Talent Profile: Jewelry Designer Barbara Wilkinson

Design Fashion Shopping & Acquisitions Talent

By Kevin Clark for Women’s Mafia

Jewelry designer and creative entrepreneur Barbara Wilkinson is one of the co-founders of the Independent Designer Pop Shop (ID Pop Shop) a bi-monthly retail event taking place in New York. Her unique style, both whimsical and refined at the same time, is largely influenced by her time spent in South East Asia. She weaves special designs and patterns into her work such as lotus petals, leaves and tree of life symbols. Barbara sources precious and semi-precious gemstones from India as well as sterling silver and gold vermeil pendants and charms handcrafted in Thailand and Indonesia.

She has studied Studio Art at CUNY Queens College and the Brooklyn Museum Art School, and Photography at Parsons New School for Design. After a successful career in financial services, she decided to follow her creative pursuits and has now been creating jewelry for over seven years. Her work combines a certain playfulness coupled with classic yet modern designs and bold splashes of color from the exotic gemstones she chooses.

The Independent Designer Pop Shop is going on now through Sunday, February 24th, with more events to follow in the coming months. To learn more about Barbara Wilkinson’s jewelry check out her website: www.barbarawilkinsonjewelry.com.

The Women’s Mafia is a media partner with ID Pop Shop and has the pleasure of working with Barbara Wilkinson and ID Pop Shop.

Oscar Beauty Tips: The Rule of Three

Beauty Featured Film Talent
Rooney Mara rocking the rule of three

by Lora Condon “The Beauty Buster”
Award Winning Esthetician and Makeup artist for GMA, Film and Print

The ultimate night for elegant and classic beauty is the Academy Awards. The Oscars is the one night where celebrities go all out in making sure everything is perfect. They’re stitched into their dresses with millions of dollars in diamonds around their neck, perfectly coiffed hair, and of course flawless makeup over glowing skin.

Let’s face it, the average woman does not have a team of well paid professionals putting them together every time they step out of their front door. Achieving an Academy Award winning look for beauty, may be much easier than you think, with a few easy steps.

I like to call it the Rule of 3. There are 3 major points on the face that people notice first and make your face look balanced and beautiful. The 3 major points are brows, eyes and lips. Correctly accentuating these 3 points can easily give you a va-va voom look.

Strong brows are a must to frame your face, make you look younger, give you an instant eye lift as well as give expression to your whole face. I suggest getting a professional opinion, take before and after pictures after they’re filled in because it’s almost impossible to see yourself objectively in the mirror. It may take a while to get used to having your brows filled in, but once you do, you’ll feel naked without them!  Google celebrity brows and get a good laugh over some of the really bad brows.

The second point is of course eyes. Long eyelashes and strategically placed liner will captivate your audience. If you use lashes, I recommend eyelash extensions for the most natural but glamorous look that can work just as well for everyday glam. Using cluster lashes instead of strip lashes is my favorite natural false lash look. They’re more natural, no poking or coming off at the corners of the eyes.

A dark green or royal blue THIN eyeliner extended a little bit past the corner of the eye will make eyes pop and pretty much go with any outfit and skin color.  Use an angle brush and press the liner into the base of the lash line so you can let the lashes do the talking for your eyes.

Viola Davis worked thin green eyeliner right

The lips can be the most difficult because it is imperative to choose a color that has the right undertone.  Bold is better when going for award winning lips and it’s all about the undertone of the color you choose. Take into consideration the natural color of your lips and how the lipstick may change after an hour. With darker colors, I like to fill in my lips with a lip pencil and put a gloss over it. Many times the lip liner lasts longer and is the perfect color.

Anne Hathaway's famous bold red lip

Always remember the rule of 3 and experiment! Take pictures and have friends give suggestions.  Find a pretty dress and start writing your acceptance speech for Most Beautiful!

Milla Jovovich, working all her angles and the rule of three

REFRESH NY Fashion and Beauty Retreat: Rejuvenate and Recharge

Beauty Events Exploits Fashion Week Health Shopping & Acquisitions Talent

We have even more sponsors and perks to announce for REFRESH, the Beauty and Wellness retreat for NY Fashion Week this Thursday and Friday Feb 7th and 8th, steps from Lincoln Center at 67th St. & Broadway.

The theme is “Rejuvenate and Recharge” and guests can warm up with our Les Palais Des Thes tea lounge, indulge in a state-of-the-art cupcake by Gretel-Ann of TLC’s Next Great Baker and Cupps Cafe, get inspired by the new gowns by Dore Designs Couture (with an opportunity to shop!), enjoy a Spa or Beauty Treatment by Lora Condon, hang with celebrity host Nole Marin of AIM Model Management (formerly of America’s Next Top Model), work out with our Fitness Expert, get hair and makeup touch-ups and more!

Tweet with Us: @WomensMafia @TGATP #NYFWRefresh
Join us: Special Tableau Presentations at 2pm an 4pm featuring @DoreDesigns styled by @EngieStyle

Featuring: Pop-Up Boutique and Tableau Presentations by DORE DESIGNS COUTURE, Spa and Beauty Treatments by LORA CONDON “the Beauty Buster”, Haircare by DR. MIRACLE, Tunes by DJ SHARRI MODEL, Makeup by LiSi COSMETICS, Blowouts by PATRICK WELLINGTON of Wellington Hair Spa and Evelyn of LAURA’S BEAUTY SALON, COUTURE TRAINING sessions by Stacie Smeal, Tea salon by LES PALAIS DES THES, Cupcakes by GRETEL-ANN of TLC’s Next Great Baker and more!

Special Celebrity host: Nole Marin from America’s Next Top Model

Upstairs lounge at the Kaufman Music Center: 129 W 67th St. NYC. (2 blocks from Lincoln Center), 12-5pm Daily. RSVP’s required: rsvp@yellowskyagency.com

ID Pop Shop Feb.11-17: Elevating the Collective Marketplace Experience

Events Fashion Fashion Week Featured Shopping & Acquisitions Talent
I am excited to announce the next ID Pop Shop February 11th – 17th. The wildly popular designer-driven week long pop ups at Chelsea Market are a favorite of shoppers looking for something truly different. Below we tell the story of how designer-entrepreneurs Barbara Wilkinson and Raoul Calleja have created a game-changer in the group market realm.
The Women’s Mafia is a media partner for ID Pop Shop this year and will be having some really fun social media contests for designer jewelry and other special gifts to promote the ID Pop Shop soon, so we invite you to follow @IDPopShopNYC or visit their Facebook page to participate & win! (Also the @Womensmafia Twitter and Facebook pages as well!)

Independent Designer Pop Shop (ID Pop Shop) A Game-Changer In Group Markets
Next Show: February 11th – 17th, 10:30am – 7:30pm daily. Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue

Almost two years ago independent designers, Raoul Calleja and Barbara Wilkinson, were faced with a dilemma with their respective brands. As independent business owners who rely on direct-to-customer retail events to sell their products but they weren’t finding a lot of events worth doing.  Retail events for independent brands are often limited to weekend markets, flea markets, or the ubiquitous shopping parties that combined drinking and shopping. These shows were becoming less appealing and less lucrative, especially when you factor in the overhead for these events. To make matters worse, the shows were expensive and not well marketed.

Faced with a shortage of good shows to showcase their own brands, Wilkinson of Barbara Wilkinson Jewelry, and Calleja of Vernakular Photo Designs, did what any creative entrepreneur and independent-spirited person would do, they created their own event, the Independent Designer Pop Shop (ID Pop Shop). Wilkinson and Calleja did more than just rent out space and have  a show. They had a clear mandate–to assemble New York City’s most exciting independent brands by designers who design and create their own products. The huge success of the first show in June 2011, paved the way for over a dozen more shows in 2011 and 2012. The next show is February 11th – 17th and will be featuring 24 independent brands, from jewelry, apparel, accessories and skin care, to home décor.

ID Pop Shop is successful in part because the venue is gorgeous and upscale, and also because Wilkinson and Calleja curate the brands well and limit key categories, such as jewelry for example, to only 8 designers because each show needs to be diverse and differentiated. “Our aesthetic is clean, upscale and fashion focused,” says Wilkinson.  The shows are extended time-frames as well, usually a week at a time, so that customers can actually come back during the run of the show. Many Google, Food Network and other nearby employees enjoy stopping by several times during the week and are loyal customers.

Having the events at Chelsea Market Event Space is also a big advantage. Currently one of the most buoyant retail areas in Manhattan, in part due to the Highline and the revitalization of the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market attracts a healthy combination of tourists, locals, and business people. Now that word of the events has grown, the show boasts wait lists of dozens of designers who wish to participate in ID Pop Shop.

Wilkinson and Calleja truly care about working with the designers, because they are designers too and these are their peers. “We know what we want to get out of a space like this and we work with these designers to maximize their sales and bring more people through the door each time we have an event,” says Calleja.

Barbara Wilkinson Lotus Petal Earrings

The Independent Designer Pop Shop (ID Pop Shop), spearheaded by creative design entrepreneurs Barbara Wilkinson and Raoul Calleja is run with a clear mandate–to assemble New York City’s most exciting independent brands by designers who design and create their own products. The huge success of the first show in June 2011, paved the way for over a dozen more shows in 2011, 2012 and 2013. To keep the most up-to-date on ID Pop Shop happenings visit follow them on Twitter @IDPopShopNYC and “Like” their page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IndependentDesignerPopShopAtChelseaMarket.

Ava Love Fairytale Trees Tee
Kimberlin Brown Bronze Poppy
Vernakular Graffiti Van Wallet
Vale Jewelry
Studio DuArte Yurika
Barbara Wilkinson Leaf Labradorite
BHOM Ovum Jacket
Nature's Future Short Swerve Coat
Rifle and Radford "Charlotte" Rose Amethyst Slice Earrings
Kimberlin Brown Angel Wings extra long chain
Verrier Card "Lovesick"

Winter Glamour by Dore: Sparkly Dresses Worthy of the Holidays

Design Exploits Fashion Featured Shopping & Acquisitions Talent

This time of year glamorous indoor soirees create opportunities for donning truly elegant gowns. Dore Exquisite Gowns, famous for dressing the top ranked professional ballroom stars for competitions and the stars of “So You Think You Can Dance,” recently launched their first collection at NY Fashion Week of couture gowns for the rest of us.

Designed to look as phenomenal posing for pictures as they do sashaying around a party greeting guests, the show-stopping evening gowns flatter the figure and create a memorable impression. Dore has gowns in a variety of sizes and colors, and they are experts at tailoring pieces for a variety of body types.

5 Best Holiday Gifts for the Beauty & Spa Aficionado

Beauty Exploits Shopping & Acquisitions Talent

By Lora Condon, aka “The Beauty Buster” and the author of SPA WARS

Buying holiday gifts can bring enough stress to negate any joy that the holidays should bring.  Everyone is so “wrapped up” in trying to find the perfect gift, only to be disappointed because of sold-out items, not the right price point or not sure if the person getting the gift will really like the item.  Here are some of the best gifts I’ve found that fit everyone’s budget as well as taste.

Everyone loves a candle, but take it to the next level with Scandle.  Imagine a candle that looks and smells as beautiful on your skin as it does when you light it. The Scandle Body Massage Candle is a luxurious soy based body massage candle that, when burned, melts into a warm, soothing oil that can be used to all over your skin. Scandle is also environment friendly, emitting less soot and toxins than parrafin candles.  Try the body shimmer candles for holiday parties.  Prices range from $15 to $36 and even have refills to be purchased at www.abodycandle.com.

Laughter is good for the soul and great to share with friends. The perfect girls night out book is Spa Wars – The Ugly Truth About the Beauty Industry.  If you’ve ever wondered what your bikini waxer is really thinking, this book dishes all the dirty, behind the scenes, spa secrets.  It is also filled with the most coveted beauty tips and best products on the market. Get this New York Times recommended book for only $8.49 on Nook and $14.95 in paperback. www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spa-wars-lora-condon/1030025145?ean=9781450285896

Can a girl ever have enough make-up? No, I didn’t think so!  This new brand is quickly becoming the favorite line of New York’s best makeup artists.  Glitter, shimmer and an incredible mix of silky powders.  The nail polishes are not to be missed and the brushes are divine.  You won’t believe the affordable prices and holiday specials. Happy shopping at www.lisicosmetics.com

A fit, toned body never goes out of style, and we all know that exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress, boost endorphins, and look better. If the Insanity program is a little too insane for you, try Herbalife’s 24 Fit DVD, which consists of 13 DVD’s to be done over a 24 week program that intensifies as your body builds strength. The workout gives three different intensities for each exercise, so feel free to go at your own pace.  You can easily purchase the DVD set for $49.95 online at www.goherbalife.com/celebrityweightloss

Celeb favorite fragrance, Stiletto, is a subtle but distinctive scent of musk, vanilla bean and sandalwood.  Even if you don’t like musk, you’re sure to love this perfume since it’s so smooth and mysterious. The perfume is packaged in a bottle shaped like a sexy, black, high heel shoe embellished with golden studs.  Trust me, every girl wants this. www.nicoleamyfragrances.com

About the Author, Lora Condon:
Lora has two locations where she offers her signature Magic Hands Skin and Body treatments: her spa in Westfield, New Jersey is at 1100 South Avenue and her Manhattan location (by appointment) is at 20 West 20th Street Suite 603, where she also offers her award winning Facials, Body Treatments, Eyelash Extensions and more.

As a professional makeup artist, a licensed esthetician, a Reiki master and a fearless consumer advocate, Lora Condon is a sought after Beauty Expert and Spa Consultant. As a makeup artist, Lora’s work has appeared in publications such as, Ladies Home Journal, The New York Times, Time Out New York and in spots for Good Morning America, The View, Larry King, CNN, Fox News and ESPN. As an esthetician and the owner of “Magic Hands Skin and Body Spa” in New Jersey she he has won 5 awards for her work such “Best Facial” and “Best Treatment” in the National SPA WEEK Awards.

Lora is known as the “Lash Dr.” among her celebrity and socialite clientele and she is New York’s premier Xtreme Lash technician. Lora also honed her skills for the perfect brow under “brow guru” Anastasia of Beverly Hills. She served as the Northeast Sales and Training Manager for Anastasia.

Most recently, Lora authored “Spa Wars: The Ugly Truth About the Beauty Industry,” which brings together her funniest true stories and professional insight gleamed from over 15 years in the industry. Patricia Field and Nick Arrojo both hosted launch parties for Lora’s book and it received rave reviews and write-ups in the New York Times, New York Magazine, American Spa, Spa Finder and numerous other outlets. Visit Lora’s site www.makeupwithme.com.

Sonja Fries Is Reopening The Storied Fassbinder Jewelry Gallery in Cobble Hill

Art Events Fashion Featured Shopping & Acquisitions Talent

Opening Doors November 10th, Launch Event November 15th from 5-9

FASSBINDER, the famous West Village boutique voted best jewelry in NYC for many years, is resurfacing as a new holiday shop, taking over a seasonal ice cream parlor at 233 Smith Street in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood. Sonja Fries, a former partner of this beloved boutique, will bring its acclaimed and chic designs to this Brooklyn outpost located between Butler and Douglas.

The new store will embrace a “salon” ethos and host a variety of special events including live music nights with cello and harp, traditional German Glühwein and evenings of prosecco sippings for the ladies as they build up their holiday wish lists. In addition to Sonja’s own jewelry line, the store will feature work from Kimberlin Brown, Max Steiner and Sarah Richardson.  There will also be select vintage furniture for sale from a Miami-based antiques and design center.

Fries, recognizable as a blue-eyed svelte Bavarian gamine, is a meticulous goldsmith from Germany whose sublime jewelry seduced Michael Stipe, The Scissor Sisters, and Julianne Moore from her opulently bohemian shop in years past. Sonja Fries has owned and run galleries as far afield as Berlin, Hamburg, and Bangkok, and a decade long stint with partner Hal Ludacer at the beloved Fassbinder gallery in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village.

Sonja has been enamored of Smith Street and its environs for some time and has decided to reopen Fassbinder to interact again with customers while promoting jewelry and other select objects as art in a cultural framework in the store.  Sonja says: “It’s going to be great to be back in the middle of it all again, I miss the interaction with customers most!”

Chainmail necklace by Sonja Fries at Fassbinder
Kimberlin Brown Emerald Blue Sea Anemone ring
Max Steiner for Fassbinder origami crane
Ring by Sonja Fries
Silver Earrings by Sarah Richardson

TALENT Q&A: Lynette Ong of Edge of Ember Jewelry

Fashion Nightlife Shopping & Acquisitions Street Style Talent

Jeweler extraordinaire Lynette Ong’s new collection SARAT (from the Khmer word for Beauty) supports inspiring local charity projects that benefit women. The line also features inventive, awe-inspiring details such as featuring reclaimed landmine metals in many of their pieces. Will you join us on Wednesday September 5th at POP242 and welcome Edge of Ember designer Lynette Ong to New York for their US debut?

Women’s Mafia: How did you get started in design? When did you start Edge of Ember?

Lynette Ong: EDGE OF EMBER launched early this year, but the inspiration for EDGE OF EMBER first came to me two years back when I was in Ubud, Bali where there were tons of silversmiths and art workshops. Most of them had an open workshop concept where customers could see the artisans working on these uniquely handcrafted pieces. I found these gorgeous works of art absolutely amazing. Yet with the overwhelming trend in the marketplace towards mass production, customers get either machine-lasered fare from factories or designer handmade items that were exorbitantly priced.

Living in Hong Kong, I travelled extensively in Asia and would often buy locally crafted accessories on these trips. I thought that with proper retail channels and commercial expertise, the craftsmanship of these smaller artisan groups could be well appreciated by a global audience, and their livelihood would also be supported through this.

So I was inspired to start an ethically produced accessories label that brings the stories and skills of these local artisans to the rest of the world. As I developed this model, it was important to me that my new venture carried a socially responsible message. Unfortunately in the current market, everything needs to be done cheaply and efficiently, thus producers often disregard the welfare and development of those who make their wares.  And in the wake of mass production, traditional craftsmanship is also often thrown out the window. It would have been easier and cheaper to simply have my designs made in a China factory but I didn’t want that.

I have always loved jewelry. I think accessories complete an outfit and showcase an individual’s personality. But it was only when the EDGE OF EMBER idea came to me that I started dabbling with jewelry design. I have not had formal design training; the brand’s aesthetic is just a reflection of my personal style. I love combining simple, classic pieces and bolder jewelry to create a look that is versatile enough to wear for both casual and formal occasions.

I understand that your work is all fair-trade, and that many of your pieces are created with scrap metal from Landmines. Can you tell me about how this idea came to you and why you made that choice?

The essence of the EDGE OF EMBER brand is ethical commerce i.e. fair wages and opportunities. Certain organizations that we work with focus their employment on disadvantaged groups, for example Rehab Crafts, the Phnom-Penh based group that we collaborate with, employs victims of landmines. Also Mahaguthi, the organization based in Nepal, endeavors to provide women with more work opportunities through flexible home-based arrangements, in an otherwise male dominated workforce.

When educated and given the choice, I think consumers want to purchase ethically produced goods. In addition to a fair trade philosophy in production, I also felt it was paramount to allow customers to contribute, through their purchases, to the communities of the artisans who are creating the EDGE OF EMBER line, hence the 10% of contribution through the EMBER PROJECT.

The concept of using up-cycled materials, such as recycled brass bombshells in Cambodia and discarded buffalo horn in Vietnam, complements the ethos of the EDGE OF EMBER brand. I hope to, wherever feasible, continue to employ this concept in more jewelry pieces going forward. In Cambodia, the artisan group we work with gets raw brass bombshells from organized demining efforts (Halo Trust, Cambodian Mine Action Center), cleans and melts the bombshells before reusing this material for jewelry making. I love this sustainable repurposing of genocide remnants, and the meaningful concept of turning an ugly reminder of their history into beautiful works of art.

Where do you get your design inspirations?

Everywhere, really – from architecture to fashion or just the “vibe” of different places I go to. I travel a lot especially around Asia since I moved to Hong Kong five years ago, and I love pairing the more traditional, ethnic aesthetic in Asia to a contemporary urban style.

The current collection SARAT (the Khmer word for “beauty”) showcases jewelry pieces handmade in Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia and Vietnam, with organic hand-hammered metals, bold geometric studs and ethnic-inspired tassels that are accompanied by an elegant mix of crystals and pearls for a sprinkling of luxury. It is influenced by a variety of moodboards. The studs and spikes give an edgy and raw feel that I translated from bustling developing cities like Phnom Penh and Hanoi, the crystals set in antique-plated bezels show a hint of vintage and Art Deco with, and the pearls and tassels add a touch of old school glamour. I also like to contrast the edgy and feminine, the ethnic and the contemporary in pieces. Continue reading

Spencer Devine 2012 Handbags and Travel

Fashion Featured Shopping & Acquisitions Street Style Talent

Designer, tastemaker and human rights activist Kristine Gottilla has been creating stylish and inventive handbags for almost 10 years. What began as a hobby, has progressed into a popular brand sold in New York, LA and boutiques around the country and her new endeavors increasingly support women in low income countries where there are lacking opportunities. Her handbag and travel line Spencer Devine was recently debuted to Women’s Mafia members, stylists, press and bloggers at POP 242 Grand in Williamsburg. Would you like to see her new 2012 Handbags and Travel collection below and visit www.spencerdevine.com for more details?

POP 242 Presents: The Launch of Spencer Devine on August 8th

Altruism Causes Design Events Fashion Featured Shopping & Acquisitions Talent

Designer, tastemaker and human rights activist Kristine Gottilla has been creating stylish and inventive handbags for almost 10 years. What began as a hobby, has progressed into a popular brand sold in New York, LA and boutiques around the country and her new endeavors increasingly support women in low income countries where there are lacking opportunities. Her handbag and travel line Spencer Devine is being debuted to Women’s Mafia members, stylists, press and bloggers on Wednesday August 8th at POP 242 Grand in Williamsburg with a big party featuring a flash sale, prizes and gifts for the press.

Enjoy a new Q&A with Kristine about Spencer Devine and her unique business model and design aesthetic below. Will you join us on the 8th?
RSVP to Marcy Clark at rsvp@yellowskyagency.com

Women’s Mafia: How did you get started in design?

Kristine Gottilla: I’ve been dabbling in handbag design since high school, but became serious about pursuing it as a career in 2006 when I finished studying costume design in Rome. The first leather bag I ever designed, was something I made for myself to use for a trip back to Rome. Upon my return to NY, the ideas started flowing and I spent the next two years educating myself on the construction of handbags and making one of a kind pieces.

WM: What does style mean to you?

KG: Self-expression and experimentation. How we present ourselves through our choices in attire says a lot about our demeanor. From color palette to levels of extravagance through detail can portray an interesting insight about our mood, ambitions, and how we personally reflect to ourselves.

WM: I understand that Spencer Devine is very involved in social causes. Can you tell us more about that?

KG: Since the company’s conception, our goal has been to create livelihood opportunities to people in need. Recently I worked with ahuman-trafficking organization in India. This experience taught me about the perils of unsafe migration, which is the leading cause for individuals to be exploited. While in the North East states of Assam, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, I designed textiles with weavers as part of a livelihood initiative that will launch later this year in Europe, India, and the US. I documented this period of developement at http://spencer-devine.tumblr.com/ .

In addition, a portion of all sales goes towards a variety of unique causes affiliated with the groups I worked with in India. Having seen the initiatives and worked closely with those involved in bringing them forward, I am eager to revisit with funds to help advance these programs.

WM: Where do you get your design inspirations?

KG: My background is in fine art and I find most of my inspiration to come from architecture, sculpture, and travel. I rarely peruse fashion magazines, although I know I should expose myself more to that realm. More directly, I find my work to be inspired by juxtapositions and stark contrasts in textures, shapes, and opposites. Azulejos facades in Portugal and the ancient coinciding with the modern in Rome are a couple examples of what I think my aesthetic reflects through material choices and structure.

WM: I understand that your work is all made locally in Brooklyn, does that affect your quality and can you tell me about why you made that choice?

KG: Keeping production in Brooklyn between two workspaces has allowed me to maintain a watchful eye on all stages of the process. From sourcing of materials to working closely with the women constructing each piece by hand, I am able to be fully involved all along the way.

WM: Where do you see Spencer Devine in 5 years? Do you anticipate starting other companies, collaborations or endeavors?

KG: I see Spencer Devine growing into a fuller bodied version of what it is now while broadening our infrastructure as our social contribution goals continue to grow. From 2008-2012 I was designing under the brand Kristine Gottilla. Moving forward, we have gathered the most successful designs from that brand into Spencer Devine Femme. All of these designs have spawned into more refined versions of custom orders that I worked on with clientele through Front 242 in Williamsburg. Alongside SD Femme is our Travel & Leisure collection which was born out of the growing demand for uniquely beautiful cases and travel accessories.
In the next year as we continue to see growth, we plan to pursue a livelihood initiative here in New York aimed towards providing work for low-income, homeless, and/ or jobless women. Having returned from India with new knowledge, it makes sense to develop a similar model here as business grows and requires more hands on board.

WM: What materials and colors do you like to use for your bags?

KG: We have always used the highest quality Italian and German leathers, however now we are launching a new line that uses waxed linen, Indian cotton ikat, and leather (the leather we are using for the straps are made from portions of the hide that would otherwise be considered scrap). This is an eco-conscious version of the already existing designs. Not only does the replacement of waxed linen for leather make the products more eco-friendly, it also cuts the cost fairly drastically while still maintaining an expensive feel, and is just as water resilient and protective as leather. As part of our profit from each sale goes towards causes in North East India, we feel it’s just logical to make the products available to a broader market of consumers.