Mum, cyclist, entrepreneur and Head of Footwear and Accessories Trends at WGSN, Jacqui Ma is probably one the trendiest people on the planet. Having studied business and industrial design in Australia and Paris, Jacqui has had a fruitful career in fashion and design, and is now also the proud founder of fledgling cycle-friendly bag company Goodordering. Practical, fashionable, and most importantly, wonderfully retro, their well-designed bags are seriously trendy, whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a dedicated pedestrian.
Functional but chic, East London-based Goodordering came into being with a little help from crowdfunding site Kickstarter. They make a whole bunch of stuff including pencil cases, market shoppers, bicycle panniers and handlebar bags, and we sell some of their products on our site. The bags themselves come in a wonderful array of colours, from forest green to chestnut. They’re also super retro, and inspired by Japanese schoolbags. These beautiful creations make the most of their space with a whole stash of pockets both inside and out. Some of them even come complete with colourful ReTrak handsfree sets. And if you’re not into bikes? They could still be just the thing you need for picnics, your commute, or maybe even popping to the shops.
We spoke to Goodordering founder Jacqui Ma about backpacks, bikes and business:
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I am an accessories designer, mother, businesswoman and home handyman. I think of myself as very practical and a bit of a workaholic. I am Australian and having been living in London for over 10 years. My partner is Swedish and I also speak French, Mandarin and a bit of Swedish. So this international background has shaped how I see things (I think!) and made my taste a mix of lots of different influences. For example I love the Swedish design aesthetic and see many similarities in Japanese products. I studied product design at University in Australia but now work in fashion so I feel that many areas in the creative industries overlap.
How did you come to set up Goodordering?
I live above a bicycle shop on Broadway market, East London. Every morning I would hear the clinking of the bicycles being unchained, people pumping up their tyres and chatter about bikes. I had been designing bags for Puma for a number of years and before that, luggage for Debenhams as well as freelance for various brands. Eventually I thought it was time to do my own thing. I raised money through Kickstarter, the crowd-funding platform, this allowed me to start the project. It seemed obvious to design bike bags and specifically with women in mind. I knew the bicycle thing was booming so I thought I this would be a good area to start with.
How do you come up with a new product?
I ride my bicycle to work every day and I’m always keeping an eye on not just what people are wearing – clothing and bags, but also how they are wearing it. I think about forms and shapes that I like and with my experience in trends try to make it commercial and practical as well. For the most recent addition to the range – the pencil case, I wanted a small style which people could buy as presents but also wanted to link it back to my original inspiration of the school bag and classic retro shapes. I can’t design lots of different styles due to manufacturing constraints so every new style I introduce must be very well thought out.
What was the inspiration for the Eye Spy Backpack?
My partner Mia is an illustrator and cartoonist who depicts our life through a series of slightly embarrassing comics. She helps with Goodordering in every way from postage to accounts and sales. As a costume designer as well, it seemed obvious to collaborate on a bag together. We had been noticing eyes everywhere on accessories so thought it would be fun to bring the bags to life a bit.
How did you choose the colour palette for the latest range?
As the bag range was inspired by Japanese school bags and retro luggage, the four colours I launched with are inspired by school colours. My school uniform was maroon and I love these colours and how they take me down memory lane to my time at school. On a practical level, I wanted to have a range which would be non-seasonal, classic and could be sold for a long time without looking too dated.
What are your inspirations?
My inspirations are fashion, art and design. For Goodordering the inspirational is all about retro sports fashion and the borders where these three areas meet. I love simple form, bold colour blocking, hybrid fashion and in terms of mood and styling I love awkward forms, jarring colour combinations, ’80s, ’90s and basically all things with a geeky feel. My favourite word of the moment is ‘Awkward!’ I am also very into Etsy and slightly addicted to Pinterest. I find lots of inspiration in things I happen upon by accident. I love the way people mix up their look based on their lifestyle. A mum rushing out the door wears heels and a beanie because it’s practical. I love accidentally fashion.
What projects do you have on the horizon?
I am currently designing a kid’s backpack with detachable leash (for parents) and loads of reflective detailing. Also a new male-oriented style for the boys. It is a landscape record bag style that can also be attached to a bicycle. As an accessory I plan on introducing an organisational insert which can be used to add extra functionality to the backpack for example allowing it to be used as a camera bag. Goodordering bags are all about versatility, practicality and multi-functionality. These days I feel that people don’t need a sports bag, a work bag and a travel bag as three separate bags. They want one which fulfils all of their needs because they hop from one thing to another throughout a typical day. I like to think of my bags in relation to the people using them rather than individual features. A cyclist may also be a parent and a freelancer for example. This opens up a lot of inspiration for how to design the bag.
Have you always been interested in retro?
Yes. I always loved my parent’s old Samsonite luggage and I absolutely go weak at the knees for Tuppaware, Fisherprice and Dymo labelling. I also love ‘retro’ style mixed up with modern aesthetics such as Muji, Mac and Celine.
What kind of bike do you own?
I have a fixed gear bicycle that my friend Kathryn from the bike shop downstairs built for me. I have no idea of the technical details other than to say that its beige and I can wear work clothes and cruise around town without working up a sweat on it.
What do you like most about working at WGSN?
Working at WGSN means I am surrounded by really inspirational and talented people all day. I get access to a lot of interesting brands and news on a daily basis and I get to polish my fashion crystal ball by attending fashion shows, tradeshows and combing through amazing blogs all day. Whats not to like?
You can find out more about Goodordering at Goodordering.com.