Business Profile – Area designer has a good handle on style, wellness

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Alexandria can lay claim on a hot new fashion accessory the Bailey Bag. Designed by local 20- something Lauren Bailey, the new It Bag is trendy, stylish, has a celebrity following, but most importantly, its good for you, too.

Lauren Bailey grew up in Delaware and moved to Alexandria a few years ago after graduating from Virginia Tech. She learned all about sewing and fabrics from her mother and grandmother. As a teenager, she had already designed her first cloth handbag from leftover fabric she found in the familys sewing room. While in school in Blacksburg, she sold her handbags to other coeds and by the time she graduated, her bags were in some 15 campus boutiques.

In Alexandria, she decided to launch her first handbag collection, but this time instead of using cloth, she would use leather to give her bags a more sophisticated look. She knew she had a great collection in mind, but she needed a differentiating factor from the bags of luxury retailers like Coach and Louis Vuitton. I wanted the bags to be timeless and a good investment, the kind of bag you could put with a classic dress and have forever, she said.

She secured a loan from Jack Parker at the Alexandria Small Business Office and hired a New York consultant. The consultant helped her find the thing that would set her bags apart electromagnetic discs. Each Bailey Bag includes at least two naturally occurring, rare earth neodymium discs. These magnets are helpful in reversing the negative effects caused by electromagnetic radiation that we carry around with us everyday, via technology such as cell phones and laptops, said Bailey. In addition to the bonus feature of the discs, the bags are also super lightweight because of the soft lambskin, so the bag does not cause stress to the shoulder or arm of the client.

Name that bag
Today the Bailey Bag is available online at baileybag.com and in select boutiques like Hysteria on South Fairfax Street.

The four styles in the collection are named after the people instrumental in Baileys young career the most popular Parker Tote gets its moniker from Alexandrias Jack Parker, the person who gave the business its first loan. The tote is very deep and roomy, perfect for the student with lots of books or the mom on the go with lots of gear to carry around. The tote has healing and adjustable shoulder straps. The tres chic Kris Clutch is a small evening bag that could complement a cocktail dress or a night on the town ensemble. Kris is Baileys mother. The Miles Hobo is the edgiest of the styles named after Baileys best friend Molly, and the James Satchel is a classic weekend getaway style named after Baileys father. Clients can also have bags customed made based on their needs and tastes.

In case the gentlemen are feeling left out, the bags can also be unisex. Actor Reese Witherspoons ex, Ryan Phillipe, has been seen carrying the Parker Tote around New York. Other celebrity fans include All My Childrens Melissa Claire Egan and Tessa Thompson from Veronica Mars.

The Bailey Bag craze is making its way to the fashion blog world. Bloggers on Daily Candy, Clothes Pin, and This Next, have been burning up the blogosphere with fashion lust over Baileys soft colors, supple leather, and revolutionary magnets. 

Bailey has been written up in DC Style and Washington Life as an up and coming local designer. In October, the Bailey Bag will be featured in Wellness Magazine. As part of the feature and in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Bailey will donate 20 percent of the proceeds of the sale of the pink Kris Clutch to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Whats next for Bailey? She just finished her first wedding party collection and is working on a big launch for her spring 2008 line. However, she takes her success and business in stride saying, This is what I do, not who I am. For this entrepreneur, style and a balanced sense of perspective go hand in hand.
Alexandria Times readers offered 20 percent discount on Bailey Bag collection through September 1. Please reference this article at http://www.baileybag.com/.

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