We took a trip around London with Honey Simmonds, founder of Lalo bags. A quintessential London girl, we talked favourite hot spots, handy shortcuts and discovered the journey she has been on to bring her brand to life.
Step into Honey's world.
Photography by @jimiherrtage on location in London
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in North West London, next to an overground station. So as you an imagine, I’m used to the sound of trains.
What do you love most about London?
There’s too many things to mention!
London is steeped in history and every street has a story, which I find fascinating. The museums, the parks, the old pubs, black cabs, the list goes on. It’s just iconic. The underground is by far the most efficient way to commute around London when you want to be a tourist in your own city (extra points if you know the platform shortcuts!)
I’ve just moved to South East and I think Ganapati deserves a mention - it’s a South Indian restaurant in Peckham and has the best Biriani I’ve ever eaten in London.
You started Lalo in 2020, how did this come about & what is the inspiration behind the brand & the name?
I started lalo in 2020 after being made redundant due to the pandemic. Lalo, as a project, had been in the pipeline for around a year after visits to Mexico and falling in love with the place, so it was the perfect moment to change gear. Lalo is the name of my business partner in Oaxaca - I thought it would be a nice homage to call the company after him. He’s a born and bred Oaxacan and his family all play a part in the business - his mother, Monica, weaves the bags, his sister sews the labels in and his step dad helps with the logistics. So it’s a real family business.
What inspires me about the brand are the communities of weavers that we get to work with - the skilled artisans using techniques that have been passed down through the generations. Helping to keep a tradition alive whilst paying them correctly for their work is what drives the business. Having a level of respect and trust for one another really is the key to our success.
What has been the most exciting stage yet for Lalo and what are you looking forward to in the brands future?
The reception we’ve had in Japan has been thrilling - they have really taken to the bags and I love to see the various ways they style them. Being stocked in well known department stores around the world has also been an exciting experience. Having our very own Christmas window at Selfridges with giant Lalo bags filled with baubles as a display was a bit of a pinch me moment. This year I’m looking forward to introducing new styles and potentially some other product lines too!
Do you have a favourite bag and how do you style her?
My favourite bag is the Violetta - it’s a deceptively small box-shaped bag that can fit more in it than you think! I love the black and off-white one as it goes with absolutely everything. I get compliments on it a lot, as it’s such an unusual shape. I find that you can dress it up or down - it looks just as lovely paired with something floaty and floral as it does with a black cocktail dress in the evening.
We noticed the bags have girls names, what is the story behind this?
The inspiration for naming the bags comes from my friends, as each bag has its own character, much like them. It starts with a design and then I imagine which one of my friends would wear it or how it would assimilate their style the most.
I name them after the women in my life, as they all have different attributes that I admire and aspire to. I want the women wearing the bags to feel empowered and as though they are doing some good in the world.
Where are the bags made and what are they made from?
Our bags are made in Oaxaca by artisans that live in different communities in parts of the city and the villages that surround it.
Right now we have 25 people that are working with us, and are constantly expanding our team. Our Lily bags are made by Ellie who is a short drive away from Oaxaca central, and our new Dita bags are made by a team that lives a 4 hour drive away. Our infrastructure means they can make the bags from home, which served us well during the peak of the pandemic, and still allows for our team members to be at home with their young children.
They are made from recycled PET plastic - from old bottles of water and soda that would otherwise be taken to a landfill. We buy the plastic directly from a family run recycling plant in Mexico City - it’s then mixed with a small amount of acrylic dye, and they can make any colour you like.
They really do tick so many boxes in terms of being handmade and sustainable - you’ll definitely turn a few heads with how vibrant they are too!