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From Lawyer to Bag Lady

Posted on May 01, 2017 by Stephanie Oppenheim | 0 comments

How I got to be a bag lady.

I always wanted to be a lawyer. In our small town my Dad was my Atticus Finch. He championed causes. Our dinner table conversations included why accused murderers were entitled to due process to why topless bars were not obscene under state law (that was an interesting dinner). 

So I spent most of my first 25 years with tunnel vision. Unlike my Dad I decided to practice in New York City at White & Case -- one of the nation's top law firms. I had the job I dreamed of - all that hard work paid off. I had the fancy office, a ridiculously big salary and a killer wardrobe to go with it.

The problem. I hated it. Big corporate practices move at a glacial pace and the role of a junior associate can be soul sucking. Endless hours on tedious documents. Oh, and did I mention that the clients tend to be massive corporations? Atticus type moments? None.

So I changed gears.

I co-founded the independent consumer organization toyportfolio.com with my mother, noted child development expert & author Joanne Oppenheim. We have been playing with and reviewing toys since my older son was born. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Awards are the benchmark of excellence with consumers. Most people know us from NBC's TODAY Show where we are Contributors.

As much as I love toys and what we do, I wanted to be more creative.

I started Quilted Koala with my family - notice a trend here?  This time, my partner is my husband David (the boy with the koala bear).  We've also recruited our sons who are now both in the business with us.

Manufacturing products is a whole new world from being a professional critic. There's the thrill of creating something that people respond to with excitement. And when something doesn't work -- you need to take a deep breath and move on, quickly.

One of the best parts of starting a new business is our team and the number of truly amazing people who have adopted me on this journey. At first being mentored, rather than mentoring others felt a little strange, but I quickly realized the vast amount of things I didn't know. I'm no longer shy about asking.

Our mission is to create bags that are fun, pretty and don't take themselves too seriously. For example, our best-selling East West Bag is both classic and refined in design, but it also gets a little cheeky when we add a word or design in glitter.  And who doesn't love glitter?

I also hate heavy bags. So that's always a starting point. I'm especially proud of our new Metallic Backpacks -- I love handing them off to people -- and getting the "ooooh it's so light!" That's when I know we've done it right. 

If you were to tell my 8-year-old self, who aspired to be a Supreme Court Justice, that I would be become a bag lady-- I probably wouldn't have believed you. But even then I loved a good bag!

If I'm a cautionary tale, it's to embrace change, creativity and to follow your passion -- and, of course, always carry a terrific bag.

Stephanie

Co-Founder, Quilted Koala, Ltd.

P. S.  Our latest Quilted Koala campaign is for our Metallic Backpacks. You can join the campaign on Indiegogo.

 

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Valentine's Day Giveaway - Enter to win $1000 in prizes!

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Stephanie Oppenheim | 0 comments

Love is in the air. After all we just had a koala wedding!  And because we LOVE our followers we decided to teamed up with three of our favorite brands for a Valentine's Day Giveaway - with $1,000 in prizes.

To Enter the Giveaway, scroll down to the Rafflecopter entry form.  Here's what one lucky winner will win:

 

1. Isola - $250 Gift Certificate for this wonderful collection of beauty products. Founded by the amazing Kate Delgado and Osvali Van Romondt. We love their story and mission to bring that spa-like feeling to your home with their products that are inspired by Kate's time with her family in Jamaica. Take a look at the entire line at https://isolabody.com/

2. M Gems - $250 Gift Certificate from our fav duo in jewelry! We met Manda and Melissa at one of our first trade shows - I can't say enough about how welcoming they were and gave us much needed advice. Did we also mention that we are obsessed with their jewelry?  You can often see M Gems on TV (Rachel Ray, Kathie Lee and many of the Real Housewives are big fans).  Take a look at what you can win at http://www.mgemsjewelry.com/

3.Nissa Jewelry - $250 Gift Certificate to the amazing Nissa Jewelry collection that is a staple of celebrities like Carrie Underwood, Kate Hudson, Abigail Breslin, Yara Shahidi and so many more! Founded by the uber-talented designer, Nissa Wegienek - we love her use of re-purposed vintage materials and recycled metals to create a very modern collection (all crafted here in the US). Check out all the beautiful choices at http://nissajewelry.com/.

 

4.QuiltedKoala - $250 Gift Certificate that you can use to put together your favorite QK bags, duffels and makeup bags! You can shop all of our new Koala Kanvas (can you say glitter?) and Quilted duffels perfect for the woman on the go!  Take a look around! http://shop.quiltedkoala.com/

Seriously, how great is this giveaway?! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Our Giveaway ends on 2/14 at 11:59pm PST.   One winner will be selected at random to win all of the items offered below upon completion of the giveaway.  The winner will receive an email with all of the codes for gift certificates on 2/15.

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Five Secrets to Having the Perfect Wedding

Posted on January 22, 2017 by Stephanie Oppenheim | 0 comments

As many of you know we are a family business and last week Adam married Lindsey, the love of his life.  We are still enjoying the after glow of having such a beautiful weekend full of love, family, and friends.

Here are what we found to be the five secrets to having the perfect wedding.

1.  Listen to your bride and groom. The kind of day that the couple wants to have soon emerges after the engagement and the planning really begins. Our lovely Lindsey is from Arizona and it was important to her to celebrate what she loved about Scottsdale and the natural beauty of the area. Their first look pictures were taken along the trails they enjoy together. (Seriously how beautiful is this picture?!!)  

2. Keep Organized. I was blown away with the use of Excel for doing seating and invitations (so much easier than moving index cards around the dining room table). Excel was also used to track the schedules for photos the day of the wedding. We also loved using  paperless post for invites to bridal events and apps like Photocircleapp for photo sharing at the wedding. Instagram tags are also good, but it was great to have a private site to upload the pics (over 1,000 pics were shared in the first few hours) -- so everyone had the fun of seeing the pics long before the professional pics come in.

3. Work with People that Share Your Vision. We worked with the incredibly talented floral designer, AubreysPetals - she created beautiful floral designs for both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding.  The event planner Melissa at the McCormick Ranch was grace under pressure (the threat of rain did not phase her) and she runs a rehearsal like a total pro! And our hats are off to the folks at J&G Steakhouse where we had the rehearsal dinner.

4. Bridal party gifts. You know we had this covered! Each bridesmaid received a monogrammed (with silver glitter) East West Bag. They used them the day of the wedding for all of their things. These are amazing women - they stood outside for pictures and the ceremony (where it was windy and chilly) with smiles on their faces.

Each bridesmaid also carried a Quilted Koala Luxe Metallic Clutch in silver to go with their navy dresses. The bride carried the same bag in blue metallic (as her something blue).

 

5. Above all, keep your sense of humor. It's meant to be a fun day to celebrate the beginning of a new family. There are so many moving parts, emotions and budgets on the line -- it's easy to lose yourself in the details. At the end of the day, if there are tears, you want to be sure that they're happy ones.

We are so excited to welcome Lindsey to our family!

 

 

 

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The Best Gifts for Travelers

Posted on November 30, 2016 by Stephanie Oppenheim | 0 comments

We love to travel. Packing not so much. Carrying heavy bags - no thank you.

One of missions of Quilted Koala is to make the packing and traveling with your things easier.

1. Start with a beautiful duffel that's both sturdy and lightweight. There's nothing worse than starting with a heavy bag. We worked for a very long time with our team to create a bag that's very light and comfortable to carry.

2. Make it roomy.  Let's face it, we all want to take along more than we probably should - which is why we have duffels in three sizes.  The large fits in the overhead compartment on a plane while the small duffel is designed to fit under the seat.

3. Our new mini duffel is perfect for traveling. The crossbody strap makes this a great choice for on-the-go fun when you want your bag on you and zipped closed!  Also makes a perfect camera bag.

4. Makeup Bags. Our quilted makeup bags are all lined with water-resistant material to help protect your things. We use one for our toiletries and one for our electronics.

 

SHOP all the collections (and colors) at shop.quiltedkoala.com.

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The Best Gifts for the Sporty, Fitness, Yoga Lover

Posted on November 30, 2016 by Stephanie Oppenheim | 0 comments

Shopping for the active woman in your life? We have suggestions for the best gifts for the woman that loves fitness, yoga, Pilates, or spin class.

Our new Luxe North South Bag is just right for taking to a class or to the gym. It comes with a detachable cross body strap to make it even easier to carry. Available in Camouflage, Jet Engine or Denim.

Our small duffels are also just right for sporty on-the-go fun. Each comes with two outside pockets for easy access. New this season -  our jet engine, denim and camo collections.

 

And if she loves Camouflage, she especially love our Camo collection. Available in both traditional green or grey.

And of course she'll need something for her makeup and toiletries!

 

 

Shop all the collections at shop.quiltedkoala.com

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