Imby Langenbach’s sense of enthusiasm and love for her range of leather goods (her ‘ladies’) is nothing short of infectious. Although having sold predominantly online since founding her label KARMME, she recently took her ladies offline for the night, hosting an event for her Perth customers. We spoke to Imby about the event as well as discovered a little more about the designer behind the label.
Can you tell us a little about the event you recently held for your customers in Perth?
I had an idea to organise a touch and feel night a while ago. I’m originally from Perth so KARMME has a large and growing following over there thanks to word of mouth started by family and friends. I wanted mostly to thank everyone in Perth for their support as my business has grown and also give them the opportunity to feel all the leathers I work with, touch the KARMME ladies and take a little bit of our story away with them after the night.
I understand that when people buy online sometimes they want to see, touch and feel the products and because I don’t have a physical store I wanted to give them that opportunity.
The Shibori leather range was something I wanted to highlight on the night. I get to see it every day, but for customers to marvel at it on a hide gives so much more meaning to the end product that is my clutch.
I was blown away by the warm, encouraging and supportive women that surrounded me and showered me with kind words about my business. It was slightly overwhelming, but mostly heart warming. Working by myself, I often am guided only by social media interaction so it was nice to hear ‘real people’ give me such positive feedback about my product and brand.
You’ve made the conscious decision to only sell direct from your own website. In light of this decision, can you talk a little about the importance for an online business like KARMME to get out and meet your customers face to face?
Yes, it’s a decision I made very early on. I was approached by quite a few really beautiful boutiques and online stores about stocking KARMME. At first I couldn’t have kept up with the volume of orders but as my business grew I realised how important it is to me that KARMME customers have a purchasing experience that ensures a beautifully packaged clutch with a hand written note is delivered to them, and they receive something that is not only beautiful once opened but presented beautifully too.
My first KARMME gathering was a little bit out of my comfort zone but also affirming in that my brand is received exactly as I hoped it would be. I hope to do one in Sydney for the same reasons. I know I love meeting the maker behind the brands I choose to support and it seems like others think the same.
How to you create a great product shot?
I am very fortunate to work with Luisa Brimble who is a superb photographer and has a great eye for what to capture and how to make KARMME shine. I think simple, meaningful and authentic images will always get people’s attention.
We like to weave a story when we do a look book shoot and when I take images for social media, mostly there is a story attached. Those who are interested in my work are also interested in the creative process or story of KARMME. It’s not just another product shot to me, I want to always give my audience something on top of that, a back story if you like.
Can you tell us about the first piece of fashion you ever loved?
Ironically I have never been ‘into’ fashion. My sister was a model and always into clothes, I wore the same pair of shorts to uni nearly every day for three years, so it’s quite funny that I have found myself in the ‘fashion industry’.
I made a lot of my clothes. I do remember making a mint green pencil skirt with a coordinated white and mint print blouse to wear to my year 7 dance and I thought it was the height of fashion. A little bit of mum’s shell pink eyeshadow and white pumps, ha! The eighties- probably all back in fashion now!
What’s on your desk right now?
Old takeaway coffee cups, scissors, lip balm, order book, bills and new batch of watercolour leather yet to be unrolled – that is a boring answer!
What did your last 24 hours look like?
I have three children so each 24 hours feels like 48…
Yoga Monday morning- my only constant form of exercise and now can’t live without it. Back to studio to catch up on orders, cutting, sewing, prepping, wrapping, sending them.
Emails, food for afternoon tea, dance drop offs, shops, walk to Coogee with the puppy to check out the swell from storms, dinner prep, dance pick up, feed children, homework, emails, news, talk to husband, read, sleep, wake up and start again! 🙂