bags was not without its challenges. I’d stepped into a non consistent world, when I started to design. So different from when I was working in an organised world with business men on flights. Then I could make my customers fasten their seatbelt, sit down and do as they were told. The journey to success has been challenging in between when I have made new designs and the inconsistency in leather being produced and tanned in the time frame I have promised my customers. And also working with a foreign culture. But also enjoyable when I see the designs turn into bags like I want them. Although I must admit being creative and designing can be quite a lonely process. Especially when you fall asleep on the keyboard of your computer and your husband has gone to bed 3 hours ago! But the rewarding moments make up for all that. When my customers love my products and when they want to be part of my continuing journey, then I know it’s all worth it.
Christin believes being a successful entrepreneur all comes down to living your passion, working smart and being dedicated. She believes it is vital to be a good listener, show empathy, and have time for her customers by giving great customer service, and adding that little-unexpected extra whenever you can. Christin believes the secret to great customer service is fostering great relationships with your customers. To treat them as you’d like to be treated. Keeping her bag designs fresh and helping the customer with advice on which handbag is best suited to the customers requirements is Christin’s passion. She also believes in having a great sense of humour and not take yourself too seriously, and it is probably the reason she jokingly suggested I referred to her as the ‘bag lady.
When I asked Christin about what inspiration and/ or motivation she could offer other business women looking to start their own business she suggested one certainly needs to be ready to learn as they go about their business, and it’s important to continually work on your business not only in it. Business is a journey. It’s vital to be determined to make the business work, and in order to do so, you need a great work ethic and be open to taking opportunities as they arise. Christin’s top 5 business tips are:
1. Have strong branding that people can recognise.
2. Be passionate about what you do.
3. Answer your phone straight away.
4. Fix problems, find solutions or deal with returns immediately and have great customer relations.
5. Share your knowledge and help out and collaborate wherever you can.
Travel & Living Collection is available online. Travel & Living Collection (alongside various other artisans) can also be found in a bricks and mortar Pop Up Shop located at 106B Victoria Street, Bunbury Western Australia. The Travel & Living Collection is also available from several stockists in the Western Australia, Norway and New Zealand. Travel & Living Collection also has one supplier in the Eastern states. Christin is also the Western Australian agent for Namaskar creators of beautiful wearable art, scarves and kimonos made from Australian Merino wool and silk. MsMustang’s personal favourite handbags and purses in the Travel & Living Collection.
The ‘Christin’ bag. Named after founder and designer Christin Svard of Travel & Living Collection, this red handbag which also comes in several other colours is stylish, and made from super soft durable leather. Zip it up, fold it over and wear it on your front and it’s perfect for busy streets, or a girl’s day out or night in the City of Bunbury. As a business woman who’s always on the go I love the sumptuous leather. The ‘Christin’ bag is the perfect accompaniment for everyday living that’s practical, stylish and can go anywhere. The external zip pocket fits all your business and travel documents, your tablet/ IPad making it perfect for busy boss babes like MsMu5tang and you! Designed for travel, designed for living – be adventurous today.
If you are ready to take on the world, then the ‘Globetrotter’ bag is for you. It has adventure written over it. Made from durable leather the ‘Globetrotter’ bag will take you anywhere and will never let you down. There’s limited stock of these beauties so you’d better get in quick.
Behind every successful woman is a fabulous handbag. Enter the ‘Excess’ bag. It holds all those extras and does it in style. The perfect accessory for success! If you believe your bag should stand out for quality and be a statement, this is the bag for you. Save up and pay the extra dollars, it is definitely worth it.
The ‘Martinique’ bag. If you are after a stylish bag that is chic enough to stroll the city of Bunbury (or for that matter any city) and also big enough to carry all a gal’s essentials such as IPhone, sunscreen, water bottle, laptop, makeup etc., all with effortless elegance for a weekend trip, then the ‘Martinique’ bag is for you. Reflecting a love of travel, adventure and luxury the ‘Martinique’ bag is made from high-quality luxe genuine leather with sturdy straps and clasps.
The beautiful range of leather bags and wallets that has been inspired by many years of travel throughout the world. Featuring super soft luxurious leathers and custom designs for women with a nomadic heart and spirit for adventure. Whether you are going to a supermarket or the Sahara, a handbag you love is the ultimate travel companion. So how would like to continue the journey, keep exploring and win yourself the ultimate fabulous travel success statement? A Travel & Living Collection ‘Travel’ purse in croc print! Valued at $149.00. This sleek little purse in croc print has a gorgeous little wrist strap and shoulder strap and has plenty of card slots and zip pockets, but most importantly fits a boarding pass! The Travel purse is so versatile you can use the long strap sitting across your body during the day, then take it off during the night and use the wrist strap and the bag becomes a more exclusive night time clutch-bag. Like a two in one bag!
To enter in the draw sign up to both the Travel & Living Collection (bottom left-hand corner of footer on Homepage) and Mr Mustang Hire (centre of footer on Homepage) newsletters to win this gorgeous Travel & Living Collection ‘Travel’ purse. For additional chances to win head over to our Facebook pages and ‘Like’ us! Prize drawn 5pm Monday 14 September, 2020. Winner will be announced on both our Mr Mustang Hire, MsMu5tang & Co and Travel & Living Collection Facebook pages. Terms & Conditions Apply.
In the meantime if you are looking to be that successful woman behind a fabulous Travel & Living handbag - Designed for Travel Designed for Living, jump online or get your fabulous self to their pop up shop at 50 Wellington Street, Bunbury. Or for something completely different and uber cool, let private driver MsMu5tang take you on a personally curated shopping tour, which includes Travel & Living Collection. Because after all who doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy and fabulous handbag! The main streets of Bunbury are filled with fashion boutiques and individual shops each oozing their own style. You’ll find so much to buy, but don’t worry our Mustangs have huge boots for all those purchases! Oh darling let’s be adventurous!
Travel & Living Collection Pop Up Shop 106B Victoria Street, Bunbury Western Australia (Thursday 10am – 4.30pm and Saturday 10am – 2pm)
Phone: 0450 069 25