Today we’d like to introduce you to Rakiya Trout.
Rakiya, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Well, my starting of BagLady really has a funny story to it. I am an Apparel and Merchandising major super into fashion and expressing myself, and a sewing class was required for my major so I was super down to learn a new skill. I didn’t know what we would actually be creating in the class I thought it would be basic things, come to find out my professor Diane Goldstein who is just the sweetest lady you would ever meet, let us know we would be creating handbags.
Lit so we created like two different bags a tote and a pencil case. The tote is really what got me going the pattern on my fabric was super fly and after I finished it I couldn’t put it down I was super proud of myself. Fast forward to like maybe a week after, I scooped two of my homegirls and we were about to go thrifting but we just chilled in my car for minute and smoked (mom and dad if y’all read this, I’m sorry) aha and I remember pulling the bag out the trunk and showing them what I made and they were super surprised they thought it was dope. I can’t remember the whole conversation but we were just throwing ideas out and I think one of them said I should start selling them. I’m in the car like nahhh but then two seconds later, I’m like if I did what would name it? Then, boom BagLady comes to mind and I’m like yoooo that’s it, I’m gonna call it bag lady. I really loved the name because of the song Bag lady by Erykah Badu been in love with her music since I came out of the womb and had to run with it. I started this business in the month of March. After that day of hanging out, I was eager to get this started, I deadass went home and watched tutorials on YouTube all night trying to learn how to sew different types of bags. Boom after I watched em I was ready to get started but didn’t have a sewing machine, I asked my grandma if she had one, aunts, and friends none of them had one but I didn’t let that stop me. I kept asking and then, I remember my cousin Morgan was also a fashion major and I tapped in with her and found out she had one! When I tell you, I jumped for joy man it was go time. I picked that jawn up like the next day. My bestie Jalin is a graphic designer and I let him know I needed a logo ASAP and he got that done for me the next day it and I loved it so much when he showed it to me. I started feeling real official shoutout to my guy, when I got home I got right to it created my first mini duffel bag, messenger bag, and fanny pack. Literally, I didn’t wanna sleep but sewing machines are dummy loud aha and my mama wasn’t haven’t it so I had to relax but, I’m super grateful for my cousin Morgan allowing me to adopt her machine because it’s literally my baby now. BagLady was history.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Omg, definitely hasn’t been a smooth road. I am still out here trying to figure it out. During my journey of bag making, even though I have only been doing this for five months, I ran into certain struggles along the way. One of the things I really struggled with self doubt not really believing in myself or talents, I compared myself to other people and was a little discouraged because I wasn’t selling as much as I thought I would. And wasn’t getting a lot of noise from some of the people close to me. I had to learn that the only person I needed approval from was myself, and the only person who needed to be live in me was MYSELF. Another thing that probably wasn’t easy to control was time, at the time, I was working a job part-time, a full-time student, and commuting back forth from Northridge to Long Beach. It was difficult to put time aside to attend my bag business without always being tired from work, or having to do homework, or commute for 2 hrs. this was super aggy. I didn’t allow that to stop me at all, I was like you know what I need to make that time to do what I love and that’s what I did. I wanna say for the people who feel like they are on edge and feel like they wanna give up DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT! Literally quitting gets you nothing it just puts you back at square one. It’s really a marathon, not a race something that clicked after the Great Nip Hussle passed away. You have to realize everything happens FOR you not TO you. When you realize your old paths were filled with lessons that helped you grow roots, you will then begin to see your new path filled with opportunities for expansion. I learned to grow out of that weak mindset and I’m definitely not the same person I was five months ago, you’re not supposed to be you need to grow every single day. Advice to my young female entrepreneurs just getting started or already in the game, is really just to just do it if that’s something you wanna do it don’t ask for approval from anybody else but yourself, keep going no matter how hard it gets, stay focused, keep grinding, keep believing, keep dreaming. Really sit down with yourself and create a plan for your business. You got this.
We’d love to hear more about BagLady.
So, I really like to say I make custom hand make bags because I don’t really mass produce I feel a connection to a bag more when I’m actually making it for someone else. It really brings me joy, so to start, I ask my customer what colors or patterns they would like they let me know and I head out to find that fabric for them probably the funniest part is searching for fabric it gives me the feeling of being a kid in the candy store. After I show them what I have picked out I get to it, I make my patterns myself and measurements for the bags and cut them out so I can use them to start making the bags. So, I cut, create, and hand the bag off. From the ground up. I’ve had people tell me they trust me and don’t even want to give a certain color they just say you got it and that makes me feel all mushy aha that’s when I really have to put my game face on. The BagLady! All in all, what I’m most proud of is my growth in putting my business out there, and all the dope bags I have created. It’s really not a lot of people out here doing what I am and doing it like I am. They can be doing the same thing but can’t do it like me and I say that humbly. I plan on continuing the BagLady business and really building it. Being an African American woman, I feel like I have to set it off and put my foot in the door I want to be able to create opportunities for other women as well. What sets me apart is my creative mind and swag, I can picture how a bag will turn out before I even put it together, I really have an eye and I think that’s just the fashion side of me I love dope things and I want to create that for other people. I have a shoe brand coming soon as well just work on that and I wanna be able to collaborate that with BagLady. My shoe brand to look out for will be called Divine333’s. 🙂
Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Growing up, I’ve always been a creative kid over time, I knew my career had to involve being or doing something creative. Really just knowing that set me up, I still to this day don’t actually know what I want to do, I’m just riding my creative wave.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: BagLady___
- Twitter: _rakiyaa