The Two of Us | Desley Maidment + Brigitte MacGowan
For friends Desley Maidment and Brigette MacGowan, the design of their wonderful State of Escape bags was built around their kitchen table. That was almost five years ago - the pair have turned what was a concept of discovery and wonder of neoprene fabrication, into a thriving business. They share with us the joys of woking as a team and the future for their beautiful and timeless bags.
When did the idea first strike to start State of Escape? Desley: It all started with the fabric. Brigitte could foresee a more beautiful use for the fabric taking into account the structure and form that this particular fabrication offered.
Brigette: When we discovered the fabric! We'd been looking at the material for another project, but when we had the samples, we knew there was so much more we could do with the material. What that was we had no idea at the time!
Desley: We both jumped in together! We discovered an opportunity to create a totally unique offering to the market.
Brigette: We really loved the research that’s required to start any new business.
Was it an easy transition to adjust from your previous roles? Desley: Yes, it was the perfect new project for me having left my career in HR and Fashion Recruitment to start a family. I was looking to be involved in something completely different whilst utilising some of my experience.
Brigette: It was an easy transition as I’d been working with my husband Hamish for the past six years on our wine brand Angus the Bull. It was just the two of us so I understood the nature of small business. Prior to that I’d been working in design agencies.
When did you first think, ‘this could be a success’? Desley: Fairly soon after we completed sampling. We had close friends including industry people we respected who gave us such positive feedback on the originality and beauty of the Escape bag, we felt like it was worth getting out there on a much grander scale.
What’s the best part about being in a partnership with a close friend? Desley: Trust and respect. We value each other’s contributions enormously and respect each other’s opinions. Not to mention we have a lot of fun along the way. We share similar values with a good dose of humour. Necessary in any business to ride the waves.
Brigette: We laugh, we cry and at the end of the day have an enormous amount of respect for each other. I couldn’t have done it without Dee.
Brigitte, what do you most admire about Desley? Her sheer determination and focus. Dee is one of the most ethical and driven women I know.
Desley, what’s one vital element that Brigette brings to your partnership? Creativity with passion. Brig is one of the most determined, admirable and clever women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with. State of Escape has been an incredible success story due to her committed creative direction and inherent sense for what our brand offers – it’s an enabler for a life lived well.
What are you both loving at the moment? Desley: House of Cards, Apple music, subscription to Architectural Digest, Sydney super sunny days and researching for my trip overseas – business & pleasure, I can’t wait!
Brigette: Poke bowls (Dee introduced Poke to me when we were in LA and now I’m obsessed!), the latest season of Suits, the feeling of Spring in the air, the label Off White and time spent in my studio - it’s my sanctuary.
What are you looking forward to this year? Desley: The execution of some exciting new ventures and the release of new product – all of which will be incredible for the ongoing growth of the brand.
Brigette: I’ve had so much fun with our latest bag design and can’t wait to share it.