The Interview — Kelly Wynne Ferguson, Founder of Kelly Wynne
Kelly Wynne empowers women to dream, dare and wynne with bold and purposeful designs. We strive to inspire joy and celebration in everyday moments.
Kelly Wynne is a local Austin fashion brand founded in 2012 by designer Kelly Wynne Ferguson. She created and launched her first line of handbags in the spring of 2013 and has been #wynning ever since. Kelly began her professional career in public relations, but her lifelong dream and passion for design stayed at the forefront of her mind. She was searching for unique printed leather handbags with an exotic look and feel that wouldn’t break the bank. Kelly knew she had found a missing niche in the market, but with minimal experience in the industry, she needed encouragement and direction on where to begin. Her career mentor pushed her to vocalize this dream by asking the simplest question. “If you could do anything, anything at all… if money wasn’t an issue, the sky was the limit… what would it be?” Kelly finally blurted out, “I just want to design handbags!” Verbally acknowledging her passion for the first time gave her the momentum to take the next step in turning her vision into a reality.
Kelly Wynne is known for bold, printed leather and unique use of color and texture. Kelly custom designs her signature multi-colored python prints, releasing inspiring new colorways every season. Each collection is produced with limited quantities, giving the customer a sense of exclusivity. Kelly designs obtainable luxury with the customer in mind, providing versatility and functionality while maintaining a chic and classic style for the modern working woman…. making Kelly Wynne #baggoals!
In the fall of 2017, Kelly Wynne launched one of the most recognizable high end clear bags on the market along with the announcement of the new NCAA and NFL clear bag policy. With so many football-loving customers, Kelly was determined to design a clear bag that does not cramp your style! Since then the Clear Mingle Mingle Mini has become one of the best-selling items making it the clear wynner. One year later, Nordstrom selected Kelly Wynne as their premier clear bag line to sell on nordstrom.com.
From the beginning, Kelly Wynne has supported non-profit organizations across the U.S. by donating handbags and one-of-a-kind pieces to silent auctions, but Kelly has always longed to do more. She opened her first retail store in September 2016 and immediately began hosting in-store "Dare to Donate" events, giving her company a more meaningful way to touch our community. Their passion to make a significant impact brings us to the excitement of today as they donate a percentage of the sales of one highlighted Kelly Wynne piece each month to a charitable organization chosen by their team and loyal customers. They are grateful to offer this opportunity and hope you will join them in supporting these esteemed organizations.
Kelly spends much of her time mentoring and speaking to different groups of women, as a passion of hers is to encourage and support others to have the confidence to do what they love, and love what they do! A big factor in Kelly’s success has been from the empowerment she has gained from other “boss ladies” in her life. She truly believes that empowered women empower women which is why Kelly is vulnerable in sharing her failures and successes. Anyone can be a boss lady if you ask Kelly; they may just need a little bit of push. “You don’t have to own a company to be a boss lady, you just have to own your life.”—Kelly Wynne Ferguson.
With continued growth and love for the brand across the nation, Kelly Wynne continues to “wynnespire” women to “Dare to WYNNE” in all aspects of life!
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What inspired you to start your own handbag company:
I have always been passionate about accessories and was searching for unique printed leather handbags with an exotic look and feel that wouldn’t break the bank. I knew I found a missing niche in the market but verbally acknowledging my passion for the first time is what gave me the momentum to take the next step in turning my vision into a reality.
What were some of the biggest challenges you were faced with at the beginning, and how did you overcome these obstacles:
One of the biggest challenges I faced in the beginning was overcoming fear. I adopted the motto “fake it til you make it” and heavily relied on my family and faith. I thought after I overcame the initial fear of starting my business, the fear would go away, but what I’ve realized after 5 years in business is I’m constantly having to “kick fear in the bootay” and push myself to put one foot in front of the other. Every “first” the company experiences is a new adventure and with that comes a whole new level of fear. I’m constantly challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone and make bold decisions even when they are scary or risky as they often are most of the time!
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Walk us through a typical work day:
There is really no such thing as a “typical day” when you own your own company, but that’s what I love most! I cherish the “quiet” days at the office clearing out my email because most of the time I’m traveling, running to meetings, designing, networking… it’s important for me to just roll with the punches because at any moment I may have to stop what I’m doing and put out a fire! Now with a little baby, I will REALLY have to roll with the punches!!
If you could only recommend one product to buy from Kelly Wynne, what would it be:
One of our clear bags, our number one best-selling item!
Your go-to power outfit:
A patterned, structured dress with a cape draped over my shoulders, neck scarf, heels, lip-gloss and a Kelly Wynne handbag, of course.
What would we currently find in your own bag:
A bottle, diaper, laptop, and “boss baby” burp cloth. This is what a mother in business looks like, ladies.
What’s a handbag trend you predict will catch on this year:
Clear bags. This trend started because it was a rule that was first enforced by the NFL and NCAA, and women didn’t have another choice for stadiums, concert venues, etc., but this is now a trend that will erupt even more this year. Women are already choosing to carry their clear bag for any occasion, not just when it is required.
What apps and gadgets can’t you live without:
Instagram and Snapchat. I love being real and vulnerable with my followers on my personal account. I love showing the good, the bad, and the ugly instead of just posting the picture-perfect Instagram filtered moments that most people share.
Share your biggest guilty pleasure:
Iced almond milk latte
What’s next for Kelly Wynne:
We are currently working on launching a TRAVEL LINE! Shhh!