Helen E Riegle - HER Design

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Helen E Riegle - HER Design

Helen E Riegle

Designer & Principal, HER Design

Biography

Helen E. Riegle is designer and principal of HER Design, which makes chic and sustainable handbags and accessories,

each inspired by nature. After nearly two years in concept and development, Helen launched her first collection in 2004

with a clear goal: to promote greener living that embraces style. Helen is not your typical bag lady. Faced with limited

options that suited her tastes and needs, Helen carried few handbags... until she fashioned her own.

Deciding to start an ethical business that features eco-friendly and cruelty-free collections was less an epiphany than the

crossroads of her experiences and values. Helen grew up in the south of England. While she cites the pre-Raphaelites,

William Morris, and Owen Jones as having influenced her sensibility to nature and its beauty, she was also influenced by

her mother’s work as a floral designer, and by her brother, who expertly sketched landscapes and flora and is today a

renowned wildlife filmmaker in Britain.

Helen studied graphic design in Preston and then forged a career as a designer and creative director with various agencies

in England and the U.S. Through diverse international project work, most notably for museums, zoos, and aquariums, she

gained a deeper understanding of natural history and the living

world. From her travels—at times with a briefcase, at times with

a backpack—she gleaned new insights into the world we share.

With her eyes wide open to the possibility of celebrating nature

and making a difference through what we do, Helen resolved to

do something truly original and unconventional and to do it

responsibly. The culmination of these goals is making bags for

people who want to both look good and feel good through

what they carry.

Each day, Helen seeks to narrow the gap between her actions

and her aspirations. As a working mother, she understands

that children add to the challenge of doing better. But they also

fuel her inspiration. Outside the design studio, Helen can be

found—New England weather permitting—on walks or at the

beach. She lives in Marblehead, Mass., with Oliver, Genevieve,

and Christopher, her husband and business partner.


About HER Design

Challenge conventions. Live responsibly. Embrace style.

Our goal is to distinguish green from granola—to produce beautiful products that are stylish, functional, and eco-friendly

Background

Since we started doing business in 2004, we have been producing unique, contemporary handbags and laptop bags

made from sustainable materials.

Core campaigns

“Can a handbag save the world?” / “Great bags for a good reason” / “Honor nature and your inner princess”

As customers reflect on what makes our high-style, responsibly made handbags different to conventional ones,

the handbag becomes the gateway for more meaningful change.

Innovation

We love using novel materials and have most recently incorporated into our designs microsuede and woven polyester,

both made from 100% recycled content; Cradle to Cradle certified wool flannel; and recycled PET lining, which is made

from post-consumer soda bottles. We have also featured Treetap “wild rubber,” a sustainably made,fair-trade product

from the Amazon, as a leather substitute.

Manufacturing

We manufacture in small or family-run factories that maintain high standards for their workers and conform

to fair labor practices. The majority of the collection is made in Costa Rica. We also use factories

in Massachusetts.

Giving

The effects of human activities know no geographic boundaries. The natural resources we

consume come from all over, and the pollution we generate circulates with the wind and

water. For this reason, we seek to support causes on all seven continents in the areas of

environmental protection and awareness, animal welfare, and improving children’s lives.

We commit two percent of gross sales to these causes, and contribute numerous bags

to fundraising events across the country. Among the organizations we have supported are

local activists (HealthLink), groups with national influence (Sierra Club), and global relief

organizations (UNICEF).

We are a proud member of Co-op America’s Business Network.


What they’re saying about us: our customers

“The bags are FANTASTIC! I love them – not only for their fabulous design and attention to detail but also the

environmental care that accompanies them. You are doing a great thing and people have already taken notice.”

– Shop, Charlestown RI

“I just purchased your ‘Leaf’ computer bag and wanted to tell you how wonderful it is! This may be the first time I have

taken time to send a note to praise a product.” – LF, Burlington VT

“I just wanted to tell you how simple and beautiful I think your bags are. Stunning.” – TW, Atlanta GA

“Thanks to Helen for offering such beautiful, unique, and inspiring purses.” – AM, Pasadena CA

“My new HER Design bag is just perfect! I never miss an opportunity to tell my friends what an eco- and socially friendly

product it is.” – EC, New York NY

“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your dedication towards changing the environment and making your vision

a reality.” – LN, Los Angeles CA

“I want a vegan handbag and have been searching all over. These are really the best looking bags I've found…. Thanks

for producing great products that respect the environment and animals!” – SP, Abilene TX

“Thanks for your integrity - it just gets stronger and stronger, and I can truly appreciate your honest efforts to build an

ethically superior business.” – Shop, Portland OR

“My laptop bag is absolutely fabulous! I know everyone will be asking me where I got it. It's so refreshingly different.”

– LB, Vancouver BC

“I look forward to carrying the first bag that fits the rest of my lifestyle but doesn't look frumpy.” – LP, Gig Harbor WA

HER Design LLC 114 Washington Street, Marblehead MA 01945 t:781 631 1491 f:781 658 2618


In The Media

Feb 8 2008 The Green Set – “It’s H.E.R. Time” (WEB)

Feb 3 2008 Trendinista – “Handbags: Always Look on the Bright Side” (WEB)

Jan 29 2008 Environmental News Network – “Giving: It’s the New Getting at Sundance” (WEB)

Dec 14 2007 Handbags.com – “Meet Helen E Riegle: Eco-Friendly Handbags!” (WEB)

Dec 13 2007 Green Living Online – “12 Days of Green Shopping: Fashion Accessories” (WEB)

Dec 2007 Gaiam Community – “Green Gifts for the Eco-Chick” (WEB)

Nov 7 2007 Green Fashion and Beauty – “Celeb-Worthy Environmentalist Handbags” (WEB)

Sep 20 2007 Chic by Nature – “Helen E Riegle’s Fall Collection” (WEB)

Sep 19 2007 Treehugger.com – “Fall 07: HER Design” (WEB)

Sep 18 2007 Ethical Fashionista – “Exquisite Bags for Ethical Beauties” (WEB)

Sep 14 2007 iVillage (Going Green’s Blog) – “Can a Handbag Save the World?” (WEB)

Jul 31 2007 Ideal Bite – “Need an Attractive Escort for Your Next Party?” (WEB)

Jun 6 2007 Boston Herald – “Fashion Conscience” (PRINT)

Jun 2007 iVillage (iGo Green) – “Stuff We Love” (WEB)

Spr/Sum 2007 Northshore Magazine – “Scene” (PRINT)

Apr 12, 2007 Marblehead Reporter – “Green Designs Good As Gold” (PRINT)

Apr 2007 Natural Health – “Weather the Storm” (PRINT)

Mar 13 2007 OrganicAuthority.com – “An Oscar Green Suite” (WEB)

Jan 2007 Blush Magazine – “Eco Chic” (PRINT)

Dec/Jan 2007 Natural Health – “Truly Gifted: For the World Traveler” (PRINT)

Dec 14, 2006 Ideal Bite – “Ideal Green Gifts: HER Design ‘Techtonic’ Work Bag” (WEB)

Dec 1, 2006 Treehugger.com – “HER Design Incorporates Cradle-to-Cradle Wool in Fashion Accessories” (WEB)

Nov/Dec 2006 The Green Guide – “Top Product Picks: Stocking Stuffers (‘Eco Geeko’)” (PRINT)

Sep/Oct 2006 KIWI – “Fashionable, Functional, Eco-Friendly Finds” (PRINT)

Sum/Fall 2006 Northshore Magazine – “Style is in the Bag” (PRINT)

Sep 1, 2006 The Green Guide – “Seasonless Green Fashion” (PRINT)

Aug 7, 2006 SheFinds.com – “Today’s Finds – Eco-Chic: HER Design Bags” (WEB)

Jun 30, 2006 FOX25 Morning News – “Zip Trip: Marblehead” (TV)

HER Design LLC 114 Washington Street, Marblehead MA 01945 t:781 631 1491 f:781 658 2618


What they’re saying about us: the press

“Bold shapes, bright colors, and hip detailing are drawing celebrities like Helen Mirren – the Queen

herself – to these ‘green’ purses.”

– Gaiam Community, Dec 07

“Going green and being fashion forward are becoming one. The ‘Lily’ handbag would be the perfect everyday

bag for the ‘down to earth’ woman!”

– Handbags.com, Dec 07

“With so many handbags made from leather, fur accents, scales and skin, purses may not be a traditional

example of eco-friendly style, but designer Helen E. Riegle is changing the fashion world one tote at a time.”

– Blush Magazine, Jan 07

“Want to be eco and elegant? You can be both with handbags from HER Design.”

– KIWI magazine, Sep-Oct 06

“Love to be eco-chic but don’t necessarily want accessories that scream Eco-Conscious? I love my bags made

from billboard vinyl and candy wrappers, but sometimes I just want a purse that looks good. When I found

HER Design I got my wish.” – SheFinds, 8/7/06

“We are all huge fans. Chic and made from organic cotton canvas and tree-tapped wild rubber that is

like the softest leather.” – Ideal Bite, 6/9/06

“These bags have very clean lines and smart details.” – The Green Shopper, 2/23/06

Helen Riegle’s eco- and animal-friendly handbags are really too shockingly hip to pass up.”

– The Humane Society blog: Fashion Week, 2/9/06

HER Design LLC 114 Washington Street, Marblehead MA 01945 t:781 631 1491 f:781 658 2618


Select retailers of Helen E Riegle fashion accessories

CA

All Shades of Green – Los Angeles

Beauty & Wisdom – Santa Monica

greenROHINI – Sherman Oaks

CO

Dwell On – Basalt

Kenai Shoes – Breckenridge

FL

Exit Art – Longboat Key

Juno & Jove – Sarasota

Magnolia – Tampa

ME

Terracotta Stylish Stuff – Ellsworth

Heart to Heart – Houlton

The Kimball Shop – Northeast Harbor

MA

Artwear – Arlington

Envi – Boston

Greenward – Cambridge

The Store @ DeCordova – Lincoln

She – Marblehead

Red Mannequin – Oak Bluffs

Adlumia – Orleans

MN

Birch Clothing – Minneapolis

NY

Richard Oliver House – Bedford Village

Cow Jones Industrials – Chatham

Subdivision Boutique – Long Island City

OH

Park + Vine – Cincinnati

OR

Greenloop – Portland

RI

Mills Creek Natural Market – Charlestown

TN

Gild the Lily – Memphis

TX

Wildflower Organics – Austin

VT

Danform Shoes – Colchester

VA

Elsie Garden – Charlottesville

Green Alternatives – Norfolk

Alchemy – Richmond

WI

A. Boutique – Appleton

Next Door – Brookfield

A Stone’s Throw – Madison

CANADA

Riva’s the Eco Store – Calgary

UNITED KINGDOM

The Square Peg – Lochgilphead

ONLINE SHOPS

www.careerbags.com

www.cocosshoppe.com

www.eBags.com

www.eConsciousMarket.com

www.poshorganic.com

www.recycledthreads.com

www.thegreenloop.com

www.eco-handbags.ca (CAN)

www.thenaturalstore.co.uk (UK)

HER Design LLC 114 Washington Street, Marblehead MA 01945 t:781 631 1491 f:781 658 2618

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