by JENNIFER LAPKA PFEIFER | product photos by ANDREA LARSON
Amid the strong wave of local leather artisans I have seen emerge of the past five years, Ami Beck of Dolyn Bags has developed a fiercely loyal customer base for her fine leather handbags for women. She is poised to take her brand to a national level this year by adding men’s and travel lines and introducing all three at MAGIC Las Vegas, an industry marketplace showcasing the latest in apparel, footwear, and accessories.
Passing by Beck’s well-appointed, large- windowed studio in the Stockyards District, one might catch a glimpse of the statuesque craftswomen stitching together one of her products at a sewing machine. With the help of a part-time, in-house seamstress, she has been fulfilling her orders, but her production capability is about to expand. Over the past year, Beck carefully vetted American factories to take on the production of her new products, landing a relationship with a New Jersey-based partner. Finding a factory that communicates in a timely manner and delivers quality to expectation and deadline is an enormous achievement for an emerging designer as it is a process requiring an invest- ment of time and money to travel to and tour each prospect.
In addition to pinpointing a domestic production partner, the fact Beck is now working on her business full- time is another notable milestone most designers only dream about. The status of her business — the growth she has created through hard work and dedication after launching just three years ago from a workspace in her grandmother’s basement — is admirable. Why has she achieved what so few of her peers have? She is the perfect example of an entrepreneur: she possesses a magnetic personality; she listens to her customers; she delivers consistency of quality; she is not afraid to delegate; and she never loses sight of the long-range goal she has set for her business, which is to “to be a strong competitor in the global luxury market.”
Her long-range goal is grand to be sure; to spur herself on, she loves deferring to a source of inspiration a friend once shared with her. It is a quote by the late Scottish mountaineer and writer, W. H. Murray:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
I am immensely proud of this Kansas City native and look forward to watch.ing her continue to navigate the industry, gain more market share, and, eventually, create more jobs in Our City.
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