The bags from BET Barcelona come straight out of a fairytale. Delicate, original, full of color and fantasy, these pieces express the esthetic dreamlike ideas of their creators. The leather becomes a canvas and that’s where the magic starts with these carefully handcrafted designs, brimming with creativity.
In their own words: “BET Barcelona tells stories, creates characters and is defining an identifiable esthetic language.”
The young designers, Mariona, Sara and Mónika, met at ESDi, the Escola Superior de Disenny in Barcelona, where they studied fashion, electronic art and digital design.
After working in different creative fields, they decided to join forces and create a pilot project, “Daphne”, in 2013. In April 2014, they launched “Ophelia”, “Hadal” in the beginning of Spring 2015 and currently they’re working on opening a point of sale in Tokyo.
We had the pleasure of interviewing the creators behind BET Barcelona and from So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins, we hope their magical project is a success.
SO CATCHY!: How has it gone up until now?, is it difficult to be an entrepreneur?
BET BARCELONA: Generally, it’s not easy to be an entrepreneur in a country like Spain. The support and financing structures from the government barely exist. All the management and costs of a business project have to be paid by the entrepreneur.
Up to now, though, we are very happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish. We’ve managed the creative and the business side of our project and created an identity for out brand as we went along. In the end, we’ve got our product in different points of sale around the world through hard work and with a limited budget.
SC!: How would you define your creations?
BB: Our pieces are unique, high quality and handmade designs. BET Barcelona’s creations are filled with magic; we want to surprise our customers with exclusive pieces that reflect their own language, one filled with equal parts romanticism and fantasy.
SC!: Where do you sell?, online or in your workshop?
BB: Our potential clients are international. We sell online to people abroad and we’ve got quite good at finding new customers through contacts we make at specialized trade fairs. In our workshop, we also receive clients who contact us directly and recently we inaugurated a Pop-up Store in the Born neighborhood in Barcelona, in Banys Vells nº3. We decided that we needed to have a physical point of sale in our hometown.
SC!: Where do the majority of your online clients come from?
BB: For the moment from the United States, and our customers are mostly Asiatic.
SC!: As of now, has BET been enough of a success to provide you with a living?
BB: Right now we aren’t making a living off of only this. The investment that is required to produce and manage our product is quite large. But, we know that in the near future, we’ll be able to live off of our work. It’s a question of finding new customers and growing little by little.
SC!: Where do you produce the bags that you design?
BB: In our workshop we design the different models of bags and produce the first prototypes. Later we move on to the production side. We produce a more technical prototype and, once we’re happy with the result, we start up the production in a workshop in Barcelona that has a lot of experience and history in the leather industry.
SC!: Where do you buy the leather for the bags, and what types do you use?
BB: We work with leather suppliers from Igualada, a town in Catalonia. We’re very specific about each step in the process and leather is the primary resource for our products. So, from the beginning, we knew where to look for it. Igualada is a city that is renowned in the leather industry. We work mostly with cowhide that is finished with vegetable tanning.
SC!: You say your product is environmentally friendly. Do you think that the world of fashion is slowly changing? Do you believe that people are becoming more aware of the world of slow-fashion and handmade products?
BB: To be clear, we believe that our process is both ethical and responsible. We believe in decent jobs for producers and local providers, where everyone who is implicated feels that their work is recognized and valued ethically. We want to fight against the production and standardization dynamics of the fashion industry, which values fast and cheap production with cheap, slave-like labor. Our product is though out and carefully put together. We believe in doing things well and we want the public to become aware of all these things.
SC!: What kinds of people buy your pieces?
BB: Our customers are looking for something different. They look outside of the box to find pieces that are more creative. We know that they value the quality of our product but above all, the dreamlike and versatile esthetic.
SC!: How can you innovate using traditional methods? What innovations have you brought to your bags?
BB: By doing a lot of research into each of the processes and by getting your hands dirty. We love our work and we want to be a part of the process, from the beginning to the end. BET Barcelona stands for “Barcelona Experimentación Textil” (Barcelona Textile Experimentation) and the experimentation part is the key to our brand. It has led us to discover many things, from the inspiration behind each of the collections to the search for new materials and techniques to work with. It’s an extensive and complete cycle from beginning to end.
SC!: We can see that you work with the French blogger, Georgiana Boboc. Do you think that young brands need to get their names out there through fashion bloggers? Did you reach more people that way and could you see it in your sales?
BB: We had the great pleasure of meeting Georgiana Boboc in Paris and she’s a true admirer of our brand. We love her esthetic and her take on fashion and that’s why we’re working with her. With Georgiana we can exchange opinions and it has been wonderful to know her point of view.
We know that in the world of fashion it’s important to work with the bloggers because they get your name out to the public more quickly. However, we also know that our brand has a specific language, at least we hope it does, and you have to look for people who are in the same vein and who represent the values of the brand.
SC!: A perfect bag is…
BB: That which makes you feel something special. For us, our bags are tiny bearers of art and creativity.
SC!: Your next challenge is…
BB: More and more people get to know our brand and feel a connection with it.
SC!: What are you up to now? Do you have any projects on the table?
BB: Right now, we’re working on getting our product into a specialized store in Tokyo. We’re very excited about it because it’s been our dream market since before we started the project. We’re fascinated by Japan and its culture and we hope that BET Barcelona will be well received.
SC!: Who would you especially like to carry a BET Barcelona bag?
BB: Any woman who likes to dream. If we had to choose someone famous, then, Tilda Swinton.
All images courtesy of BET Barcelona
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla