Ciao! My name is Laura Vogel and I am the founder of Vogelle. While I was living in Milan, Italy during the Spring of 2019, my lifelong dream of owning an international fashion brand became my reality. I lived on the Navigli Canal in Milan next to a motorcycle repair shop and slowly became friends with the Italian men who worked there. They would repair the motorcycle seats with leather and would use the scraps to create some of the most amazing leather jackets I had ever seen. One day, while we were hanging out in our shared back porch area, I asked them where they source their leather from. I had spent months exploring Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Verona and more and in every city I had seen multiple leather goods stores and figured it couldn't be that hard to track down a local manufacturer.
The motorcycle workers next door, who were now my friends, offered to drive me to the atelier where they sourced their leather from. Next thing I knew, we were in the north of Milan and I was following the group down a small staircase into a basement. The staircase opened to a stunning atelier and this young Italian man was blasting music and creating a beautiful fashion collection with leathers and suedes. He pulled out his leather textile book for me to look at and gave me the contact information for his supplier. From this meeting, I was able to arrange a few meetings in Tortona, the fashion district of Milan, with some leather suppliers and manufacturers. I met people who sourced leather from Spain, Tuscany and Turin, but nothing seemed to be a perfect match. They were all able to provide the highest quality leather, but they were not able to assemble the purses. So I would be using multiple manufacturing channels to arrive at my final product which would increase all of my costs and would lower my ability to monitor the quality.
I thanked all of my contacts and came to the conclusion that while this was a great idea, it was likely not feasible at the time. But, one of my contacts came back and said he had one more person for me to meet. He gave me directions and I took the metro from Milan all the way north to the last stop. An older Italian man picked me up at the metro and we drove for another twenty minutes. He spoke minimal English and I spoke minimal Italian but we managed to make small talk about my purse idea and he showed me his clothing line, which was hanging in the backseat. We finally arrived at a small house in Monza and were greeted at the door by a man and his two little dogs. He invited us in and showed me all of his amazing leather creations. He produces for Gucci, Versace, Furla, and Valentino, to name a few. I was absolutely blown away. He handmakes everything in his house and every single piece that he creates is of the highest quality. He sources the leather, threads, metals and stamps and completes the entire production process on his property. I knew that this was meant to be and I was so grateful to him for making time to meet me. He offered to take me on as a client and try a small production run.
I met my manufacturer about five days before I left Milan. I came back to the United States and stayed in touch with him on WhatsApp. Once I was back in Colorado, I began ordering cheap purses on Amazon and Asos that were similar to my design idea. I would draw out my designs with exact measurements and mail them to Milan. The whole design process was a huge learning curve for me, but I am so extremely happy with how the purses turned out!
So far, Vogelle has been such a huge success and the support from friends, family and customers has been mind blowing. I am so proud of the quality of my product and I hope that each and every one of you will be able to feel the quality in your Vogelle.