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Entrepreneurs

MADE: For Retailer, It's In The Bag

By Staff Reports, posted Aug 16, 2019
Photos by Bryan Regan and Holly Aiken (Courtesy of Holly Aiken)

Holly Aiken Bags

7232 Wrightsville Ave., Wilmington


No. of employees: 5

Year founded: 2008

Top local official: Holly Aiken, owner and designer

Company description: Holly Aiken Bags is a designer and manufacturer of handbags and accessories. Bag and accessories are handmade in North Carolina (Wilmington and Raleigh) and sewn using high-performance materials with distinctive trim and hardware. The company also has an online custom bag builder called “You Design. We Build.” Earlier this year, Aiken moved her shop and retail workshop from Raleigh to Wilmington, where she lives now.

Products made locally: Handbags as well as diaper, tote, beach, messenger and wine bags; accessories such as key chains, coasters, luggage tags, eyeglass cases, business card holders and credit card holders
Places of product distribution: Products are sold online through hollyaiken.com and at the company’s Wilmington retail store on Wrightsville Avenue. Pieces are also sold at small boutiques and hotel and airport gift shops throughout the country.

What made the company decide to make its goods locally? Aiken: “Flexibility in design and production, quick turnaround time and having a more hands-on approach to our business helps to maintain the high quality we are known for. Wilmington is just a beautiful place to be. It’s close to family. It’s close to the water. And that is what drew us here.”

What’s your target market? Aiken: “Customers looking for something unique or someone interested in designing their own styles and color combinations. Our bags are made to withstand the daily grind – so anyone busy or on the go, traveling with kids. Our designs are simple, clean and instantly recognizable.”

What do you have planned next? Aiken: “We are expanding our line with new colors, fabrics and styles and adding a men’s line. We are also partnering with [gift shop] DECO in downtown Raleigh (decoraleigh.com) to create an in-store boutique with a full selection of bags and accessories, beginning Labor Day weekend 2019 – hundreds of styles and colors [and] a custom design station.”
 

EDITOR’S NOTE: To be considered for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s MADE feature, contact [email protected]

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