It's officially the last day of 2021 and what a year it has been! It's crazy to think that 12 months have passed, and so much has happened in that time. Our Bags of Joy club has doubled in size, now standing at over 3100 members strong, which we are thrilled to bits about as we've welcomed so many more members into our wonderful world of Joy.
Over the past 12 months, new relationships have formed, bonds have grown stronger, meet ups have taken place, famous faces have worn our bags, we've partied on Zoom - and finally in person! - new staff members have started at Joy HQ, the product range has expanded and we even had our first BoJ wedding!
We’ve laughed, we’ve upped our photography skills, we’ve become creative geniuses and we’ve probably told more white lies to our other halves than we’d planned, but most importantly, we’ve felt the joy!
So sit back, relax, and let's take a look back at an overview of the year and see what the main highlights were...
January Blues who?! We swung into action with a sale, allowing everyone the chance to snap up a special to add a little joy to the bleakest month of the year! We waved goodbye to the Dahlia Bloom as we made way for new, and we talked all things handbag hygiene, ensuring everyone was giving their bags a little TLC so they were shiny & sparkly for the year ahead.
The first quarter kickstarted in style, with the official launch of Quarter 1 with another legendary zoom party, this time featuring none other than a real life Loose Woman, Andrea McLean! We could hear squeals of delight from all corners of the country as we officially launched the Fern Tote as the first complimentary bag of the year, with you all rushing to SHoops to secure yours as quickly as possible! A huge hit from the get-go, it has remained a firm favourite through the year (and we can’t wait to show to what it’s coming in in Q1 of 2022!)
Brand new colours of cadillac, pineapple, porcelain and bluebell were introduced to the range, and so began bluebell-mania with many of our customers! 💙 We kicked off our themes with Sex & The City, followed up by a week of celebrating all things Scotland, in honour of Burns night.
After a year of mostly working from home and not being in our usual routines, we decided to get our bums into gear and get fit together, so the Bags of Joy SHifts & SHapes group was born! A group of us came together to provide motivation, encouragement and inspiration for each other to either lose a few pounds or generally just get fitter. Martina even took the role of Mrs Motivator, holding weekly zoom dance exercise classes, and we all had a fab time bopping about to 80s hits 🎶
After a busy end to 2020 and a January that went past before our eyes, we decided that it was time to get a little extra help in the office, so along came customer service & marketing assistants, Bryony & Sophie. The girls had just recently graduated from uni, but it wasn't long at all until they found their feet and were fully immersed in our world of joy and handbags.
Love was well & truly in the air as we celebrated Valentine's Day, and we even treated the men in our life to a little gift in the form of a complimentary leather card holder. Any excuse for a SHoops, right?! But the best part was celebrating Galentines, where a group of club members exchanged messages in a bottle through the post with each other, further strengthening the bonds already made and creating new ones!
Other themes included rock'n'roll, childhood movies and travel through European cities. We had a Valentine’s competition and as always, the creativity in the entries was outstanding!
The much anticipated moc croc Dahlias made their debut in the range in sumptuous shades of merlot, praline and midnight. We also introduced you to SHape Tassels and Chunky Chains, both which have remained firm favourites in the range!
For the final month of quarter 1, there was no slowing down on the excitement! We made the exciting announcement that the brains behind the brand, Sarah Haran herself, had been accepted onto Walpole's Brands of Tomorrow programme, set up to nurture and guide 12 of Britain’s most innovative fledging luxury companies, providing them with the skills and support needed to navigate the ongoing challenges of retail, ecommerce and beyond. Now at the end of the year, the program is complete, and many doors have been opened to our brand which we are hugely grateful for.
Since the term SHoops was coined in December 2020, 'SH' suddenly seemed to appear in a variety of different words! So we launched our first Sarah Haran ditSHionary, filled with words and phrases that are now synonymous with the Bags of Joy members! Very fitting after we had just launched our much loved SHoops tassel 😀
The 'must have' bag became the Exotic Lux Ivy, with it becoming the fastest selling Limited Edition of the whole year! Marie landed in new colours and almost everyone added one to their collection, being blown away by just how much the little 'tardis' could hold. And the luck of the Irish was in for us all when St Patrick's Day came around and we launched Clover in a brand new embossed print 🍀 Jasmine landed in new shades, we introduced the pop of colour chain strap to the restyle collection and the super cute Trinket Tassels arrived, perfect for storing face-masks, poo-bags, airpods or other trinkets.
We celebrated International Women's Day and Mother's Day, honouring the most inspirational and influential women in our lives, and gave away complimentary hand-painted notelets for mum. Other weekly themes including books, board games and the 80's. Quarter 1 was coming to an end, so we launched our first ever Customer of the Month incentive, with the lovely Tracy Gordon taking the crown, and our first ever Pet of the Month, with Princess Coco being our pawfect winner!
Spring had sprung as we flew into Quarter 2, and it wouldn't be the start of a quarter without one of our famous Zoom parties. Our guest of honour this month was none other than TV & radio sensation, Jenni Falconer, who is also a huge fan of our bags. The Violet launched in brand new colours as the complimentary bag for the quarter ahead, and due to the popularity of the Exclusive Edits, we launched our first ever Bundles of Joy, a more permeant feature on the website to help inspire SHoopsies.
We celebrated our birthday as April 1st marked a full year since Bags of Joy officially began, and we looked back on the previous 12 months with fond memories, quite astounded at how far the brand had come and by how much our club had flourished!
It was accessory mania with our product launches this month, which included our exquisite jewellery range, with our interchangeable Charms of Joy and link chains proving incredibly popular with our customers. Icicle tassels arrived which were warmly received (pun indented!), and we introduced you to the much loved ball chains & link chains, beautifully complimenting our Violets. Fern arrived in new shades of dusky pink & olive, and Michelle arrived in bluebell, tan and berry.
But the highlight of the month for many was the new colours of the shagreen Ivy, with natural, pink and olive flying out of the door quicker than they arrived! Mia made her official debut as a detective with her first ever Mia's Mysteries, and has continued to tease the club through the remainder of the year!
The lovely Peni Higgins was crowned customer of the month, and for our weekly themes we celebrated Easter, looked back at the history of handbags, went on an American road trip and got all green fingers in the garden 💐
By popular demand, we relaunched our merino-cashmere wraps in sumptuous new shades. We further expanded our jewellery range, with bracelets, earrings and pendants that beautifully encompassed the Sarah Haran lifestyle. We talked about all things zen, and launched a wonderfully calming SHleep spray and mask to help make the most of those 40 winks. New pop of colour pompom tassels arrived, along with new Jasmines, and we launched our brand new Joy on Sunday mailer which has remained a permanent weekly feature!
But who could forget the exotic launch?! It remains our biggest launch in hiSHtory, with the majority of the Joy Squad nearly breaking the website to get their hands on Jasmines, Ivys, Gemini Straps and Pompom Tassels in the most wonderful embossed exotic leathers!
And we had our first ever SHwap SHop, where VIP members came together to shwap, sell and swoon over other members pre-loved bags and accessories. We gave away free water bottles with orders, had a bank holiday weekend bonanza, and ran weekly themes including retro sweets, exotic travel destinations and birthstones & gems.
Not forgetting the launch of our 30 day combo challenge, where the Joy Squad members had endless fun creating new bag combinations each day in line with our weekly themes. The lovely Linda Benton was crowned our winner, with our fabulous Maimoona scooping the customer of the month award!
And just like that, we were almost half way through the year! We welcomed much loved styles of Iris, Michelle and Fern in brand new colours much to everyone's delight, and in celebration of summer, we added sunglasses in 4 stunning styles. Our new Infinity belts also landed, further expanding the Sarah Haran lifestyle range 😎
It was time to get organised as we added small leather goods to the range in the form of jewellery boxes, organising cases, purses and cosmetics bags.
Our beloved Dahlia 2-in-1 tote arrived in sellout shades of bluebell, aubergine, chocolate and porcelain, and the love for Dahlia Mini soon grew tenfold when we introduced bluebell crocco, grey exotic and berry to the range, with mini decos and Lily's arriving to beautifully compliment them.
June saw us kickstart our Joy movement, to stamp out the negativity that we hear so much of in our daily lives, and many of us sent messages of positivity through pictures of what we were grateful for! Themes included cocktails, pub quizzes, insects and murder mysteries, with Moira Brown being crowned our customer of the month of June!
Quarter 2 then came to an end, and you've guessed it, we had another zoom party 🎉 This time we were joined by a wonderfully special guest, Corrine Hutton, who was the first ever quadruple amputee in the UK! Her story was simply incredible, and certainly put a lot of things into perspective for many of us.
Well who could forget July when we had full on wedding fever! Our first ever Bags of Joy wedding took place, with Martina walking down the aisle to marry Rob, with many of the Joy Squad being able to watch the full ceremony via Zoom. It was incredibly special being able to celebrate the day with our extended BoJ family, many of whom shared simply beautiful photos and memories of their own weddings from years gone by. And as if that wasn't enough excitement, we also found out that the first BoJ baby was on the way, with Martina & Rob expecting their very own Bundle of Joy in January 2022.
The canvas Fern was launched as our complimentary bag for the quarter which was a roaring success, answering many of your handbag woes of needing a stylish bag to use on occasions such as beach or park trips, that wouldn't get dirty or tarnished. We teamed up with super fan and super talented jewel-smith, Sarah McAleer, to launch a stunning selection of charms to sit within our jewellery offering.
Marie's arrived in brand new textures of leopard and multi-shagreen, life gave us lemons in the form of a sellout Ivy, we delighted you with 4 brand new limited editions, and we welcomed Jessica in new shades of duck egg, tan and electric.
Our themes for the month - apart from weddings, of course! - included under the sea and British TV shows, with Wimbledon fever being a huge hit at the start of the month. The ever joyful Julie Dixon was announced as our customer of the month for July.
And at the end of the month, we directed and shot our first photoshoot in quite some time (thanks to the restrictions) in preparation for our first ever brochure, with our very own Cindy Robb coming along to be a fabulous model!
August was an exciting month at Joy HQ as we launched our Chrysanthea bag with our absolutely amazing brand ambassador and friend of the brand, Anthea Turner. A shoulder bag designed with the same versatility and practicality as the other bags in the range, it was a huge hit with our customers and even featured in some national newspapers & glossies! And thanks to your feedback, we made our first ever deco popper connector strip, allowing you to attach 2 Ivy's together and attach an Ivy to your Chrysanthea.
We teamed up with local entrepreneur, Eva, who designed and handmade the most beautiful Mermaid Tassels and earrings in eye catching colours with the most intricate of detailing. Jasmine launched in a brand new embossed suede basket weave in stunning shades of shadow and nude, making the perfect bag for summer parties and weddings.
We welcomed brand new suede additions to the range, with Ivy's, Gemini Straps and Pompom Tassels which went down an absolute treat! Clover arrived in new colours and our clever little foldable glasses case made its debut in the range too!
Themes for the month included chocolates, Wonders of the World, Disney princesses and country flags, with Julie Marks taking the crown of customer of the month for August. We all attended a biology lesson on the birds & the bees as new deco poppers and studs arrived, but 5 months on and we're all still confused 😆
We kicked off the final month of quarter 3 with brand new colours of Fern, and Limited Edition Ivy's. Michelle landed in bright pops of pillarbox red and tangerine, and the Penny Pouchette finally launched in different colours and prints, both with and without flowers thanks to your feedback, and Jade & Primrose landed in brand new colours.
Our personalised moc croc Dahlia range launched, with a very select number of customers managing to get a limited edition moc croc bag with their initials embossed on the inside.
Bryony & Sophie joined creative forces to launch their 'combos of the week', posting pictures of different combinations every Tuesday and Friday to inspire you all to add to or style your collection.
Themes included Strictly Come Dancing (we even spotted a red Dahlia on Strictly professional, Ola Jordan!) , iconic women, dogs and exotic birds, with the serial joker, Ellen Babes, being crowned our customer of the month!
And of course the only way to finish the quarter was to hold yet another legendary Zoom event, this time with none other than the fashion director of The Times herself, Anna Murphy! She taught us to go bold & beautiful and be brave with our fashion choices, and pick styles and colours that make us happy and confident. Duly noted!
We rolled into the month of October with the launch of our beautiful little Blossom bag as the complimentary bag for the final quarter of 2021! Perfect for the party season, we also introduced 4 brand new brooches that dressed little Blossom up, along with some fabulous flaps to totally change her look!
We officially completed our first ever SH brochure, which was mailed all over the country and flew through everyone's letterboxes, causing much excitement. The feedback was fabulous, and we are excited to create more of these in 2022.
Fluffy mania came into full force when we launched our faux fur stoles, muffs and pompoms. And as the days became shorter and the temperature became colder, we thought it was only right to launch our merino coatigans and scarves! Our beloved animal print Ivy's arrived in brand new colourways of red zebra, sky blue leopard, lilac leopard, yellow leopard and electric blue spot, proving to be a roaring success!
Jasmine arrived in some fabulous new colours along with a full restock of our moc croc and anaconda Dahlias. You all went crazy for the limited edition Ivy's in winter spice & autumn ombre moc croc, not forgetting the favourite aqua python, and everyone was delighted when the pink, natural and multi shagreen made a return too! We gave away free jewellery boxes and square scarves with orders of certain items, and had our first blackout at the end of the month with spooky savings off our black bags 🖤
We had brand new patterns of webbing straps arrive, proving a huge hit to add a more casual look to our bags, and the ever useful Magic Multi Strap arrived in 3 new colours too.
In the spooky spirit of Halloween, we ran a month long competition where everyone had to dress their bag up each day. The entries were fantastic, with Lorna Buttress being our winner!
Other themes including Harry Potter, Great British Bake Off and musicals. A wonderfully fun month all round, with our Great Bags of Joy Baker, Debbie Colinswood, being crowned our customer of the month!
November was certainly a month to remember as we launched our Winter Brights range! A collection bursting with brand new colours featuring Dahlias, Ivy's, Gemini Straps, Pompom Tassels and Deco Strips that created the most wonderful of combinations, and we opened the door to Sarah's bag bar where you could mix and match your Ivy's and Dahlia's for the first time in hiSHtory!
Marie arrived in bright pops of new, as well as Michelle and Iris. We had new colours of Primrose & Jade arrived, and we lit up our joy with the addition of locally sourced, soya wax candles in incredible scents of Christmas Spice, Fireside and Citrus Bloom. Brand new SHape tassels hit down in fabulous new colourways, looking super cute on everyone's bags!
We boycotted Black Friday, instead opting for Bright Friday, and had great fun with the Bags of Joy club running some fabulous offers over the course of the week. We had some insanely good offers running on moc crocs, Jasmines and Ivy's, rounding off the week with a super saving of an extra 10% off our sale!
Themes for the month included fireworks, winter brights and the circus, and the combination queen herself, Sara Bucknall, was named as our wonderful customer of the month!
And just like that, we were into the final month of the final quarter and it was joyful jingle bells as we got well and truly into the Christmas spirit with loads going on to keep the club entertained! The naughty elves made their way off the shelf and caused daily havoc with competitions and offers galore. We had bake offs, photo contests, dress up competitions and even got the pets involved!
We introduced our exclusive Circle of Joy leather tassel as a prize to our competition winners, of which we saw 12 through the month, although every entry was a winner in our eyes! The bag-in-bag inserts and SHapers finally arrived, after months of patiently waiting, and you ladies snapped them up for your Dahlias, Ferns and Michelle's to help keep yourselves organised and make swapping between bags even easier.
But the highlight of the month had to be our Bags of Joy meet up in London. Months in the planning, we finally managed to safely execute a face-to-face meet at the V&A Handbags Inside Out Exhibition, followed by a lunch where we could chat amongst ourselves and put faces to names of ladies we had spent almost 2 years getting to know via the Bags of Joy Facebook group. We showed those attending samples of new things to come, and gathered feedback to improve and grow the current range - an important exercise for us to always get first hand input from the people actually using our products.
Sarah finally managed to meet Anthea face to face and had a lovely Christmassy gettogether, and we were delighted to spy a Chrysanthea bag on none other than national treasure, Kate Garraway.
In the spirit of Christmas, we gave away complimentary Christmas tree decorations in the form of reformed & exclusive icicle tassels to all orders over £100. Themes included the Enchanted Forrest, Christmas Confectionary and Christmas Characters, and we introduced lasering of initials across some of our small leather goods, making the perfect gift for people for the festive season!
Lee Young rightfully took our final Customer of the Month crown of the year and we released tickets for our January Q1 launch event with TV and cookery sensation, Tonia Buxton, to give everyone something to look forward to and beat the January blues!
And so there you have it - our joyful round up of 2021! An incredible year with so many things to talk about, it was almost impossible to narrow it down into one article. It's been simply wonderful having you all along for the ride with us, and we do hope that you will stay with us for the next leg of our journey in 2022, as there is so much still to come!
We will be kicking off Quarter 1 on Thursday 13th January with our VIP Zoom Launch Party with special guest Tonia Buxton - tickets are now available to VIP's via the VIP clubroom. We will be introducing you to a brand new complimentary bag, and showing you what's new for the quarter ahead.
So thank you all for the ongoing support, encouragement and sheer joy you have given us this year. We cannot express our gratitude enough, but nothing is quite so special as seeing the relationships and bonds formed within our club. When you shop with us, you aren't just getting yourself a new handbag, but you are making new friends, and we can't wait to see how the club blossoms next year.
Wishing you all a year full of health, happiness and prosperity 🥂
Love from all at Joy HQ xxx