I was an art teacher when I started this journey. I kept feeling a pull towards doing my own thing. After a disappointing trip to the Mac store to buy a laptop case, I came home inspired to sew one for myself. The case turned out pretty bad, but I really loved making it. The next day I made another and realized that the process of designing and filling this void in the market for products I was looking for was exactly what I wanted to do for a living.
With no formal training in sewing or business, and using $200 as my budget to get this ball rolling, I found ways to use my background in art to guide me through the process of building a brand.
Using my maiden name, Rais, I thought it was fitting to call the bags I was making Rais Cases.
What began as personal project, quickly turned into a hobby, and slowly evolved into a study of quality, design, and fashion. After three years of squeezing all of my extra time, energy and money into the endeavor I really started to see how much Rais Case had grown. At that point I decided to leave my full-time job as a teacher. It was one of the scariest decisions I have ever made.
I moved my studio out of the living room and into a brick and mortar shop, partnered up with artisan brand, Mr. B's Luminaries and together we run a studio/retail space together called The Work/Shop Collective.
I haven’t looked back since because I love the process of constantly evolving my brand.
I could not be more excited about the future because I feel like the adventure is just beginning!
Julie Rais Ellis