Shopping: The Gift of GRACESHIP

Happy Derby Week! I’m taking a quick break from all the racing madness to share a little about GRACESHIP, the newest venture from Louisville native & star of the show “Southern Belles” Emily Gimmel. I met with Emily and her team a couple weeks ago at their offices in Butchertown Market to check out GRACESHIP’s debut line of stylish laptop bags.Upon reading that you might be thinking, laptop bags? But aren’t there already a bunch of options out there. Yes there are but there aren’t many options that are stylish, fashionable and functional (hell, I carry all my office crap in a semi-cute gym bag. Hey, it works.).

After I saw the designs online, I knew I had to dig a little deeper and find out the inspiration behind the line. And once I saw the bags in person, I was pinning after them all (I think the London is my favorite but I can’t seem to decide). From the outside, the bags look like chic designer purses but open them up and there are tons of compartments for all your office gear and a little padded home for your laptop. These are for sure a working girl’s kinda bag and would make a great graduation or Mother’s Day gift.

For that reason, Emily is offering all Lou What Wear readers 20% off with the promo code: LWW20. The bags all retail for $130 so you’ll be snagging a great gift for mom, the graduate or yourself for $104! There are three options – the Chicago, the London and the New York. Each one is chic, classic and most importantly – functional.

Last but not least, GRACESHIP is giving away a trip to Mexico (yup, you read that right). You can ‘Bag A Trip’ by heading to their site and entering the giveaway for a sweet vacay to Riviera Maya.

I wanted to dig a little into the inspiration behind GRACESHIP from it’s creator Emily Gimmel. From TV reporter to reality TV and now to entrepreneur and designer…here’s the full scoop.

In a couple sentences, can you tell me a little bit about your background.

I was a TV Journalist for 10 years. I started my television career in Louisville and worked all over the country as an entertainment reporter, interviewing celebrities, covering hot events, and the newest trends in lifestyle. I love telling stories, because I think the best part of life is shared experiences. I am thrilled to share the story of GRACESHIP with others.

How did you decide to get into fashion? Why the decision to do stylish laptop bags? 

I couldn’t find a laptop bag I liked anywhere! Everything was either too sporty, too masculine, or HOT PINK! I yearned for a product that was fashionable and functional. When I couldn’t find an affordable product anywhere with the style and quality that I desired, I decided to make my own! I’m fascinated by design, all aspects of it. There is something serene to be said about symmetry and balance. I used to dream of being an architect as a child, and would draw and study homes for fun.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for the name “Graceship.” 

As a journalist, I have always enjoyed connecting with an audience. I thrive on empowering and enlightening the lives of others. Technology now gives us a platform to tell our stories across the world. The Internet has no barriers on geography, language or culture. This inspired me to create a brand name that was universally understood. GRACE is universally understood. It also means to have elegance in form and motion, which is how I hope our customers feel as they live their lives on the go.

What has the process been like in starting your own fashion business? What’s been the most fun? Most challenging? Most rewarding?

The process is long and detailed, but as soon as I sold my first product, the feeling was indescribable! I got to see the world and travel to Asia which was a surreal experience. The most rewarding part is getting to see the excitement on someone’s face when they say they love our products, and that they are exactly what they have been looking for.

Which bag is your favorite? 

That’s so hard to say! I almost feel like I would be picking my favorite kid, if I had children. I don’t think I can pick a favorite. They are all very special to me and each are designed with a different type of woman in mind.

Which designers did you look to for inspiration? 

I think Victoria Beckham creates amazing stuff. Her products are so simplistic, yet there is an enormous attention towards the details of her designs. My fashion icon is Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s simplistic as well, but never ever boring. She always wears her clothes, instead of letting the clothes wear her.

Other than bags, what’s your favorite accessory? 

Shoes! As long as your bag and your shoes are on trend, you can wear a t-shirt and jeans and still look stunning.

What caused you to base your business in Louisville?

Almost every major e-commerce company has a presence in Louisville because of the UPS Worldport. More importantly, my family is extremely supportive of me, and I really wanted to be close to them as I started GRACESHIP. It’s nice to go over to my mom’s house and enjoy a delicious homemade dinner after a long day at the office.

What’s next for GRACESHIP?

We just landed to major online distributors, Amazon and Ebags, so we are really focused on growing successfully through those channels. Every day is an adventure at the office so the future is very difficult to predict!

Since Derby is right around the corner, what trend are you planning on rocking this year at the track?

I’m leaning towards a peplum style dress, which was very popular on the Spring runways. I think a simple, yet dramatic wide brimmed Derby hat would off set it perfectly.

Thanks so much to Emily and the lovely ladies at GRACESHIP for having me at their offices. They gave me the scoop on some upcoming designers and other product ideas so I’m excited to see what comes next!

 

Mood Board: A Day at the Races

Derby is all any one can think about or talk about these days. And since I’ve been getting a lot of requests and a lot of searches regarding race day fashion – I thought I’d do one more Derby post. Here’s a little race day inspiration if you’re coming in town for your first Derby or even if you’ve been a (what seems like) a million times.

a day at the races

  • The Dress: I like to go with a simple silhouette and a dress with straps is a definite plus so you’re not pulling your dress up all day. If you keep your dress simple (read: one or two colors) you have more leeway to go bold with your hat – and really, isn’t that the fun part of dressing for Derby?
  • The Shoes: I love high heels. But leave the stilettos at home if you’re heading to the track. It’s a long day with a lot of standing not to mention the cobblestone that you’re apt to encounter at Churchill Downs. Opt for a pair of wedges or cute flat sandals, that way you’ll be able to stand and shout”Go Baby Go” all day instead of hunting for an open chair. If you do go the stiletto route, make sure to throw flip flops or sandals in your bag. You’ll need them.
  • The Clutch: Right now there are tons of cute, bright clutches to choose from. I’ll probably carry one with a shoulder strap so my hands are free to bet and hold on to a Mint Julep. Just make sure you have enough room for the essentials: cash, ID, phone (don’t want to lose a friend in the mass chaos of CD), sunglasses, a racing program and possibly a pair of shoes.
  • The Hat: This is by far the most important part of your Derby day attire so go big. An easy way to get a customized look is to pick a style hat you love and add color through flowers, feathers, etc. Dee’s Crafts is a great place to do this last minute (especially for out of towners). There are also hat set ups in the Marriott and Galt Houses downtown. If you’re local and need a last minute hat, call Maureen’s Creations (she’s helping me with my last minute request) or Jana’s Hat Box and let them help you get the perfect look.
Most importantly, just make sure to have fun. Pick your Derby horse, enjoy a Mint Julep and take in all the fun that is the Kentucky Derby.

Yay It’s a Giveaway!: Keeneland Shop Derby Hat Winners

The Keeneland Shop Giveaway had a lot of great feedback and I am thrilled to announce the two randomly selected winners!I also can’t thank Alex at the Keeneland Shop enough for partnering with me on this giveaway.

The winner of this fabulous hat is Julie! Here’s what she had to say about her Derby plans…

“Plans will hopefully include a derby party. Would love the chance to sport a new hat. I love both the fascination and the hat but if forced to choose I’ll go with the hat this time.”

And the winner of the beautiful fascinator is Natalie!

“I had really hoped I would be going to the Derby this year, but unfortunately it is looking like a no-go. After all I have lived in KY the majority of my life, and have only been able to experience the outfield (no thanks!). Instead, I plan to attend a fabulous Derby Party! It definitely will not be the same as the real thing, but I’m crossing my fingers for next year. I would be thrilled to win one of the Derby Hats from the Keeneland Shop!! I am sure it would be a hit next year.”

Hope you ladies both enjoy your hats! Please be sure to send in pictures of you sporting them!

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