Behind the Scenes with Our Founder Jackie Garrett
Vilah Bloom was definitely born out of necessity but also the love for creating. Before we started the company, I worked for PBS Kids and Lifetime Television Network and although I gained a lot of experience and loved the perks of both positions, it wasn't satisfying my creative outlet. I was spending my nights at home sewing place-mat clutches (literally buying place mats from thrift or high end cooking stores). I would fold them in thirds and sew them for gifts- sometimes adorning them with vintage buttons that I had found all over Chicago.
Once we moved from Chicago to New Hampshire I was working remotely for Lifetime and was able to get my work done fast to spend more time creating. At this time I was also pregnant for our first daughter Vilah. Once Vilah was born, she and I would head into town to a local coffee shop so that I could work (horrible reception at our home in New Hampshire). The coffee shop was called Apotheca, it was not your typical coffee shop because it had amazing handmade items from area artisans and I was obsessed with immersing myself in that coffee shop to feel the creative energy surround us- even if it was only until I finished my latte! The funny thing is, every time we would head into Apotheca I would forget my wet wipes!! Of course I did, why wouldn't I? Moms with newborns cannot be without wet wipes...I'm sorry, it's just not possible. I would be crammed into this little bathroom in Apotheca changing Vilah's diaper with wet paper towel and thinking to myself "Seriously, I know pregnancy brain is a thing but come on...I'm no longer pregnant and still forgetting my wet wipes." Then one night after yet another trip without them I came home and jokingly said to my husband Travis, "Why aren't wet wipes just attached to your bag so moms don't forget them?!". Yup, it was a joke at first but about 3 hours later after putting Vilah to bed I was up all night sewing a bag with a dispensing hole for wipes. Yes, it was a place-mat clutch with a hole in the center and it worked! I made a few more for friends and they loved them. So, two weeks later I put in my notice at Lifetime and enrolled in a sewing class that would teach me how to serge and attempt to sew my first vision of a Vilah Bloom bag. It was the Harbor Side Tote and although my first tote was nowhere near what they look like now, I had so much fun creating it and following my passion. Now Vilah Bloom bags are sold in department stores and boutiques worldwide and it still puts a smile on my face when I see mom's carrying them because I know the bag is making their life just a little bit easier.
Jackie pictured here at the Vilah Bloom office (Petoskey, Michigan) with the original collection of Harbor Side Totes & Cottage Clutch