Lloyd Rayner is the co-founder of British brand Kurtis Paul, a luxury brand that decided to take fashion to another level. The successful entrepreneur opens up about his career, working with his brother and how they established inspirational brand Kurtis Paul.
Your brand Kurtis Paul is a luxury men’s fashion brand specializing in crafted bags and accessories. How did everything start?
The brand was established in 2015 by two brothers from Manchester who felt the frustrations of the current luggage market. Being avid travellers, we had tried and tested a wide spectrum of the market and found there were generally two classes: the high street where low quality had almost become accepted and the designer brands where most of the costs were nested in the brand name and not necessarily the product. Kurtis Paul challenges this. It is our driving force to create beautiful products at a reasonable price without a compromise on quality. As an example, our recent Canvas Collection is crafted from a super thick 20oz canvas fabric. The market generally uses a fabric between 13-18oz. We chose this material to ensure the collection has a durable longevity and has a build quality we are happy to put our names on it.
Was the plan always to do something with bags?
From the onset, we have been focused that our core range will be luggage. We have a real fascination with their versatility and the functional design sits really well with our core beliefs. Kurtis Paul is a brand who believes that products should be created to fulfill a purpose, we don’t agree with ‘product for products sake’. With luggage, this couldn't be more true, each bag has a unique function. Take for instance the much-loved backpack its design is perfectly suited to activities whereby the arms need to be free. One of the motivators for Kurtis and I entering the luggage market was that we had used many of the products already out there. This ‘testing’ have us real insight into how to make things better and it gave Kurtis Paul a solid base on which to build.
What was your vision when starting this business?
Our vision was and always will be, to add value. We want Kurtis Paul to become the brand people think of when they need high quality, luxury fashion accessories.
How do you describe the gentleman wearing a Kurtis Paul bag?
The Kurtis Paul gentleman is referred to as 'The Modern Gentleman'. This man is someone who holds themselves in high regards and has a determination to become the best version of himself. He is motivated and committed to living life to the fullest. He understands that the future is fully within his control and spends much of his down time on self-development. The modern gentleman enjoys the beauty the world has to offer and takes great satisfaction in experiencing different cultures, he believes that it is our individuality that makes us who we are and by understanding cultural variance he can better understand his peers. The modern gentleman takes pride in the way he presents himself, always wanting to be on form he ensures his fitness is maintained. He has a very busy schedule and knows that a healthy body is required to keep his energy levels at their greatest levels.
You run this family business with Kurtis Rayner, your brother. How does It feel to work with your brother?
Working with your brother is really interesting. Naturally, we have had very similar upbringings and this really helps when it comes to decision-making. We generally have the same values and beliefs. Obviously at times, it can prove more difficulties than others but we are a close family and we know how to push each other’s buttons. At times, we can wind each other up (on purpose).
What are your biggest inspirations?
My biggest inspiration is that of Steve Jobs at Apple. He took a relatively un-sexy product and made it into a beautiful piece of art. I think for any artist this is the goal. To take something every-day and give it a lease of life that will change the world forever.
What motivates you to do this job?
The best feeling in the world is seeing something you have dedicated endless hours to designing turn into a tangible product. Every time I see one of the Kurtis Paul products I get a great sense of pride and accomplishment. It is that feeling that keeps me going.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the stamina of our team, they are totally dedicated to the cause and are tirelessly motivated to create something meaningful. It is the combined hard work of everyone that means we have a range of products that look beautiful and integrate seamlessly with the next.
What do you hope to achieve with your creations?
The aim is to make the luggage market a more fashionable place. Historically luggage has been great at one thing to fulfill a task. We hope to achieve a shift in culture whereby people expect more from their luggage. We want to create a world where a bag isn't just meant to carry a person’s belongings but also does it with flair, style and passion. We want to create a market where people are proud to showcase their bags.
Of all your designs what’s your favorite one? And why?
I am a bit of a gym freak… So, I would have to say that my favorite is the Arnold Duffle bag. I love how easy this bag is. It is so versatile, perfectly sized for my gym kit and it looks great.
What were the biggest obstacles you faced in your journey?
The biggest obstacle when starting any company is trying to stand out from the crowd. There is so much noise in the fashion world that trying to create a voice for yourself can be difficult. For us, the major win has been in keeping true to ourselves, from the offset we have been clear that our products are created with the sole intent on fulfilling the luggage requirements of the modern gentleman. There have been times when we could have easily gone off track, but the clear vision on what we want to be kept us true to our core.
What does It mean for you to go beyond your limits?
The Kurtis Paul team has a belief that each day must be a success. And if you want to achieve your dreams you must keep pushing when all others pause for a breather. That means pushing yourself to improve mentally and physically. For us, each day is a new personal best.
Where do you see yourself in three years?
In three years Kurtis Paul will be the world’s most trusted fashion brand!
What can we expect in the future from Kurtis Paul?
Expect luxury, beauty and honesty. Luxury in the premium materials. We always will use beauty in our precisely crafted products and honesty in the way we communicate with our customers.
How can The Modern Gentleman in Belgium get a Kurtis Paul bag?
It couldn't be easier visit www.kurtispaul.com
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