Archives for posts with tag: Accessories: the Show

When I was twenty, I knew exactly what I wanted out of life.  I wanted to “be somebody”, but I didn’t grow up in a home where ambition was encouraged. My parents were hardworking people; my father was a mechanic and my mother stayed at home until my sister was in her early teens.    I don’t think they intentionally dissuaded my passions, they just didn’t see the world the way that I did. Frankly, there is no reason they should have.  Everyone has a different path in  life, and I wanted mine to be an uphill climb, straight to the top.  But as I sit here today, thirty years later trying to say precisely what is on my mind, I am forced to realize that the path I chose was more like a rollercoaster ride than anything else, and it was all my doing.

I have avoided testing myself for thirty years because I have been afraid that if I took a chance on myself, and I failed, I wouldn’t survive.  It seems absurd to be saying this when so much in the world has gone haywire (I am reminded of the line in Casablanca “the problems of  (one)  little (person) don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world”, which is true, by the way), but as I began to wrap up preparations for the Accessories Show at the Javitz Center in New York this weekend, a strange thought occurred to me.

I have been preparing for this moment all my life.

If it works, it works and if it doesn’t, then I will at least know I did something so far out of my comfort zone that it took three decades to work up the courage to do.  That may sound silly, but the fact is, I have worked myself like a show pony most of my life trying to skirt around this kind of  investment.  The small voice inside me that doubted my decisions, my “position in life”, my choices, setbacks, challenges,  lessons, and even triumphs, were all because I told myself, I don’t know how to do this. I’m not even sure that I should.

Then,  something interesting happened last week. I invited the Guinness beer heiress, Daphne Guinness to become a “friend” on facebook.  And when she accepted, I not only felt “validated” as a designer, I started to think about how different her life is from mine.  How I have always given “people like that” credit for getting where they want to be because “they” have the resources and the upbringing to know how to go about it.  But what occurred to me, more than anything, is that Daphne Guinness, whether she knows it or not, has been an inspiration to me, simply because of the fact that she has no “fear of fashion”.   And it isn’t because she is widely considered to be one of the best dressed women in the planet (although she is).  My new collection may not be the most original line in the world, but its an amazing line, and I know it.  I don’t need to be afraid to take it to the market, even in this kind of economy, even though the bags are expensive and are designed to be that way.  Because I have been working toward this moment my whole life.

Its time to find out if this is truly the path I am meant to be on or not.

By the way, I did something else this week I thought I would never do. I succeeded in revising my website, myself.  Have a look.  I think you will like what you see…

Just in time for my debut at the Accessories Show at the Javitz Center on August 1!  I love seeing my name in print!

So we are back from the Accessories trade show in New York. We took two passes through the show; first to see if anyone was buying and what the price points were, then to see where vendors and buyers were from.  The show had just opened that morning, and there seemed to be plenty of people placing orders, but on closer inspection, it seemed some orders were not very big, and most buyers were from mom and pop boutiques in towns I’d never heard of. I think what shocked us the most though,was that the most expensive wholesale item we saw was $35o. Handbags and jewelry seemed to fare the best, but with booths starting at $5300 for a ten by ten space, you’d have to place a LOT of orders just to break even.  By our best estimate there was exactly ONE designer who created the pieces herself, which also puts us at a disadvantage because we manufacture every piece one at a time, so even if  we wholesaled our canvas totes at $27.50, we would have to sell 300 just to break even, and with some bags selling for as low as $6.00 each, it would hard to compete.   Even so, the overall quality of the show and the booth displays were exceptional,  but it puts us back at square one with respect to how we proceed.

On that note, we took a cab into the city and did a walking your of Bergdorfs, Barneys, Bendels and Saks, and decided that our best fit was Bergdorfs, in part, because they have an incredible Judith Leiber boutique (and, having been favorably compared to Judith Leiber over the past few months, it was nice to see the work in person), and in part, because the store seems highly conducive  to exceptional and unusual work.  What surprised us as well, was seeing some of the bags featured in the top fashion magazines we have been studying to get a grasp on how to compete with top designers and mass produced merchandise. We decided, of course, the we can’t, at least not in the traditional sense.   Our bags aren’t meant for everyone, which is part of their appeal. We make each bag by hand, one at a time, with an attention to detail unlike anything we have ever seen.  And this past weekend, we came up with some new ideas for another line of handbags we can’t WAIT to get started on….