from a small hobby-business-at-home into a much more serious outfit that employs a team of freelancers (she launched the business in late 2017).
Haran also at some point wants to own her own supply chain, which means owning her own factory, but she thinks that would be difficult until after Brexit.
“It’s so close now,” she says, “I haven’t put things on hold but I’m aware that things will change.
“If I want to do something, like start my own factory, you have to understand what’s happening in the market. It’s possible it will be bad for the market, but I have no idea – the best thing for any small business is just get on with what you’re doing.”
For Haran, this means designing new bags. She takes me up to her design studio, which is at the top of a flight of stairs off her hallway, behind a secret door that looks like a bookcase, and shows me sketches of the bag she’s working on next.
It’s still at the early stages but the basic principle is the same: a small bag that can be lifted out of a bigger one, a bag within a bag.
Haran is also still aiming pretty squarely at the same market: the 35-45-year-old woman who needs a bag that is right for before, during and after work, although she is also thinking about ideas for a younger market.
Interestingly, Haran has just done some market research which showed that women on average own 10-15 bags. So how many does Haran own? Apart from the work ones, she says, about 10.
This makes Haran fairly typical, but she’s also typical of a new type of businessperson: the mother who works from home, or starts a business on the dining table or in the garage; many women also have careers made up of many multi-careers – they do a bit of this and a bit of that (this is how many of Haran’s freelancers work).
Of course, Haran also has a business pedigree: she grew up in London and studied business at the University of Sussex before moving to Scotland after meeting her husband and worked in telemarketing and technology.
She has now fully retired from that previous career and is focusing on Sarah Haran handbags. She’s also loving living in this new world that mixes the industrial and the beautiful, sketching ideas on paper, then cutting patterns from thin sheets of leather and producing her signature bags-within-bags.
Haran also believes – because she’s felt it herself – that a good bag can give you confidence and likes being part of that. “I’m doing a little bit to help women in the work environment,” she says.
“They’re more empowered when they go into a meeting. With my bags, everything is organised inside. And that gives you confidence.”
FOOD & DRINK WITH JOANNA BLYTHMAN, SUMAYYA USMANI, Sunday, October 7, 2018 Artist Rachel Maclean on reimagining femininity