Pristine Poppies – Natalie Dusome of Poppy & Peonies
Natalie Dusome has revolutionized the handbag, presenting trendy, affordable options for today’s modern woman.
Interview By Michelle Zerillo-Sosa
Natalie Dusome is the owner and founder of Poppy & Peonies, a Canadian handbag line that has exploded in popularity since its launch in 2016. The well-loved collection of handbags has seen unparalleled success for good reason: Dusome has years of experience working in top design positions at retail giants such as Fossil, Aldo, Banana Republic and Abercrombie & Fitch. Her career in fashion has had her travel the world for inspiration on the latest trends in fabrics, designs and tricks of the trade.
For her own brand, Dusome has infused her love of accessories and personal business savvy to create a line of practical, stylish handbags for the modern woman. With a series of purses that can be used in multiple situations — from diaper bags to totes, clutches and satchels — a bag by Poppy & Peonies accommodates the changing needs that come with being a woman in 2018. As a mother of one and regularly on the go, Dusome has incorporated her own experiences into her designs, showing that she truly understands the meaning of functional fashion.
But beyond her design genius and ability to envision products that are both beautiful and pragmatic, Dusome’s career in retail fashion serves as an inspiration to all women. Her entrepreneurial spirit and drive are just one side to the story behind this small-town girl at heart. We recently caught up with Dusome to get a glimpse into her everyday life, style and tips on how to move up in the tough business of fashion.
“When you take failing off the table, it’s incredible how resourceful you become”
What is the best part of your day?
When I pick my daughter up from daycare, and she yells, ‘Mommy’ and does her little happy dance. No matter how challenging of a day I’ve had, it always warms my heart.
Why did you choose to become a bag designer?
I love handbags and accessories. I chose it as my career, because it doesn’t feel like work.
What do you love about Los Angeles?
It has the best of everything — sunshine, beach, palm trees, ocean. It has an outdoorsy vibe balanced with a city life, with the best shopping and most adorable restaurants and cafés.
What does being a woman and a mom mean to you?
It means that I am strong, powerful and beautiful.
How do you stay inspired?
When you love what you do every day, it makes staying motivated easy, because you have a deep, genuine interest and curiosity.
What have you learned as a designer of accessories over the years?
It’s important to understand your business and analyze your sales. The key is to have your driving styles, the ones that pay the bills, and then to have lost leaders — the fun, playful ones that make the collection exciting and build your brand.
What is in your purse right now?
I have a three-year-old daughter, Poppy, so I literally have everything, from lipstick to crayons.
What is the oddest item in there?
The pacifier (suce) of my daughter’s favourite doll, [Baby] Annabell.
Define your style.
Edgy, with a feminine twist.
What is your favourite movie?
I love any movie regarding a heist. The Italian Job and Oceans Eleven come to mind. How do you define beauty? To me, beauty is confidence.
What were some of the challenges you have faced over the years with your brand?
There are so many challenges on a daily basis, from dealing with oversees suppliers, logistics, production schedules, cash-flow management and marketing calendars to building a brand and creating awareness, driving online traffic, social media channels … the list goes on.
What advice would you pass along to young designers?
Love what you do, work hard, don’t give up and you’ll succeed. When you take failing off the table, it’s incredible how resourceful you become. In terms of numbers, our bags are flying off the shelves, and we’re currently looking for a strategic partner/investor. We’ve been able to hit a niche market, offering trendy, affordable bags that are super-functional and can be worn many ways, which is great for the busy everyday woman.
photos courtesy of poppy & peonies