Spring Carnival is just around the corner and if the racewear Facebook groups are anything to go by, the outfit planning is already well underway! But it's not just all about the dress and millinery. I spoke to Karen Bytel, owner and founder of Bag Queen, to find out a little more about a Racing Girl's most valued accessory for Spring (after her racebook and champagne of course!)
*A selection of the Bag Queen Spring Collection. Image: Bag Queen.
Karen, tell us a little about Bag Queen?
Based right here in Melbourne, Bag Queen offers a range of quality, affordable and individually designed leather handbags. They are not mass produced and are exclusive to Bag Queen, so you know you'll be standing out from the crowd. With designs in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours, you'll find exactly what you need in a raceday or everyday handbag. The products can all be purchased online or at various seasonal pop up shops (keep an eye on the Bag Queen Facebook page to stay up to date).
Aside from the fashion element, how else are you involved in the racing industry?
I've been lucky to be able to combine my passion for fashion and handbags with horse racing. I have been an avid racegoer and owner for many years, and a number of my friends are also involved in the industry.
*Bag Queen CEO & Founder Karen Bytel.
All Bag Queen handbags are named after racehorses - what comes first, the bag design or the horse you want to name a bag after?
The bag design comes first. Twice a year l select a Summer and Winter range of bags that l like, to become part of the Bag Queen collection. Sometimes l can just look at a new bag and instantly a racehorse name comes to mind, whether something about the bag is relevant to a particular horse or the colour or shape reminds me of a certain horse. Then other times if nothing immediately comes to mind, l spend my time scrolling through race results to find a name that will match that bag. Other times l just like a name and will name the bag after a horse l like or follow.
What are the upcoming trends for Spring accessories?
Here in Australia, we eventually follow overseas trends. Overseas at the moment, smaller ladylike handbags are very on trend. These type of bags have a small handle on top of the bag, however they also come with a shoulder strap that can be added so you can still be on trend and hands-free at the races. Round bags and brassy gold hardware are also very popular, whilst the hot colours for Spring are Sunshine Yellow and Candy Pinks. However, a lot of my customers still love creams and pastels when it comes to racing fashion.
You also offer Bag Queen parties - tell us more about this service?
Bag Queen understands that ladies like to feel the quality of leather before making a purchase as there are many different grades of leather on the market. Plus as so many of us are too time poor to shop, l offer the opportunity to bring the Bag Queen collection to your home or office. The parties are a great way to catch up with girlfriends and have some fun while also being able to see, touch, and hold the bags before purchasing. The party host will also reap the rewards from sales made and any future parties booked. There's no waiting for delivery, as all bags purchased at the parties are available to take home with you on the day.
Do you have a favourite bag design?
That's a very hard question at the moment as l am loving all the new bags for Spring! However, the standout would have to be the Lanken Rupee. l love the detail, shape and handle of this style and it is available in 4 colours of Cream, Pink, Black and Nude - a perfect match for any Spring Carnival outfit! It is crafted from a beautiful leather and retails at $90.00.
Would you like to win your very own cream Lanken Rupee handbag from Bag Queen? (Pictured below). Then all you have to do is head over to the Racing Girl website and subscribe to the blog before 4pm Sunday 13th August!
*Win this Lankan Rupee handbag in Cream, courtesy of Bag Queen! Just subscribe to the Racing Girl blog to enter! Competition closes 4pm Sunday 13th August. Winner will be notified by email and announced on the Racing Girl Facebook page.