A very nice thing about blogging is being offered products to review. The hard part is deciding whether to say yes or not, but when Claire Povey asked if I’d like to try one of her hand-made beach bags, one click through to her website was enough to convince me to send back a resounding “Yes please!”
Claire, who lives in Villierstown, Co. Waterford with her husband Richard, and their children Poppy and Will, began selling gifts for the home at local markets when her children started school. She had always loved sewing, and quickly saw the potential for handmade bags.
She developed a range of everyday bags in three styles, which today are still key to her product line – the everyday small, tall and grand.
With more markets, fairs and events under her belt, Claire wanted to grow the business further, particularly online. So in January 2013, Claire, along with her marketing consultant husband, created a new brand – povey – and started work on a new website with online buying, which launched in October 2013.
I asked Claire about the challenges she faces, juggling life as business owner and parent.
“Because I work from home, I make a conscious effort not to let the business side consume family life – it can take over! If I let that happen, then I wouldn’t be giving quality time to my family,” says Claire. “What is really nice though, is that I do involve my children with povey bags – I talk to them about new products, what colours they like. And they love seeing people walking around town with one of my bags. I regularly get ‘Mummy – there’s a bag you made!'”
Claire is also in the happy position of not needing childcare. “What’s lovely is that I look after them, and when my children reached school-going age, I had more time to make bags.”
This presumably diminishes any working mother guilt? “I’m in a really fortunate position that most of my time with povey bags is when the children are at school,” she says. “And when they return, I can concentrate on them again. It’s hard work and difficult sometimes balancing things, but long may it continue!”
So what are the bags like? Well, mine is utterly fabulous. It arrived here on a very sunny morning last week, and got its first outing that afternoon, down in Dun Laoghaire. It’s a beach-bag, but since we don’t have a beach in Dun Laoghaire (yet!) I used is as a normal handbag, with some sun-creams, cardigans, and umbrellas thrown in (because, you know, Irish weather.)
It’s a great size, and it zips closed – my existing beach bag does not have a zip, which means everything is covered in sand by the time I’ve wrestled sun-cream onto the kids and doled out the first round of snacks. My new povey bag will also double up as a handbag for flights later this summer, and it’s very practical for anyone hanging out with small kids, as it’s made from wipe-clean oil-cloth.
The design is gorgeous – it’s spotty, and we are big fans of all things spotty in our house.
My povey beach bag is kind of like a grown up Cath Kidston, and having looked on the website, I suspect I may need to buy one or two of these lovely bags in the future:
povey has stockists in Co. Waterford and Co. Cork in seven locations, and all products can be purchased online at www.povey.ie. What’s particularly nice is that there’s free postage and packing in Ireland, UK and Europe.
The growing product line includes:
- Everyday bags in four designs: compact, tall, grand and extra
- Handbags in three designs: town, city and metro
- Messenger bags in two designs: classic and courier
- Beach bags in two designs: harbour and bay
- Accessories: wallet, coin purse and gadget holders
- Additions range: one-off items
All products are designed and handmade by Claire in Co. Waterford. The main material is also sourced in Ireland – good-quality 100% cotton PVC oilcloth offering a durable material.
So having become the delighted owner of a povey beach-bag, all I need now is the weather…
I was sent a beach-bag for the purposes of this review but all opinions are my own!