If you have ever lost a handbag to game day regulations then go ahead and thank your lucky stars for the woman you are about to meet, Jennifer Ugland. This fanatic fashionista is the creator of our new wardrobe stable for football season, Policy Handbags, otherwise known as the savior of lives when it comes to game day fashion. Pro tip? Check out the fanny pack aka belt bag.
Talk to us about where the idea for Policy Handbags came from! We couldn’t love it more, especially after trying to carry everything we need into Panthers games in our hands and wallets (spoiler alert, that doesn’t work).
As an avid Panthers football fan and fashion lover, the new stadium regulations for handbags left me feeling a bit frustrated. I was shocked to see the amount of handbags I saw in the trashcans on game days and I knew it was my job to find the perfect fashionable handbag for gameday. I searched all my sources and there were no stylish, even remotely fashionable options out there and so, with zero hesitation, I knew I could and would fill that void. My ten plus years in the field of fashion has navigated the process for POLICY handbags; from conception to production. POLICY handbags meet the proper slim stadium size regulations while offering limitless options to every fashion savvy shopper.
THANK YOU for bringing back the fanny pack, we LOVE it – did people think you were a little nuts when you told them you were making it?
I think the term “fanny” pack steers people wrong— I like to call it a belt bag! When I started designing the handbags, the “fanny” idea came to me while hiking with my family in Brevard. My Mom had given me an old school 90’s fanny pack she used during our summer Carowinds days. As we were hiking the trails I realized it was so easy to have my hands free but still have easy access to my phone for photos. LIGHTBULB- I needed a fanny for gameday! Nothing against my mothers fanny back, but I knew it was my job to figure out a way to design a fashion forward “fanny”. I found myself wearing the “belt bag” to the majority of the games this past season. It’s so much easier when cheering to have your hands free and not worry about your bag going anywhere. Theft is pretty much impossible when you have it around your waist!
Talk to us about your creative process working within the boundaries of regulated sizes and materials, we are constantly blown away by how chic and stylish your bags are.
As much as I adore runway, I’m also a devoted Panthers football fan so, I used inspiration from my favorite trends in styling the bags while keeping the size restrictions in mind. I knew exactly what I needed for my game day bag, there’s room for my I-phone 7, lip gloss, and card holder slots, plus they all feature a zipper closure for security. With POLICY handbags, you get all the necessities packed neatly in a trendy bag with a secure closure. I am very critical on every detail when designing the handbags and sometimes it takes weeks to perfect a sample. I chose the fabric (all animal friendly leather), hardware, lining, logo, etc. Only about 50% of the handbags I design end up going into production, but that’s part of the learning process. I have never worked on the design side of the fashion business and it has been so fun diving into something new!
We know that you are also the owner of The Pink Hanger. How do you manage your time between running an established business and growing Policy?
Honestly, it makes for a very busy day- I’m a coffee addict- but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Working alongside my dream team at The Pink Hanger with our amazing clientele inspires new ideas in me all the time. I used a lot of their feedback in perfecting the details of my first styles and I have a wonderful platform for launching my collection. Everyone’s been tremendously supportive and they’re as excited as I am to make this dream come true. However, I am still working on my time management and hoping to one day have a social life again 🙂 In the end, I know it will all be worth it!
You’re a unicorn, a Charlotte native still living here, just like two of us (Lauren & Amanda). How does creating in the city you grew up in influence your work?
YES! We are very hard to find! I am a native, therefore, I am very nostalgic and attached to my city. I will always support local small businesses and the people who made this city what it is today. Working in the fashion industry here for the past 9 years, I have seen an incredible change and growth in the fashion community. Growing up, I always felt I had a unique style and people constantly told me I belonged in NYC. However, back in the day, an exciting day of shopping here was to UPTONS over by Eastland mall. (ha) Today, the growth in Charlotte has opened many doors to the fashion world and has become a melting pot of different styles and fashion. It’s very inspiring to be apart of a booming fashion community and rewarding that my style has been well received. Charlotte has always been my home and I know this is where I belong.
What are three pieces of advice you think that every female entrepreneur should hear?
Success doesn’t happen over night.
Prepare to make sacrifices- socially and financially.
Be proactive and prepare to take yourself out of your “comfort” zone.
Do you have role models or mentors? Who are they and why do you look up to them?
Great Question. I surround myself with role models and mentors. However, I do have a few in particular who have been an inspiration to be me for a long time.
Whitney Avishar, is the original owner of the Pink Hanger and we have been working together since 2008. She is a super mom and has the ability to keep a smile on her face at all times while looking flawless without an ounce of make up, literally. She has given me the confidence and encouragement to become a successful business owner. She continues to stick with me and my crazy ideas but most importantly she listens to me. She is family to me and I hope that one day I can be a successful mama bear just like her.
Theresa Todd, another owner of TPH, but also my role model, mentor, big sister, therapist… the list continues. She moved to CLT with her now husband and connections brought her to becoming an owner of TPH! We worked side by side together for about 4 years until she moved to ATL. When she left CLT, I realized what an impact she had on my life. I always admired her confidence and ability to make things happen— she has an northern attitude with a southern heart. I know that she will always have my back and support my spontaneous ideas. She is the ultimate “girl boss” and advises me in the right direction. She worked for a wholesale handbag company back in NYC and I think I am following in her footsteps… only backwards 🙂 I look up to her more than she probably knows.
If you had to pick: coffee or tea? Where is your favorite place around town to get it?
Coffee. All day, everyday. I wish I could say I have the time to go to local coffee shops and enjoy a latte (if I did, I’d be at Sunflour bakery on 7th Street), but I’m on the Starbucks mobile app every day ordering my coffee to go!
What bag do you carry on gameday?
My friends and I tested all of the handbags through security this past season, and I will say that I found myself wearing the “belt bag” to the majority of the games. However, I think it all depends on my game day attire—- It has to go with my outfit, right?
What word encompasses your twenty-something decade?