Prene Bags is a Melbourne, Australia based accessories label with our bags being made from lightweight, machine-washable and vegan friendly neoprene (quite literally - a wetsuit.)
Since launching as a side project from the bedroom of a 20 year old university student, in just over three years Prene Bags has since grown into a recognizable label, being stocked in 400 stores worldwide. We are incredibly proud to say we were identified this year as an iconic Australian brand chosen to collaborate with The Australian Open on a custom bag for the tennis tournament.
Our focus is simple: uncomplicated, classic and practical. Designed for everyone from full-time office workers to athletes and mamas, Prene Bags fuse fashion and functionality.
"The brand first came about in 2015. I knew I was onto something when I gave my mum a sample bag to carry out to dinner one night. Five people stopped and asked her where she bought her bag. I could see then that there was potential for what I thought could be a little side venture whilst I was studying my first year of business at university. Little did I know that it would explode beyond my wildest expectations - and result in the brand you see today.
I launched the business from my bedroom prior to Christmas that year, promoting it via Instagram, and managed to completely sell out of the first delivery before the bags had even finished production. Using the family garage to store and pack the bags, my mum, dad and myself worked like crazy - night and day - to keep up with the demand that was rapidly growing online. I soon realized that running a business and working for myself was what I really wanted to do (I’d like to think I’ve always had an entrepreneurial flair - from making and selling Justin Bieber t-shirts at the peak of his fame, to reworking and up-selling clothes I’d find at markets on eBay) and so I dropped out of university to devote my full attention to Prene.
I then started receiving stockist requests from local stores - at this stage I didn’t even know how to make an invoice. So much for my business course. I am incredibly thankful to my very knowledgeable dad who helped guide me through the foreign territory that comes with running your own company. When you work for yourself - you wear many hats. From designing, to marketing, accounting, packing, customer service, social media and anything and everything in between. Soon I was learning all aspects involved in operating both an eCommerce and wholesale business - fast. And I loved it.
Shops started reporting that they’d sell out as soon as they’d receive deliveries. They even had customers fighting and pre-order waiting lists. I had some store owners tell me if they didn’t receive their Prene delivery, they couldn’t pay their rent that week. It was truly crazy - equal parts exciting and terrifying at the same time.
I began expanding the range by designing styles that quite simply - I wanted to carry. As a consumer, what I sought in a bag was something uncomplicated, classic and practical. Crafting the bags from perforated neoprene gave these elements a very unique, cool look. This aesthetic really resonated with our customers and has now become our signature style.
Today, we have over 400 stockists worldwide, our bags are carried by some of Australia’s favourite personalities, and the name “Prene” which is our registered trademark, has become the generic term for neoprene bags. This year we were incredibly proud to have Prene Bags be chosen to collaborate with The Australian Open 2019 on a custom bag for the tournament. The bag was gifted to all players and sold at the merchandise shop, completely selling out on the first day. We have also worked with Brown Brothers, L'Oreal and Benefit Cosmetics. I sometimes have to pinch myself that the bags that once originated from a little garage in suburbia, are being recognized by iconic brands that I have admired and grown up with.
Although it may sound like Prene’s journey has been something of a dream, no business is smooth sailing and there have been huge problems to overcome - but that’s all part of it. It has been incredibly hard work, but very rewarding, and I wouldn’t change a minute of it. I really do love what I do. I love creating, I love using the bags every single day, and I hope you fall in love with Prene too. We are proud to be an Australian owned, female-run company, and hope to continue sharing the Prene love with as many of you as possible."
- Tammy, Founder & Director