Lenka Gourdie is the CEO & Co-Founder of BagServant.co.uk, the only search engine devoted to handbags.
With a strong background in marketing and business and a genuine passion for bags, Lenka has been working alongside her husband by truly connecting with shoppers.
BagServant.co.uk includes a free concierge service, a personalized search feature, and the incredible option of working out your bag personality! For 2013, Lenka has made it a goal to continue promoting emerging designers and new brands on her website.
Name: Lenka Gourdie
Position/Company: CEO, BagServant
University: London Metropolitan University
Major: MA in Marketing
Coffee or Tea? Green Tea
Favorite handbag designer?
It is difficult to pick one favourite when you are surrounded by all these amazing bags on a daily basis. I used to love Mulberry and Fendi but these days I like to pick the best bags from other brands. I love Folli Follie but also new emerging designers like Mel Boteri, Jane Goodchild and Anya Sushko.
What inspired you to start BagServant?
I always wanted to run my own business and searched for the right idea. I believe when you look for the right idea, you know when you found it.
BagServant was born by combining 2 passions – technology and a love for handbags. I have always loved fashion and my disposable income has always allowed me to spend lots of money on new clothes, shoes and handbags. However, my real passion for handbags was born when I married my husband and he bribed me to take a helicopter trip together on our honeymoon in Hawaii. When he asked me what he needed to do in order to get me on-board, the first thing that came to my mind was a Fendi handbag! Since then, at every special occasion, I have treated myself to a new handbag. Years later, when I read articles about bloggers and fashion, Allan, my business partner presented me with the concept of a search engine and the idea was born.
Do you remember your first bag?
It was years ago but I do remember my first designer bag, it was the Fendi handbag that I got from my husband after our helicopter trip.
Describe your dream bag:
Hermes Birkin – simple, classic and elegant.
What are the qualities you look for when purchasing a bag?
High quality material, size, colour and shape. However, I am a very impulsive buyer when it comes to handbags – if I love the bag, all the previous criteria become invalid and I just go on and buy it.
What do you think is the first step in starting your own business?
Have a passion for something, turn the passion into a business and believe in yourself.
Technology changes really fast, as do trends in fashion. How do you stay forward thinking?
Keep up with the market trends, do a lot of reading, attend seminars and webinars and watch what others are doing and do it better.
How has your experience in marketing and business development helped you get to where you are today?
I used to work in recruitment for over 3 years. It helped me to market and sell myself at interviews. I use these skills at BagServant.co.uk all the time. It is not just about selling the bags on the website but also our concept to sponsors, partners and now potential investors. Without sales and marketing there is no business, just a hobby.
What do you feel separates BagServant from online competitors?
We try to keep up with the latest trends and listen to our shoppers in order to figure out what they need and want. We still have lots of plans on how to revolutionise the on-line handbag shopping.
What made you want to feature emerging designers alongside the already established ones?
I think it is more exciting – we can be a part of something new and help them build their brand awareness at the same time. We have a strong plan for 2013 when it comes to working more with new designers and smaller brands.
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
Know your ideal (ultimate) job, go for it but be prepared to adjust your direction on the way.
What has been your experience working alongside your husband?
Interesting! He is the one who stops me from buying more handbags!
What is the most interesting part of your job?
Working with brands and new designers.
Can you tell us about the thought process behind the site’s organization?
We want to offer women as many different ways as possible to find the perfect bag. It’s a tricky balance between offering too many choices and guiding people to their favourite item that will also match their personality and lifestyle.
What do you personally collect? Let us guess…bags?
Yes, I have a few but not yet as many as I should have.
What is your best piece of advice to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do your research, talk to customers and spend a few days developing the business idea, create a pitch deck and go and pitch it to different outlets and events. The feedback you get from the public, customers and potential investors is vital!