If you’ve noticed Pete Cornes has been quiet lately, you’re not wrong. But he’s picked up his pen again to tell us what he’s been up to, and why he’s more convinced than ever that telling the right stories matters…

Lately I’ve been spending less and less time writing with the team at Afia. I haven’t been slacking off, though – I’ve been taking some time to start my own business with my wife, Emma. Together we make handbags and messenger bags here in Britain, using the best British materials.

But do you know what? It turns out that it isn’t just our bags that capture people’s imaginations: it’s the story behind them.

People love to hear about how we got started. They love to hear about how we made the first few hundred bags ourselves in the spare bedroom. They’re fascinated by how Emma grew up on a sheep farm, and now we’re using wool woven in the very same valley.

People kept telling us what a great story we have, but we wanted to see whether it made a real difference. So we cooked up a bit of an experiment…

Here’s what we’d do. We were exhibiting for four days at the Festival of Speed down in Goodwood earlier this summer. For two days, we’d put our beautiful oak logo sign at the front of the stand. And for the other two days we’d show Emma’s story instead:

Emma's story

Can you guess which one worked best?

That’s right. The story won hands down. We spoke to more people. We had more visitors. And twice as many people left with one of our bags. Even hardcore petrolheads couldn’t stop themselves: they’d see the story and stop in their tracks until they’d finished it.

So if you run into us at any of the shows we’re displaying at this autumn, come and have a chat – we’ve got plenty of stories we’d love to tell you!