The Story Exchange, Julie Quinnan, Flying ButtressYour Name: Julie Quinnan

Business Name: Flying Buttress, a maker of fashionable bags for girls

Type of Business: Children’s Goods & Services

Business Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Twitter   @fbbags

Reason for starting
After becoming a mom, I went back to work, but soon realized I was ready to take a leap and focus on my own idea – girls’ bags with interchangeable and customizable exterior panels. I love being able to change the look and feel of your everyday handbag, tech case or lunchbox in a snap. When my college roommate was transferred nearby, with her background in corporate retail, I found my perfect business partner. She enthusiastically joined my endeavor with her entrepreneurial spirit and need for distraction while her Marine Corps husband was deployed to Afghanistan. Flying Buttress was born. Our vision is to encourage imagination, sustainability and individual expression for young ladies. Our bags feature exterior snaps for attaching any of our 35+ decorative panels. Each U.S. manufactured panel fits on all five styles of the Flying Buttress handbag line – so as your panel collection grows, you can dress up any of your Flying Buttress bags. This allows you to switch out the look of the bag, with little cost.

How do you define success?
Passing a stranger on the street that is carrying one of our bags is our non-financial benchmark of success to us.

Biggest Success
One of our products was featured in the 2012 Entrepreneur Magazine Indie Holiday Gift Guide – 10 Best Gifts for Kids

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Marketing our product with a small budget: We are taking the world by storm through Social Media. We use every opportunity throughout our day to tell someone about our product. We network in every occasion. We regularly reach out to influential bloggers, stylists and magazines to feature our product.

Who is your most important role model?
Other successful working mothers are my biggest role models, for example, Soleil Moon Frye or Jessica Alba. They have both created successful companies and are amazing moms. My goal is to have a successful company with a healthy work/life balance.