and we are talking about a GORGEOUS epiphanie camera bag! Ours arrived just a few weeks ago and they are even better than we had imagined. Maile Wilson, the photographer/designer behind these awesome new camera bags generously sent us our choice of her range to review… Rachel went for the Lola, a bright red funky shoulder bag. Peta opted for the brown tote, Ginger. The best part of this, Maile sent an additional one (a Lola just like Rachel’s new bag) for us to give away to one lucky reader! They both look nothing like any camera bag we have seen! (In a really good way)
First, lets talk camera bags!
Maile has set the style bar high from the very moment you open the box. The bags arrive in their own branded protective case (wrapped in plastic for the ride) in a color that matches the interior of the bag. It was a little worrying at this point that the bags might be just nice looking and not strong camera bags, but one zip later when the actual bags were revealed, there was no doubt of their strength and beauty.
The red bag is quite tall. It fits Rachel’s D3 with a lens (currently the 50mm f/1.4G, but has also been successfully tried with bigger lenses and there were no issues) and an additional lens, wallet, small makeup bag and iPod. All safe and easy to find in the soft lavender interior. There is also a zipped pocket that is the perfect size for some extra CF cards and the White Balance cap. Rachel tucks her keys in one exterior pocket and her BlackBerry in the other.
Peta has less stuff to cart around than Rachel, so the Ginger bag is MORE than enough bag for her Canon 5D with the 24-70mm f/2.8L lens attached, wallet, makeup bag, iPod and more. This bag has more spots to store things than most carry-on bags, yet it looks almost smaller than Rachel’s red one. This is a bag for someone who loves to divide and organize with 4 exterior zipped pockets and one on the inside. It is a lovely chocolatey brown with a bright robin’s egg blue interior.
Both bags come with long, padded, detachable shoulder straps in case you want to wear it slung over the body. They are made of a rich feeling and looking faux leather and are so well constructed. Both come with removable velcro dividers so that the interior can be set up to fit the gear you carry. No detail has been left out with the choice of hardware and even the silver camera bag tag. I think the thing that struck both Rachel and Peta is the fact that even though the bags are packed with the camera, extra lens and personal stuff…they somehow feel lighter than carrying the camera alone. Not sure if it is the slight elasticity that the handles seem to have that allows for this, but it is great and was the surprise bonus of this bag. Great looking and super comfortable to carry. These are impressive camera bags and it shows that these are the product of a long and careful design process. We asked Maile a few questions just to give our readers a bit of back story.
Give us your story in an elevator pitch…the quick and dirty…was there an “a-ha” moment or did this come about in a more fluid way? When did the idea came about and then how long it took for you to get the bags designed and produced? Any major things you learned in the process that made these even better than you imagined they could be?
The idea for a camera-handbag came about when I realized I had so few decent pictures of my own life. As a professional photographer, that felt like a sacrilege. And I knew it was for the simple (albeit lazy) reason that I hated carrying a camera bag. Even though I’m pretty hard on my equipment, it always felt like a gamble to be wrapping up such expensive gear in a hand towel, and then shoving it into my purse.
When I realized there were no camera bags on the market that could truly pass as a hot handbag, I set out to create one. It took a little over two years, and if I’m honest, the process was grueling. I could go on forever with stories about the many times it all seemed impossible. But I really believed in what I was doing. I knew I was creating a product that women photographers needed. So when I got to the road blocks (after a few tantrums), I just moved as much as I could in that moment. Because even an inch gets you that much closer to your goal. And after a while, the inches add up.
How did you name the bags?
I named them because the whole idea of creating stylish camera handbags seemed like an “aha” moment (an epiphany). I had never seen it done before, but the idea in itself is relatively simple. I used the French spelling, mainly because I just thought it looked better in the logo, and wasn’t so literal.
I also really like the concept of “epiphanie” because it plays out in so many ways. It’s my goal to build this business on more than camera bags. But to also have it be a catalyst for people to find inspiration, as well as their own “epiphanies”.
How did you decide on the colors?
I’ve gotten this question a lot. Basically, I love color and I just selected what I would personally use. I don’t think there’s a color in the spectrum which can’t be paired with either turquoise or red. Then again, that’s me.
And we’ve been pretty overwhelmed with requests for a little black Lola. So, of course we’re listening, and she will make her debut sometime around the end of summer.
Will the new styles replace the old ones or will they be in addition to these 3?
The original styles will stay around/expanded on with different colors as long as they’re selling consistently.
Where is the farthest these bags have traveled? That you know of.
Hmm.. Singapore? Australia ? I’m not sure. But it’s definitely been a dream come true to watch them fly out the door, and all over the world.
When will the new styles be coming out, and how many new styles are there?
We are hoping for the end of summer/ beginning of fall. I’m not sure about details right now because we’re still going back and forth with the sample process and a lot can change. But we’re always eager to hear ideas and (constructive) feedback. We read every single suggestion that is sent in, and we’re working really hard to make more products that are as functional as they are fashionable.
What do you want people to know about these bags and yourself?
That’s hard. I guess I’d want people to know that they are labor of love, and a testament that one foot in front of the other can eventually make magical things happen. I’d also want our customers to know that we’re truly grateful for them.
Next post on Beyond Snapshots… Instructions on how to win your own Red Lola Epiphanie Camera Bag here!