VICTOR, New York, June 6, 2007 – Finally, there's a high-quality, high-style alternative for the serious female photographer who has had to make do with drab, male-oriented bags, straps and related accessories that dominate photo retailer shelves and catalogs. jill-e designs, a new company, today announced its line of "extraordinary" accessory products for the professional and advanced amateur female photographer. These products appeal to the heightened sense of fashion and aesthetics many women enjoy, while delivering a rugged functionality that serious female photographers require, the company said. A national product launch is currently under way.
Already gaining recognition, bags and other accessories from jill-e (rhymes with Billy) designs will be showcased June 9&10 in Kansas City, Mo., at the sold-out photography workshop hosted and led by acclaimed, award-winning photographer Nick Vedros and sponsored by Canon. A portfolio of products also will be on display at the "Chicks Who Click" retreat for women in photography, conducted by Professional Photographers of America and scheduled for June 25-27 at the Lucaya Resort on Grand Bahama Island. jill-e designs is an official sponsor of the event.
Beginning in mid-July, products by jill-e designs will be available from a growing list of international, national and regional photo dealers and retailers. They include Calumet Photo, with over 30 stores across the United States and Europe; Dodd Camera, with 16 stores in Cleveland, Dayton and northeastern Ohio; and giant Adorama in New York City, one of the country's leading "pro" photo dealers with a global clientele. In addition, jill-e designs on June 20 is launching its web site – www.jill-e.com. Visitors can view the current portfolio of camera bags, lens cleaning cloths and other offerings (additional products, such as neck straps and picture frames, will be added over time); as well as locate links, information and related resources of special interest to the female photographer; and also register to purchase a jill-e camera bag at an introductory price to help celebrate the launch of the company and its products.
"The market research shows that the number of female professional and advanced amateur photographers is growing rapidly today, but these photographers haven't had access to stylish, female-oriented accessories because they haven't existed – until now," said Jill Dorn, Owner/Partner of jill-e designs.
"Like any female 'consumer,' female photographers prefer more personalization and 'fashion sense' in the accessories they employ with their work tools," Dorn added. "Virtually every female photographer carries a camera bag, attaches a neck strap to her camera, uses a cloth to clean her lenses, places her clients' or her own pictures in frames for viewing, and so on. Unfortunately, her choices have been largely limited to black and brown, nylon and canvas. Products from jill-e designs, however, are designed by women for women – so they reflect both desirable aesthetics and needed functionality to offer female photographers the very best of both worlds."
jill-e designs employs designs, colors and materials that take essential photographic accessories far beyond the traditional male-oriented offerings, the company said. For example, professional camera bags typically have a large number of compartments and a large amount of padding on the inside to protect cameras and lenses, but they're composed of nylon or canvas material on the outside – plus they're utilitarian in appearance and usually black.
Camera bags from jill-e designs, on the other hand, employ the padding, protection and other attributes found in the best professional bags – but they're created from such materials as leather and suede, designed with the flare of stylish purses and carry bags, and available in yellow, red and other fashionable colors. They also incorporate features important to women, such as additional pockets and a detachable personal pouch, jill-e designs said.
"It's our thoughtful combination of stylish form, professional function, and a lot of female sensibility and sass that makes all of the photographic accessories from jill-e designs so extraordinary – so that they meet the needs of the female professional or advanced amateur photographer," Dorn said. "Some companies are now offering existing products in new colors in an attempt to appeal to women. But except for our high-quality portfolio, there simply are no products that provide that element of fashionable female appeal on the outside, while also providing a rugged, well-designed, professional functionality on the inside."
Already Rave Reviews
Initial reviews of the jill-e designs product portfolio coming in from retailers, professional photographers and others involved in the photo industry have been extremely flattering. For example:
"We're frankly very impressed with the entire product line that jill-e designs is launching. They've done an outstanding job targeting the female photographer," said Steve Sammons, Calumet's Chief Marketing Officer, who plans to stock all of his company's stores in the U.S and Europe with the product portfolio. "Their camera bags don't look like camera bags at all. But when you open them up, you find professional padding and a common-sense layout, along with a number of ingenious compartments and little places to put your extras. Their leather has a wonderful quality feel to it. jill-e designs even uses designer patterns in the interior materials that set its bags that much further apart from what's been available."
"jill-e designs puts both style and substance around an idea whose time has come, and I'm very pleased to showcase their products at my upcoming workshop," said Nick Vedros, whose Nick Vedros & Associates has some of the nation's top companies as its clients and has received numerous awards. "It's easy to see how these bags and accessories can enrich the photographic experience for the female photographer. They're very hip products that replace the 'ballistic' look with fashion."
Kelly Sant, a wedding/portrait photographer in Upstate New York who took part in a focus group, said jill-e bags "are great. I'd buy more than one to match my wardrobe and the type of shoot – formal or more casual." And Arlene Evans, Operations Director for Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), said it's "so nice to see somebody paying attention to the needs of women in this field."
"Dodd Camera has been around since 1891, and we have always prided ourselves on bringing the most capable, most appealing products and services to the professional photographer and photo enthusiast," said Paul Orzel, Operations Coordinator for Dodd Camera. "The bags and other accessories we're offering from jill-e designs not only provide the female photographer with fashionable, high-quality products. They also enhance our company's value and image with our customers."
"We don't see anything in the marketplace today like the bags and other accessories from jill-e designs. It was an easy decision for us to add them to our product offerings," said Jerry Deutsch, Director of Marketing for Adorama. "Any female photographer looking for something with class and flair to go along with functionality, something to take into a fine restaurant as well as into the field, will want to look at what jill-e designs has to offer."