“ The first design was made of floor mats and yellow wool ”
It’s time to put a new brand in the spotlight. This time, FashionUnited spoke with the founder of the new Bird brand. Anja Fijma has designed a “waterproof bag”: the Bird Cover.
The Bird Cover journey began about eight years ago, Fijma tells FashionUnited over the phone. “At the time, I bought a very nice suede bag. I noticed that I found it annoying to depend on the weather whether or not I could take my bag with me. If it was raining, I didn’t take it with it, because the rain is not good for a suede bag. There must be another way, I thought. I had an old piece of groundsheet, some yellow wool, and a darning needle in my basement. From these, I made my first prototype: a rain cover. 2020 there was the financial opportunity to bring the design and brand to the world. My first dream has come true. ”
The covers are made at the Tailors Collective Amsterdam studio. “The Bird Cover is made of PU, a recyclable fabric,” explains Fijma. “The cover consists of two opposing layers. This makes the Bird Cover 100% water repellent, but also breathable. Otherwise, there would be condensation. The sizes of the bird blankets consist of small, medium and large and are available in four colors: transparent, black, dark blue and dark green. “In addition, it is possible to request a personalized bird cover. This is for example intended for customers with a specially shaped bag.”
When asked about the brand’s signature, Fijma’s response is short and sweet: “The brand is synonymous with protection”. “Bird is the English word for bird,” explains Fijma. “When a bird has a chick, it protects it by wrapping its wings around them. The Bird Cover is essentially a bird looking over the sack. Moreover, Bird goes beyond that: it also represents the protection of women. ” Fijma’s second dream is to protect women and give them a better future. “In my opinion, women who come from a difficult situation are forgotten by the government. I want to have my Bird Covers made by these women and give them a hand in this way. In addition, I am creating the Bird Foundation. ”
The company is currently working on setting up the Bird Foundation, to help give women a better future. The foundation’s objective is to finance the recycling of women in difficult circumstances. “Think, for example, of women leaving the women’s business,” she explains. “I want to train these women in sewing, for example, so that they can find a job in a workshop. The women will be trained at the Tailors Collective Amsterdam.” This recycling involves costs. Ten percent of every blanket sold goes to the Bird Foundation. “The Foundation will be created in a completely ethical way. Finally, there will be a Bird workshop where the trained women can work. In the Bird workshop, all Bird products will be made,” explains Fijma. “The Bird Foundation must be made up of three directors. I cannot be a part of it myself. I am still looking for a treasurer.”
“Bird is for anyone who has a bag that is valuable to someone. Whether it’s a bag of 4 or 4000 euros.”
Bird Covers are available through the online store. In addition, the brand is sold at Azzurro Due and Iconic Studios in Amsterdam. Fijma hopes for retail expansion: “Due to the pandemic we haven’t had this opportunity yet. Bird is an Amsterdam based brand so I want to be in stores in Amsterdam. Luckily I have were able to make several sales through Azzurro Due. There people have the chance to see, smell and try the product. There is more attention for bird blankets from abroad, mainly from Italy and Spain. I reach my overseas customers through my Instagram account, which almost only has overseas followers. ”
“For now, I have focused on the upper segment with retail prices ranging from 139.90 euros to 159.90 euros a piece. The prices are high, but I hope to reach the middle segment and not just get customers with designer bags. My expectation is that if the Bird Cover is picked up in the upper segment, the middle segment will also show interest, ”Fijma said over the phone.
A short term goal is to generate more brand awareness and more points of sale. Fijma says she is busy approaching news agencies and shops to achieve this goal. “In addition, I would like to open a number of pop-up stores this summer, if the restrictions allow.” In the long term, Fijma also plans to expand the product line. For example, consider a raincoat or a dog jacket that matches the Bird Cover. With the expansion of products, I hope to have my own store in Amsterdam, she continues. “I want to take over the world with my products. I would love to see Bird products in places like the Bijenkorf, Shoebaloo and Selfridges.”
Read more about Bird on the brand page: fashionunited.com/companies/bird
This article has already been published on FashionUnited.nl and translated and edited by Sonja-Maaria Nikula.