April 20, 2017
I fell in love with their brand a few months ago after a friend of mine introduced me to their infamous luxury fannypack. Mathilde and Nicole are two fashion entrepreneurs that basically want to help other women be comfortable and stylish by adopting the Holdur, a high-quality leather bag that’s easy to carry everywhere. How did all this started? Read more about the fashion duo below.
What does luxury mean to you?
For us, luxury means meticulous craftsmanship using the finest materials, created in a responsible way. From the very beginnings of Holdur, we set out to create the most luxurious fannypack we could imagine, yet still balancing practical, authentic and versatile elements to its design. Luxury today isn’t about overconsumption, it’s about investing in supreme quality, ethically-made pieces that will stand the test of time. Exactly what Holdur strives to do with each and every item we design and handcraft in Canada.
How would you describe your job?
Our job changes each day! What began as a kernel of an idea, “Holdur will do to fannypacks what Hunter did to rubber boots”, has blossomed into a full fledged company, selling at boutiques across Montreal & Toronto, and of course online throughout the world. All the various elements of design, supply chain, production, sales, marketing, finance are still primarily managed by us, so you can imagine we have our fingers in everything. We play to our strengths, so Mathilde tends to lead the design and “people” tasks, and Nicole gravitates towards the numbers and cents sides of things.
What are the first things you do when you wake up in the morning?
We both check our phones to see if the other has messaged (sometimes a bright idea that popped up in the middle of the night!) and of course we scan our emails and social media to stay on top of things. The quieter moments of the morning are perfect for planning out the priority tasks for the day. A good matcha tea is never far after that!
What do you like the most about your job?
We both agree that the feeling of someone spending their hard-earned money on Holdur products is both humbling and energizing. We truly feel like we are introducing women to a new way of wearing and appreciating their bags. We feel like we give them back the freedom of their hands and their movements while remaining well-styled when they wear a Holdur. We love spreading the Holdur freedom!
Who are you most inspired by and why?
For us, our mothers and female family members had a great role in shaping our belief system, and we frequently refer to these inspirations via Holdur’s guiding principles. Our family female role models came from Europe and had the philosophy to prioritize quality over quanitity. They gravitated towards classic accessories, with supreme materials and finishing to keep them over the years… and even pass them on to their daughters! We are also very inspired by the modern woman of today: active, often juggling family, work & leisure, family & friends. With both these models as sources of inspiration, we strive to create Holdur pieces that will stand the test of time in terms of style & craftsmanship. We are part of a “slow fashion” movement, where quality trumps quantity, a direct inspiration from our own strong family women figures and our busy friends, women of today.
What would you tell people who aspire to work in your industry?
The one thing we notice in fashion in general here in Montreal, is there are many great creative designers, but not enough with solid business training. Running a business isn’t just the designing part, and unfortunately, the other components weigh a lot in the success of your brand. Building a business is multi-faceted, and we were both lucky to have worked in the corporate world prior to Holdur. It gave us the tools and that much-needed business experience. We would suggest to all new designers to get some sort of business training or find a partner that has expertise that can help balance out your strengths in design.
Who influenced you in your career?
We would both say in the last few years, it was each other. Mathilde comes from a communications background at a large bank, and Nicole was a Marketing Strategist. We both underwent a career pivot to create Holdur. Mathilde’s passion for design, combined with Nicole’s love for brand development made the perfect recipe for Holdur. We both took the risk and left our old world to create something we believed in, something we felt was missing in the market. If we hadn’t been on exactly the same page, with the same motivation to follow our passion, Holdur would have never existed.
What skill set is needed to do what you do?
Flexibility, being fearless and trying new things (constantly!), self-motivation, creativity, respectfully able to challenge ideas, and being genuine. Be true to yourself and be true to the brand you are creating. Live it with every decision you make.
What’s the most common misconception people have regarding your industry?
That it’s all about the fun events and glam moments. What goes on behind a fashion show event, for example, are countless hours of design, production, preparation, co-ordination… so much passion & effort go into every piece, that it’s not always obvious looking at a finished product. We have countless prototypes for each Holdur item, reflecting our constant push to creating the best products for our clients. It’s kind of like giving birth—we incubate our designs, fostering & nurturing them, until they are ready to hatch!
What’s the best career advice you ever received?
“Don’t be afraid to try- you will always fail if you don’t try”. Starting a new venture, for both of us, posed a lot of unknowns. We both came from big companies where we had the shelter of organizational structure. We left the security of corporate life and took the plunge into entrepreneurship. We are both so lucky to have families who gave us push we needed to take the risk, who believed in our vision for Holdur, and continue to provide advice and emotional support when we need it. It’s amazing to us that we were able to get to this point, and we are so excited about the future for Holdur!