Designer reaches for skies with new range of leather bags and wallets – Dilrose

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Designer reaches for skies with new range of leather bags and wallets inspired by Lincolnshire's iconic aircraft

The Red Arrows never fail to impress when they paint the dullest of skies in vibrant red, white and blue as their air aces perform daring aerobatics.

But who'd have thought that they would inspire a whole new range of aviation-themed leather goods?

Well, Navenby entrepreneur Mindy Arora, 40, has been influenced by Lincolnshire's RAF connections in creating her flagship products.

The soft leather weekend bags, wash bags and card holders are discreetly embossed with the signature logos of the Typhoon, Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, each synonymous with Lincolnshire.

The Asali military ranges are officially licensed by the Ministry of Defence and so the Red Arrows products are even tanned in the correct scarlet red leather.

Mindy was honoured to become an official supplier to the Red Arrows, supplying bespoke luggage tags to the team.

And she hopes to supply bespoke items to other squadrons, ships and regiments in the very near future.

Asali also has a strong altruistic ethos as a portion of revenue goes to selected military charities such as The Jon Egging Trust (JET) and Combat Stress.

JET was created in memory of Red Arrows pilot Jon Egging who tragically lost his life at an airshow – the charity helps young people achieve their full potential.

Asali translates from Hindu to mean ‘genuine‘ and the goods are proving a hit with aviation enthusiasts and collectors.

And when your family just happens to have a leading leather factory out in India, therein lay a golden opportunity for Mindy to see her designs turn into covetable merchandise.

Mindy Arora

Mindy said: “As a family we are very close and so it was very exciting to work together with my niece Ipshita and her father who have the leather factory business in Kolkata.

"There were lots of Skype calls with Ipshita - she has stacks of design experience - I personally have none.

“And they already have a hugely successful business themselves. Samples were sent in the post, and eventually we agreed on the finished designs.

"I have been out there to the factory too, and it’s easy to have trust in the process as it’s a family business. They were very excited to be involved in these sorts of aviation brands which they were familiar with.

“These are such iconic brands that fans really care about the detail that has gone into the products, and it matters to them that they are official licenced products.

“I’ve met the Red Arrows and spoken to some of the pilots, they are such a hard-working talented bunch.

"While there is absolutely no commercial connection between us and the Red Arrows, it was lovely when some of their family members bought our products as gifts. That makes you feel that yes, it was a really good idea.”

Mindy, originally from Solihull, will celebrate her company’s first anniversary this spring after a year of strong trading.

Developing her company has been the pinnacle of her career to date, which she juggles seamlessly with her existing marketing company Arora Marketing, as well as being busy mum to Hari, 8, and Leela, 6.

She also finds time to champion other local businesses as chairman of the Navenby and Cliff Villages business network.

Her early career was spent in the fast-lane of marketing and PR in London dealing with major corporate clients such as Calvin Klein.

But marrying an RAF pilot, whom she met at university in Liverpool, brought an eventual move to Lincolnshire and a career change – for eight years she taught business studies at Branston Academy.

The Red Arrows

She said: “My roots are in marketing where I learned a lot and had amazing experiences.

"Through a friend who needed some marketing help I realised there were many people out there in Lincolnshire who have an enormous amount of talent but who needed help with marketing their businesses.

“Everything has happened by default really, as my marketing business developed organically, by word of mouth. I couldn’t continue teaching and marketing so I eventually gave up teaching with a heavy heart.

“I started Asali because I saw an opportunity – a combination of the family business being able to manufacture the leather goods to a very high standard and my ability to take something to market so really it was about an entrepreneurial itch for an idea that I thought had legs – or wings.

“My husband is incredibly supportive and it’s him who has exposed me to the world of aviation. Before you know it, it becomes your world too.”

Success for her newly-created brand came quickly, when she was invited to take part in a charity pop-up shop in London’s Liberty department store, with retail guru Mary Portas.

She said: “Over two weeks we pretty much sold out and raised a lot of money for a fantastic cause. I was really proud of that.”

The military range also comes in black, as do other Asali products which come in a selection of vibrant colours from green to hot pink and orange.

Mindy has also created a separate Asali range accessories such as leather iPad cases, laptop cases and luggage wear.

Red Arrows at home at Scampton Airshow 2017

Smaller items such as Red Arrows leather key rings and coasters ensure that the range is accessible for all.

Yet her strict attention to detail dictates that everything about the brand always denotes high standards and leans towards luxury.

Donations from Asali own product sales are made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

As well as selling online, her products can be bought locally at Leadenham Teahouse and in Woodhall Spa, famed for its’ aviation heritage, at The Book-Fayre and Petwood House Hotel.

This year Mindy will be showcasing Asali at The Lincolnshire Show and further afield at The Royal International Air Tattoo in the Cotswolds.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FASHIONABLE LEATHER WALLETS

RESOURCE - By Paul Whitelam 14:27, 11 FEB 2018 / https://www.lincolnshirelive.co.uk/news/local-news/designer-reaches-skies-new-range-1198716

 


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