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Like so many good ideas, Future Glory Co. started with a conversation between friends about what they would do if they could do anything. "Jennie and I went to Coachella," co-founder Theresa Lee explains. "I guess the first day was super-idyllic and kind of perfect. We got to talking about what we would be doing if money was no object. We've always loved bags; when Jenny threw out that idea, we kind of latched onto it." And so it began. Jennie Chen and Theresa started their line with an envelope clutch and a dream of accessories that would serve a greater good. A year later, they have about 15 styles, and a company that gives a portion of its sales back to local women's organizations. Theresa invited Racked into her Dogpatch live/work space so we could learn more about the year-old San Francisco brand, and how it combines fashion and philanthropy, and we (of course) took lots of pictures of all the pretty things.
From the start, it was important to the pair that their line was local. Future Glory is produced entirely in San Francisco, and Theresa does much of the sewing herself at her home, (which doubles as a studio). "It's kind of great and annoying at the same time, having a live/work space. I have the weirdest schedule. If I want to sew at ten o'clock, it's so easy for me to just do that. I'm such a night owl. I kind of sleep in, but I usually do the bulk of my sewing and work at night."
But she isn't the only one sewing. As part of their mission to give back, Jennie and Theresa established an apprenticeship-type program. Currently, they are teaching a woman from Because Justice Matters —a women's center in the Tenderloin— the ins and outs of the biz. "We're teaching her little things about bag-making. The grand idea… is to open a bigger studio once things get more ramped up; to train and employ these women in general."
For the Future Glory team, this year has been about experimentation and finding out what customers respond to. (The biggest hits from 2014 include the bucket bags and the leather goods.) And while most of the company's customers are local, Theresa says that a Canadian store is carrying the line, and she is shipping orders to Japan. Now that they have a grasp on the business, the duo is looking to open a small retail space in 2015. That store will hopefully lead to their own studio. "With increased demand for bags, then we can assess the dream of the bigger studio," Theresa says. For now, you can find Future Glory in San Francisco at Wallflowers, Onyx, and Martin Maddox, or online at Future Glory's website.