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Fashionpreneurs: Former Kenneth Cole Design Director Launches Coveted Handbag Brand

Learn how Jacki Easlick turned a personal tragedy and job loss into a major career gain and why you should learn the basics on how to market and...

As a former Design Director for Kenneth Cole Productions, Jacki Easlick was no stranger to designing for respected brands.

Her creative leadership, coupled with a background in Art Direction, had positioned her to work with some of the world’s top brands including Vera Bradley, Stella McCartney, Elizabeth Arden, Target, Nike and pop culture icons such as Hello Kitty, Hannah Montana and Hilary Duff.

But suddenly Easlick’s career path took a sharp and unexpected turn.

“Because of my rigorous schedule I ended up in intensive care when I got back to the states (from traveling abroad on business),” said Easlick. And after a near fatal diagnosis, while in recovery, Easlick was fired — losing both medical insurance and income. “I was too sick to take another job so I started to sketch and those sketches became my Jacki Easlick handbag collection.”

Despite the personal health issues she faced, Easlick was determined to turn her situation around and design a business centered around her passion.

And since the company’s launch in 2010, Jacki Easlick’s handbags have been featured in Vogue UK, Oprah, Us Magazine, Handbago, numerous fashion blogs and nation-wide campaigns for Target.

Learn how Jacki turned a personal tragedy and job loss into a major career gain and why you should learn the basics on how to market and sell your brand.

Company: Jacki Easlick LLC
Founder: Jacki Easlick
Location: New York, NY
Industry: Retail
Startup Year: 2010
Startup Costs: $25,000

How I Got Started:

I was working as a Design Director for a top fashion company and I managed their Manhattan Design studio as well as four different product collections. I was traveled extensively to China, Taiwan and Japan. During my last trip, I visited various factories for approximately three weeks working 14 hour days.

Because of my rigorous schedule I ended up in intensive care when I got back to the states given I had experienced a (near fatal) bleeding ulcer which required four blood transfusions. While I was recovering with metal clamps in my stomach holding a main artery closed, I was fired and I lost my medical insurance as well as my income.

I was too sick to take another job so I started to sketch and those sketches became my Jacki Easlick handbag collection, now manufactured in Manhattan (New York, NY).

 

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