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  • A conversation with Brigitte MacGowan and Desley Maidment

    

    How did the concept for State of Escape come about?

    BM: With a chance conversation. Dee and I always loved to talk business and travel and when the opportunity came about to combine the two we jumped at it.
    I say ‘jumped’ loosely as it was twelve months of designing, sampling and research. If we were going to do this we were going to do it properly with a unique product we were passionate about. When I felt those excited butterflies in my stomach on completion of the prototype I knew we were onto something.
     

    Can you share what it’s been like to work alongside each other, as friends and also co-owners of a company?

    BM: Despite all the warnings from outsiders at the beginning we’ve been incredibly fortunate. I couldn’t have done this without her and I’m sure she would say the same about me! We have complimentary skills and are very respectful of each other - we listen and acknowledge each others opinions, love to laugh at ourselves and all the crazy things that happen in this business everyday. Each others happiness and our friendship will always come above all else.
     DM: Brig is an incredibly inspiring individual to work alongside. Her innate sense of style and creativity has opened me up to a whole new way of approaching our business. We are both very determined individuals who work hard and have an immense amount of respect for each other, and the roles we each play within the business. In saying all this, we still make sure we have a great time and enjoy the successes along the way and never take ourselves too seriously. Our friendship has grown over the past 5 years and our families are very connected – they mean the world to us.
     

    What does a typical day in the SOE offices look like?

    BM: Rounds of tea, coffee, toast and a few laughs to start the day! As a team we spend the morning catching up on what’s happened overnight and then we are heads down for the rest of the day. There’s no time to waste. I love to immerse myself creatively at home as often as I can – these days are sacred.
    DM: For me it is about morning catch ups with everyone from wholesale to production to design and then reviewing communications overnight from all our international partners. I spend a lot of time reviewing strategies for our ever-growing international wholesale division, and analysis of our expanding Ecomm platform.
     

    As businesswomen and mothers, how do you balance work and family life?

    BM: I never feel I have the balance right. Balance for my kids would be no work! Having said that the girls are so proud of what Dee and I have created and love to see what we call ‘bags in the wild’.
    Having your own business you never fully switch off but I’m getting better at compartmentalizing my time. I used to sneak off and try to work without anyone noticing which of course never worked.
    DM: I honestly don’t feel like there is ever a real balance, it goes in waves of having more time set aside for the business (i.e. during big projects, travel overseas to meet partners, new product launches) and then coming home and making it up to my kids by allocating more time to be present and involved. My husband also makes it all possible by working with me to keep it all on track – we don’t always get it right, but the kids happily let us know when we drop the ball and forget something – a lunch order, rsvping to a party or just not paying them enough attention. Equally my daughters love that Brig & I get run our own business and think its awesome we can travel as part of our jobs.

    What is your #1 travel destination? What would you pack and why?

    BM: Kyoto, Japan. It’s all about design, tradition, the amazing food and lots of walking! I’d recommend packing a wardrobe that is super comfortable yet stylish. Oversized dresses, wide leg pants, linen shirts and sneakers. You’ll never feel out of place walking into a temple or a beautiful restaurant.

    DM: California – anywhere on the coast – Malibu, Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterey and everywhere in between. I love the freedom of the open road and the beautiful coastline. All that open water on one side and then the gorgeous towns, forests and wine country on the other. Fresh air, sunshine and endless ocean views – fantastic memories from my younger days, with the hope to make new ones soon with my husband and kids.

     

    What are your methods for de-stressing? Do you workout? Take a digital detox?

    BM: I love to run but horse riding is my sanctuary. I gave up 3 years ago when everything became frantic at work and I’ve just taken it up again. It made me realise how much I’d missed it.

    DM: For me its about having time by myself to slow down - long walks with the dog, being out and about near water (hence why we live near the beach), it always drops it down a level and makes me feel calm. I have also just started getting into mediation in the past 6 months and I love it – I was super skeptical but now very impressed and reaping the rewards.

    When creating a new product, what is your starting point? Where do you seek inspiration? 

    BM: The collection has very much been driven by us and how our lives have transitioned over the years. From our children gaining their independence to our extensive travel schedule, where we find our greatest inspiration. We’ve now created a collection of bags that gives our customers the flexibility to tailor what they carry and for any occasion. It’s all about finding beauty in utility, for all of us.

    Do you have a style or aesthetic that applies to not only your beautiful range, but also to the way you dress or design your living space?

    BM: Simplicity, shape and proportion is always key to the way I dress and design the collection. Nothing overly embellished or complicated. Everything has to serve a purpose. This rule goes out the window with my own home where I love to surround myself with objects that tell a story – this makes my house a home.

    DM: Pared back and simplistic. I love to dress up, but the reality is most of my days are spent in the office and then driving my daughters from one activity to another, so its about being practical and comfortable, whilst looking respectable. Denim is my go to a lot of the time. My home is about clean fresh open spaces that link the inside with our outside.

     

    Thank you so much Brig and Des!!!  xx 

     

    Shop the exclusive STATE OF ESCAPE X OLYMPIA tote HERE

     

     

    To learn more about STATE OF ESCAPE, click here:  www.stateofescape.com

     

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