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….