I was asked recently to contribute to an article about "Midlife Women Entrepreneurs: How They Became Rock Stars." It has been published on the weekend anniversary 9 years ago when I was in emergency wondering what on earth was going on with me and in excruciating pain. So I've been reflecting on the path that moment lead me on and how in fact 9 years later, Midlife, whilst challenging is amazing and although I don't consider myself any where near a Rock Star, it feels good to look back and see how far KARMME has come.
The humble fold over clutch was what I made myself to carry things like my keys, phone and wallet up to school pick up when I had recovered from neck surgery 9 years ago.
I was about to turn 40 and 3 weeks prior to my milestone birthday I had a titanium disc replace the one on my neck that was very close to pressing on my spinal cord. I'd spent weeks in pain, walking around with my arm like a stop sign as that was the only position that would relieve the awful pain in my neck. I couldn't pick up & carry my kids who were young at the time and I was on a concoction of pain medication that made me feel ridiculously not on the planet.
This was taken at my birthday gathering, scar still fresh on the front of my neck, I can see how tired my eyes were having just weened myself off high dose pain medications.
But, even though this was scary and confronting, it lead me to create a clutch as I didn't want to carry a heavy bag on my shoulder anymore. I realised that even with a shoulder bag I always carried it underneath to relieve pressure on my neck... clearly carrying too much stuff, like so many women, mums especially..
Fast forward 9 years, the clutch has been a constant in the KARMME lineup and I still don't carry a bag with a strap, except when travelling or the odd occasion when I need to be hands free. I do yoga regularly to maintain a healthy spine, although I am very nervous about anything that could cause pain to my neck, a challenge I am working on...
Over the years after much talk to me about designing bags with straps and many years of resisting, I have added to the collections bags with straps. However, they must, in my design decisions, be as beautiful and functional without the strap as with, so people like me, can remove the strap without compromise. Sista is my go to everyday clutch bag and then a strap is added when I need to be hands free. It's not too big so I never carry too much to cause pain again.
I hope you enjoyed reading a little more about the foundations of KARMME and the start of the journey. Also to anyone 'hitting' 40 and wondering what's beyond, there's heaps!! Have a read at some inspiring women here.