Esther is not only one of our GORGEOUS models but she is actually Sarah's family! We asked her a couple of questions on what Strey means to her!
Tell us a little bit about you!!
I like to consider myself easy going but highly determined. I am currently student teaching in a 2nd grade class and find that both attributes are really important when running a classroom. Before student teaching I was working as a real estate appraiser, going to full time school, and being mom. My family lives in North Minneapolis and we love taking our dog and our (almost) 2 year-old son out on the parkway.
What was the first bag you ever had from Strey?
I have what I consider an original Strey bag! Actually, it was made before Strey became "Strey" back when there was still a space between the S and the TREY. The bag is a lovely multi-tone brown cross-body purse made from several strips of leather. The stitch-work is one of a kind and artistically rugged. Strey didn't have an official leather branding stamp at that point so the letters "S TREY" are stitched on in sky blue. It has a zipper pocket on the outside and one simple pouch on the inside. I used this bag for years and I still love it.
Another one of my other original Strey products that I actually still use every single day is my card holder wallet that holds all my credit cards and license. Again, it has some artistically rugged stitch-work. And it fits perfectly inside my Jaunt.
You were one of the first models! What did you think when she asked you to model for Strey?
Honestly, I was pretty nervous because so many models you see on Instagram and in advertisements have these stoic, serious-but-mysterious facial expressions that I was absolutely sure I could not replicate. But Sarah, being the confidence-building boss-babe that she is, convinced me that it would be laid back with no pressure at all--just two gals in the woods with a lot of bags. It was so much fun.
What is your favorite shoot you have done with Strey?
I loved both shoots for different reasons. The first photoshoot was so much fun to be one-on-one with Sarah. We walked and walked and walked through the woods carrying all of the bags, changes of clothes, and camera equipment with just the two of us. We would have stayed out longer, but sun started setting and there wasn't enough light to keep shooting.
The second shoot I did with Strey was at the current studio in/around the Northrup King Building. Again, it was laid back and Sarah was so encouraging. I had never met the other model (Saba) before that day, but the entire atmosphere was so positive and Saba was so sweet and welcoming that it felt like I had known her for a long time. It was so much fun to work with another model.
You are in our MOA store & we just did a photoshoot with your mom, whose picture will be next to yours at the store! How does that make you feel?
It feels like I'm part of a family! I mean, it literally is my family because my mom and I are obviously related, and Sarah is my sister-in-law, but every experience I have had with Strey and the current employees makes me feel a sense of belonging. Strey is a company that values its employees and values its customers. The Strey models you see are more than just hired faces; many of them are friends and family. Strey matters to them and they matter to Strey.
What is your favorite style of Strey Bag?
I love my Jaunt. I love that it is small (something I never thought I would say in my life), but I can still fit everything I need. And I love that it can be worn in 6 different ways. Strey has genuinely helped me evolve my style. Before Strey I wasn't really into purses. I only had one because I needed a way to functionally carry my things from Point A to Point B. I was the least fashionable when it came to purses and I hated most of the ones that I owned. But now with Strey I finally have a purse that is both functional and made of beautiful leather. I finally have a bag that I am proud to wear every single day, and I feel classy wearing it.
Why is it important to you to support not just Sarah, but other women ran businesses?
Being a feminist means I believe in equal rights for men and women. There is still a huge gender gap. I just recently learned that female entrepreneurs are something like 15% less likely to be approved for small business loans than men--which seems crazy in 2019, doesn't it?! That's all the more reason we need to support women-run businesses when we have the chance. Mary Wollstonecraft said, "I do not wish for women to have power over men, but over themselves." I believe that female entrepreneurs are showing that they have power and confidence in themselves, which is something that I will 100% stand behind. I am a feminist and you should be one too!