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The Herald Magazine - - 18 -

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

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