Imagine a teenager with the organisational skills of his mother. Or a mother with the fearless pluck of her teenage son. Powerful stuff, no?
Mother and son team Rebecca and Henry Patterson, both experienced entrepreneurs in their own right, founded Zellie together in 2020. Using the heady combination of different perspectives but similar DNA, they have created a bag business like no other.
Rebecca and Henry work in a spirit of lively competition to develop increasingly clever ideas for their products. Henry aced it with the Zellie-Zipper™ interchangeable patch design, but Rebecca wins every time when it comes to Pouch Management and switching the light off when she leaves a room.
Combining her knowledge as a professional organiser (yes that is a thing!) and years designing bags, Rebecca is responsible for the structure and internal design of the Zellie collection.
“We work well together. Henry first of all sketches the design; he has a great eye for detail and quality. I then add the functionality; how the bag works and ensuring product longevity” explains Rebecca.
Henry took to conventional schooling like a duck to flower arranging. Teachers gave up on him and peers bullied him. He developed a stammer so bad that sometimes he struggled to complete a sentence.
But Henry had a head full of ideas, and at the age of ten he wrote his first book, a children’s story called The Adventures of Sherb & Pip. The book was a big hit worldwide and was developed into a children’s brand, Not Before Tea, which is still growing today.
Henry left school to be home educated, and part of that education involved travelling the world to talk about his book and his unconventional approach to overcoming challenges. Interestingly, he didn’t stammer when he was on stage in front of thousands of people (go figure?) and as his confidence grew, he became increasingly in demand as a motivational speaker.
At fourteen Henry wrote his second book, Young & Mighty, to help other young people find their entrepreneurial spark. Ever resourceful, Henry managed to get contributions from many high-profile self-starters including Sir Richard Branson and Instagram co-founder, Mike Krieger.
So here we are today. In the last five years Henry has travelled around the US, Asia and Europe and all that travelling got him thinking… The result is Zellie: a range of great looking bags with heaps of clever features. The first complete collection of bags featuring the unique Zellie-Zipper™ Patches launched in September 2020, and just like Henry, it’s full of surprises!
“Do we bicker? Yes. Watching mum try to work Instagram is the most painful thing in the world. But she’s good at organising bags, and me too.” adds Henry.