Local sisters hoping line of travel accessories will go far
Having frequently traveled for business and pleasure, sisters Shelli Pelly and Vickie Nezat saw a need for functional, stylish travel gear for women. Looking to meet that need in the marketplace, the pair launched women’s luxury lifestyle brand, Jessie Georgina, in mid-November.
“You should demand more from your products,” said Pelly, co-founder and chief operating officer of Jessie Georgina. “You should demand they fit and suit your lifestyle.”
Jessie Georgina’s debut collection, “Solana Beach,” features five products, including a travel tote, four-in-one belt bag, two-in-one wallet and clutch, two-in-one cosmetic and toiletry bag, and toiletry bag.
One of the line’s most popular items is the Wind-n-Sea toiletry bag, which offers extra space for products, while still adhering to the Transportation Security Administration’s 3-1-1 liquids rule. After all, it was designed by Nezat, who worked for the TSA after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“She comes up with a lot of these really cool organizational features and figures out how to make them work,” Pelly said. “With this design, you can fit more products.”
Another popular product, Pelly said, is the four-in-one Trestles belt bag. With a removable strap, it can be used as a belt bag, cross-body, clutch and wallet.
“Some of the pieces will grow on you because you don’t realize how ineffective and non-functional a lot of your pieces are until you have something that is actually specifically made for you,” said Pelly, a longtime San Diego resident who lives near the Rancho Santa Fe polo fields. “We get so used to things not really working for us and making do.”
Originally from Seattle, Pelly and Nezat grew up in a military family, with their father a member of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Pelly, who’s just a year and a half older than Nezat, graduated from the University of San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in mass media communications. After earning her degree, she spent 15 years in the corporate sector as a director of sales in telecommunications and Internet technology.
Nezat earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oregon, and spent 11 years working for the government. Living in Carmel Valley, she works as a consultant in addition to serving as co-founder and chief creative officer of Jessie Georgina.
Although the sisters worked in different sectors for most of their lives, they have always dreamed of building a business together, especially one that would cater to women, Pelly said.
“We always knew at some point we were going to go into business together, and it was going to be something that would help make women’s lives better and easier,” Pelly said. “It’s something that’s just been positive. I don’t know that I would have done it with somebody who wasn’t my sister.”
The pair formed the business in 2011, naming it after their late grandmother, Jessie Georgina. Nezat created the initial designs, while Pelly selected the materials and colors.
“It took on a life of its own and we both started coming up with ideas,” Pelly said. “Then it evolved to changing things that we didn’t like in the marketplace and making them better.”
Because many customers have adapted the travel pieces for everyday use, the sisters plan to launch another collection geared for businesswomen. The collection, which will debut in late June or early July, will feature a tote and a portfolio, among other products.
“We want to cover the gamut of travel, business and everyday,” Pelly said.
Jessie Georgina is available online and at Madison Leather & Luggage at the Flower Hill Promenade in Del Mar. Four other shops in San Diego and Orange counties plan to carry the products in the spring, Pelly said.
Besides collaborating on their second collection, the sisters are also looking at ways to give back to the community through Jessie Georgina.
Jessie Georgina will be the exclusive bag and accessory designer showcased at the “Hearts, Hats and Heels” charity luncheon Feb. 12 at the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club.
At the event, 20 percent of proceeds will benefit After the Finish Line, a nonprofit that contributes funds to organizations that rescue, rehabilitate and find new homes for thoroughbreds. The company is also donating 20 percent of its online “ATFL” promo code sales throughout February.
The sisters are also donating Jessie Georgina products for “Date Night for a Cause,” a March 20 benefit for Rady Children’s Hospital at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, as well as an upcoming Challenged Athletes Foundation fundraiser.
“We’re very committed to giving back and giving back within the community,” Pelly said.
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