“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did, so throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain (attributed).

For over 30 years, my career was in advertising as a Photographic Stylist.  I worked on ads for many major brands, including Adidas, Musto, Courtaulds, Dorma, Rolls Royce and Porsche.  I designed sets, styled ads, sourced locations and props, from the perfect tomato to a Stradivarius!  I worked with actors, sports stars, Royalty, Jaguar cats and Penguins!  It was an interesting and fun career.  Exposed to the clever branding and marketing behind such famous brands, I became increasingly frustrated in my career, eventually realising that it wasn’t enough for me to develop other people’s brands, the truth of it was that I had always secretly dreamed about owning and growing my own brand, however small.

My dream remained just that until I reflected on the quote by Mark Twain.

The idea for my brand came while on holiday on the beautiful Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.  I’d visited crofters who showed me the family handed down traditional techniques of weaving the myriad of colours of wool into stunning designs.  I was inspired by the heritage of tweed, the age-old traditions of the weavers, such as the dyeing of the wool using natural dyes, which reflect the landscape, dramatic skies, flora and fauna.  By statutory Act of Parliament; the weaving of Harris Tweed, may only be done, within the homes of the islanders in the Outer Hebrides.  Harris Tweed is produced by human power, using pedal looms.  The combination of all of the hand made processes used to create the intensity of colour are unique to the Outer Hebrides and looking at the amazing mix of colours in any piece, you will see the creativity and skills of the individual islanders.

I reluctantly left the stunning Isle of Harris with memories of its lovely people, the stunning landscapes, some magnificent tweed and the beginnings of an idea for my brand.

Tweed was a fabric I’d always loved from when designing room sets for interior ads and interior design.  Initially I thought I’d design interior products using tweed but a chance meeting with a bag manufacturer sparked my idea to incorporate tweed into bags.

I worked on blending colours of tweed with high quality leathers.  I visualised my brand being British made, using the best quality leathers in amazing colours.  I designed my first bag and my brand Acassi was born.

It is important to me that the manufacturing of my products remains in the UK, keeping alive traditional skills, supporting British manufacturing and very importantly to me being able to control the ethical side of my brand.  To help preserve the traditional heritage of UK Industries, to avoid the ‘Fast Fashion’ of today and to ensure the makers of my products have safe working conditions.

The journey hasn’t been easy, I’ve been inspired by other entrepreneurs, used knowledge I gathered from my career and other brands, learnt a huge amount about business, manufacturing and about remaining positive!

Today my brand represents me; originality, creativity, Britishness and a little quirkiness and I hope it does to you as well.

Welcome to my Brand!

Julie Paisey