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Abe Chehebar of AHQ - Accessory Headquarters on Handbag Designer 101 Podcast Every Tuesday



Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:00

Hi and welcome to the Handbag Designer 101 podcast with your host, Emily Blumenthal, handbag Designer Expert and Handbag Fairy Godmother, where we cover everything about handbags, from making, marketing, designing and talking to handbag designers and industry experts about what it takes to make a successful handbag. Welcome, Abe Chehebar from AHQ to Handbag Designer 101, the podcast, so excited to have you legend within the handbag industry. How many years have you been at Handbag's Abe? Talk to me. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

00:38

First of all, it's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me. I've been in the handbag business for about 40 years now. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:44

So you were basically five years old when you started. You just died right out of kindergarten. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

00:48

Thank, you for the compliment. Thank you for the compliment. Yeah, I was about 22 years old when I started and a lot has changed over the years. 

00:58

We've learned a lot, just a little bit and it's been an exciting journey. I gotta say I love the business. How did you get in? So my dad had a small shop on Broadway 30th Street called Giselle Handbag Shop and it was a mom and pop little you know shop selling handbags. And I worked for him one summer and did not go to college. I went straight to work, learned the business and then opened up my own business about two years later and started doing private label handbags for Was that weird. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

01:25

Did he still have his? Did he still have his shop? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

01:29

Well, you, were doing that he did. He was very proud. No, not at all. No, not at all. We always had a family mentality when it came to business, so it wasn't like mine or his, his or mine, it was all one, you know. So the initial launch of that business was a rocky start. You know was a lot of learning curves, but eventually we found our way and were able to generate some nice business. Probably probably able to retail is like in those days Montgomery Ward I don't know if you know who those are or a venture store in St Louis. We had a lot of regional retailers that are no longer around. That, you know, added it up to a lot of business and Did you sell to Marshall Fields? 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

02:09

because that was like forget it getting in there. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

02:13

We sold to Marshall Fields before they were bought by Target. And yeah, you know, in those days there weren't too many handbag companies out there offering power. It was like today. You know brands were almost non-existent in handbags. That started really about 30 years ago when brands started to come into the picture and there was a different time. You know every era in handbags has its own beauty and its own, you know, let's say, culture. And every time, you know when brands started to get introduced into the market, that was an exciting time in the market and you know we started taking licenses and you know, now you have your own identity. 

02:50

It was a nice evolution to the business and you know to where we are today, where you know brands is a major part of the handbag business, whether it's, you know, luxury, moderate or budget brands are very important in the business. The brand is her ID. You know my dad always say every lady needs a handbag and that's her ID. You know when she carries that bag she's kind of saying she is more or less you know, because nothing else she's wearing really says what she is, unless it's a logo, you know sweatshirt or something. But you know the handbag usually is her ID and you know that's why Louis Vuitton does the business they do and that's why you know Gucci does the business they do and Prada and all these major luxury brands are. It's a whole social economic agenda. That's very scientific and you know the customer has an emotional attachment to the brand and you know, once you tap into that, then you have a captioned audience which you know creates sales and so on. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

03:47

Okay, I have questions that are overrunning if because your company has had iterations and so forth. You know it's funny being Garmento offspring. As you know, my this T-shirts vintage. At this point my dad always said like it should never be about overhead. Now, mind you, he sold great goods and he was the middleman, he was a converter, so it was never about having a beautiful office and I grew up going to the Garment Center as a child and you know that's where I heard cursing in a way that I thought was only in the movies and so forth, and I had filed swatches and so forth. 

04:28

And my dad's office, which you know, as you understand, it's also a family business and you know my aunt was there, my grandma was there, my sister was there, my mom was there I think I was the only one who didn't work there. The office was dingy and you felt like almost like you were in a factory and it wasn't until I started my own handbag line and started going into showrooms that I didn't think existed in New York City. I thought if you're doing sales, you're not supposed to be in your own office. You carry your own product to the retailers, so forth. And I've been to several of your offices and they are lux and beautiful, and what do you think about that? I mean, this is like a controversial topic, like overhead. What are your thoughts? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

05:11

Right. So you know they say you take a diamond ring and put it in a paper bag and you take that same diamond ring and put it in a velvet box and it has a different appearance completely. Yeah, so I think presentation is very important. We try to inspire the retailers with the way we display our products so that they can get inspiration as to how to display to their stores. So we think about that a lot. We try to make our showrooms look like the retail environment where the customer, as I said, can get inspired and like what they see. 

05:38

We're sticklers when it comes to, you know, every bag's got to be in the right place, in the right you know location and the right colors, with the right matching colors or whatever the case may be. You know, I think it's very important to have a showroom that you know. This is our one retail store, this is our one location, you know. So the showroom is the fair hub. That's our main attraction for retailers to come up and like what they see, hopefully. So yeah, it's. I think it's very important to have a showroom that is sparkling and well designed and looks the part and, like I said, you know, and it's a casing for beautiful product. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

06:13

No, it's just fascinating to me, because the contrast being an independent designer, where you're essentially schlepping around your product in a giant suitcase and taking them out and making sure they're, you know, stuffed and then unstuffed and then setting them up for buyers, versus having a showroom, is so very different right. 

06:31

So, I would love to talk to you about licensing Now. Licensing and private label. So that is essentially your bread and butter, right? So does HQ, because I know you've gone in and out of having your own line. Do you currently have your own brand right now? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

06:49

So what's interesting is, about 50% of our business is private label, where we designed for other people's brands. So, for example, certain retailers have their own in-house brands. So we learn those brands. They provide us with DNA of the brand and information about the brand and then we come back and present for that brand. That's about 50% of our business. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

07:11

That's a competitive business, isn't it to try and get that? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

07:13

It is competitive. It is competitive for sure. But you know when they place an order it's directly to the customer. You're not taking any risk. It's a low-risk business once you get the order. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

07:22

It's kind of the dream client, isn't it? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

07:24

Right and the orders are pretty large. You know, depending on the retailer. A retailer like Zara can place an order for 800,000 units of one bag in one color. Take it, pay you and you're done. So, yes, you are working on lower margin, but it's a much lower-risk business as opposed to buying inventory for your brands and then, you know, selling it into the retail community. It does have a little bit of risk. You know if you guess wrong on a color then you're going to have to dump it. If you know you pick several silhouettes that, let's say, are not trending, then you have to. You know you got to sell the goods at a lower markup. So the off-price, the private label business, is a secure business. That is no risk. The branded business is a business that people love. It's a great business but on the same token it requires carrying inventory and you know working the game. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

08:14

How do you evaluate licenses, the ones that you take on Like? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

08:20

Right, that's a great question. That's a good question. So we have several criteria when it comes to evaluating a brand. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

08:26

Have you said no to some. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

08:28

Oh, we say no every week. I mean, we get offered brands on a regular basis and again, you know, there's not too many players in the market today that are able to, you know, bring brands to life and distribute them, the finance and so on and so forth. So there's an abundance of brands out there. We get offered brands on a regular basis. Our criteria, first and foremost, is the recognition of the brand. Does it need explaining? If it needs explaining, we're not interested. Number one. Number two is there an audience for the brand? Is there a retailer supporting the brand? Is there a retailer that is committed to the brand Is another very important criteria. And the third criteria is whether or not that brand is being covered by other brands in our own roster of brands. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

09:11

If we have something similar right. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

09:13

In other words, if we have something similar let's say, french connection is a junior brand so if somebody comes along with another junior brand, we look at it and say, are we taking, you know, one plus one and making it equal one and a half? 

09:24

you know we want we want one plus one to equal three, you know. So we definitely have a very specific criteria when evaluating brands. We are in the process of looking at something on a more serious level at the moment Hopefully we'll make an announcement soon and there's a lot of opportunity out there with brands. And also, you don't want to take on too much. You want to be able to focus. You want to make sure you're able to capture the DNA, the brand, properly. You want to make sure you create a detail or some kind of icon for the brand that ends up being a detail for the brand, similar to, let's say, the red bottom on the shoe of Lubaton. 

10:05

So Lubaton shoes, let's say, has the red bottom. He has that DNA detail that you know it's his shoe. For us to come up with a detail that's, you know, specific for that brand, that people will look at a year from now and say, oh, that's the French connection bag, that's what we call cracking the code, and we do that very well. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

10:22

How do you deal with the idea of resuscitating a brand that may be coming back from the dead? It's the brand, or the license per se is available at a lower price. It had its heyday, you know. Perhaps it had been ruined or tarnished by a couple other licensing manufacturers. Did you see that as an opportunity, or you see that as too much heavy lifting and therefore it's not worth it? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

10:50

Yeah, I mean, I really think it depends on the brand. I'd also depend. We also look at what's going on with the brand and other categories like apparel, footwear, what's going on with the brand and footwear, what's going on in the brand and apparel, other categories that relate to accessories, and if there's has revived or came back, let's say it could be interesting. But in most cases those are, you know, hit runs. We like longer term businesses, brands that are able to grow over the years and build, you know. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

11:19

How do you handle and I know, being an independent designer who's had their brand licensed I had a very unique situation where I was an onsite licensee I know you've dealt with that too historically taking on a brand that was run and owned by an independent designer. Do you see that as something you would do again or it was too much heavy lifting? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

11:42

Well, it depends on the designer and their vision and their outlook and, so far as they could take their business or their aesthetic, there are many talented designers out there that have potential for major growth. The great thing about the handbag business is that it's a very diverse category. It's a category that has room for innovation and newness. People like newness. They're like what's next, what's new, so there's always opportunities for new designers to come into the market, and there are designers out there, I said, that have a tremendous vision for unique product. Look at these brands that came out of nowhere, like Mansoor Garbielge. That team had a great, very good, clear vision as to what they wanted to do. They were all about understated luxury and they hit a market. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

12:32

Right place at the right time, with the right product, exactly exactly. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

12:37

So you look at that and say there's always opportunity for newness or new ideas in the handbag market. So that's what I think. What makes it exciting about being in the business is watching all these new trends, development details that are coming out, and so, yeah, there's definitely opportunity for newness on a regular basis in the marketplace in handbags. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

12:59

What do you think about this and I'm putting the quotes that people can't see a vegan leather. I mean, personally, I think it's a crock. I think and the wild thing is that there are a lot of new designers who speak about it proudly. It's vegan leather and I've been in the business not as long as you, but I've been through it enough to know the iteration of what it used to be called PVC and now it's called PU and now it's called vegan leather. It's not vegan and it's not leather. It is chemically made. It's still not good for the environment. 

13:31

We had an interesting guy who goes by Tanner Leatherstein, who is the Turkish guy he's amazing who rips apart the bags and then sees whether or not they're real, if they're worth the money, and he actually has his own handbag brand which not everybody knows, and he has his own handbag factory in Turkey, a leather factory which not everybody knows, and actually stating that if Tannery's are done the right way, they're actually better for the environment than chemically made quote unquote vegan leather. What are your thoughts on that? Because, honestly, selling off price and off price are the lower price brands. They're still demanding leather at a fraction of a cost of what leather actually should cost. So can you talk a little bit about all that? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

14:16

It's a great topic. Sustainability is a big, big word. The term vegan leather, I think, is a sexy way to say that it's PU or PVC. It's whitewashing. I agree with you. It's a little it's greenwashing? 

14:28

Yeah, I agree with you. It's a little ambiguous. We do not put vegan leather on our handbags. It is what it is. But in regards to sustainability, there are today many materials in PU that are made from plastic bottles. So the provenance of where the material's made is, in some cases, better for the environment, depending on the material. But a big trend in the marketplace that we're seeing right now is PU PVC being made out of plastic bottles versus plastic. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

15:00

Do you speak to the factory about that? Are you like, hey guys, because you're dealing with factories and dealing and they're producing things on a large scale. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

15:09

Of course, of course. So sustainability is a global agenda. It's not just a USA agenda. It's also the factories and material factories in China, in Asia, are very, very attuned to it and they are developing and testing and doing, and they did come up with some really interesting materials over the past year. I would say that are materials made out of plastic water bottles, so which kind of helps the environment. 

15:33

But, having said that, there's a big trend that's emerging in the market today, which is called DPP. Dpp is digital product passport, which is a QR code that's instilled in the bag or the garment that communicates to the customer exactly what components are made within that bag, where it was made, how much of what materials are within that bag, and that can go all the way through to discarding the bag and how it's discarded. All done through this QR chip. That's called a digital product passport. Digital product passport is a process that we're looking into as well. Several companies are I know coach is doing it their way ahead of the market with this DPP digital product passport. Thank you for being there. 

16:20

Yes, but it is a interesting thing because, you know, transparency is a value asset today. When selling product, you want to be honest with your customer and DPP shows them everything about that product and all the components and where it was made and so on and so forth that they can look up through the QR codes on their computer screen. So we're seeing that as an important trend and especially when you're using, you know you're paying extra to use materials that are environment friendly. You want to talk, you're warned about that, you want to let your customer know you are spending extra money for the sake of the environment, right? So we're seeing a big trend in that right now, which is kind of exciting, and I think it will separate companies apart that go ahead and, you know, communicate transparency to the customer, to you know, the end user, and do more business because of that. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

17:07

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17:50

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18:55

And then Terry Agans wrote this book, the End of Fashion. It's her first book I think not her second, who used to be head of fashion at the Wall Street Journal and it's about this whole construct, about back in the day when designers were the ones who dictated what the customer should and would buy, right. But once the internet came about and being able to pull the curtain away like the Wizard of Oz and actually seeing what's going behind the scenes, brands then started to develop a responsibility, and especially now that customers can call out brands if they're not doing the right thing, so much so that customers are now the ones who are theoretically dictating trends. Right, when you're buying denim, it's stressful, Like jeans. It's no longer a skinny jean, a mom jean, a high waist, a low waist, Like basically everything is still on trend. Do you think it's still so much that the customer is dictating these trends in terms of sales, or do you think the brand is still very much part of that In terms, especially in handbags? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

20:03

Great question. So there's no question that today the customer is a lot more educated and a lot more opinionated than ever before, and the reason for that, of course, is the internet. They see everything, tiktok. They're getting so much information that creates for them to have their own opinion and their own direction and their own likes. So, to answer your question, you're right on the customer definitely today has a very strong opinion and say in what they want and what they don't want. But having said that, it's our job as a brand, or the brand owner's job, to communicate and lead that customer into what is trending and why it's trending and why it works with various outfits that are also trending, and so it's all kind of connected. But at the end of the day, there's no question that leading the customer is a very important strategy and having them get inspired by a various product, and you try to communicate what inspiration, that, where it came from and why it's there and where it's going, and so on and so forth. So I think it's a combination of both. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

21:15

Do you think and I know we were talking about this before we started recording about your licenses per se and taking them on and the power of off price you had said that you are taking on these brands knowing full well that they need to be sold at a certain price point. I'm assuming and again you can correct me if I'm wrong in the 200, 300 price point range. Going above that might be suicide essentially for a company like yours that produces mass or produces in bulk per se and then whatever's left over then goes to off price. Can you talk a little bit about that process and pricing and so forth? And are you the one who's dictating what the retail price is, or is the retailer, and how does all that work together? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

22:01

Right. So basically the lines are created, the five brands that we represent, that we designed for and distributed for. The lines are created for departments, especially stores, for the most part. So the initial launch of these brands the specialty stores, department stores, big box retailers and so on and then the sub merchandise meaning at the end of the season, merchandise that's left over, that wasn't sold into that channel, goes to the off price channel. 

22:34

We have limitations contractually as to what we can sell off price as a company. So each brand has its percentage. For example, one brand says you could do only 40% of your volume off price versus 60 to the department store channel. So for every million dollars that you do in the department store channel you can do 400,000 in off price channel. So there are limitations as to what we can do with that channel and that's why when we do have available merchandise it goes very quickly and we have very strong partnerships with the off price category of retail retailers. They are great partners. They buy, they commit, they stand to their word, they pay the bill. They're a great retailer group, that channel, and that's one of the reasons why many vendors, wholesale companies, brands, are doing business in that channel, because it's easy money, so to speak. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

23:28

How much in terms of price, in terms of your cost, how close is it to your actual cost per bag? Like, if you're taking it you know it's great, you can sell it through, but you know, seeing the markup, the difference between what it is and what you can sell it at a higher price, distribution channel versus off price, is that stressful. Or you just know it's great because no matter what the inventory is sold, Right. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

23:57

So we have a whole logistics team that estimates, you know, how much to buy per category, per brand, per retailer and so on, and it's a whole science. So we spend a lot of money and time in you know forecasting what the needs are gonna be per channel, per retailer, per brand, and so on and so forth. So the leftover product is not really that stressful really. And again, this is stuff we learned over the years and through mistakes, and the business is a trial and error business, no matter what you're doing, right, right. So I think we have it down to a good you know science where we're able to forecast the needs of various brands for various retailers. And, of course, you know there's dialogue prior to the season with our retail partners about what they're thinking versus what we're thinking, and we try to align those ideas and come to a good conclusion. But overall, really, there's one thing I learned in handbags is always an exit, you know you never really get stuck with product. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

24:55

Right, right, yeah, because there's somebody somewhere that will always want it if it's a well-made bag. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

24:59

There's always an exit. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

25:01

That's a good thought. 

25:02

There's always an exit in handbags, so let me just get to the part that you know where you can really shine here In terms of bags that you are designing and trends and color and so forth, because this is something that we always get asked. Where do you see it going in terms of silhouette, in terms of e-points on a bag Like, and what colors do you think are coming and going? I mean the clutch, to my dismay and happiness, I guess in some regards, has made a wild comeback. Talk a little bit about that, because, honestly, this is like handbag crack to our listeners. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

25:38

Right. So basically, at the moment we're seeing a big surge in, like you said, clutches are performing really really well. Horse bodies continue to do really well, very strong. Anything hence free is doing really well. You know, everybody's on their phones today, so whether it's a handbag on your back or a bag that's over the chest that they don't have to carry, we're seeing a lot of that today. The E function people want pockets for everything. Utilitarian bags are doing really really well right now as well. People are getting into common sense buying. When it comes to a bag where they want a phone for their pocket, they want to, I'm sorry. They want a pocket for their phone, they want a pocket for their wallet, they want to have it organized, a feature of some sort. So utilitarian design is doing really really well. Anything hence free is doing really really well. And a lot of these retro shapes, like you mentioned the clutch, rightfully, so I'm seeing a phenomenal pull on clutches and that kind of thing, but as well. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

26:36

With the clutches that you design? Are you selling them with a crossbody strap all the time, Like always? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

26:44

Some yes, some no, so we try to give them the option. Some of them come for the wristlet, some come with a detachable strap so they can wear it with a shoulder or they can put it under their arm. So it's done various ways within the various brands. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

26:57

And what colors do you think are on its way out? Or is it one of those same thing? It's black, brown and oxblood regardless, and then it's neutrals, no matter why. Do you see a color that's really popping up other than pink? Right? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

27:10

so interesting. I mean, everybody knows the number one selling color in bags is black, so that's usually 40% 50% of the business, which is huge. And then there's a pop color that comes in every season or two. Last season it was that whole green thing that was going on avocado. All kinds of different green colors were selling really really well. Pink, of course, because of the Barbie movies, started picking up very, very nicely. I think it's on the downtrend at the moment, though. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

27:36

Me too. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

27:38

And the nudes are very, very strong year round, so we're seeing the light tans and light topes performing really really well. Kognac is also on the way down a little bit. There was a very strong color but now it's slow down a lot For a long time. You know that medium brown color kind of slowed down a lot and then, of course, white in the summer does really really well. So white in the spring summer season is about 25, 30% of black business, black ambex, but black is the number one color by far. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

28:09

OK. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

28:10

We do solid black packs on several of our designs with that just sell like crazy. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

28:17

Must be nice to know that, no matter what, you've got your guaranteed ones and you're going in saying that we can project that this inventory will sell as a result of it purely being a backpack and black. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

28:29

Right, and we also try to be on the safe side as well, because when you're buying inventory, you're taking your buying inventory, you're putting dowels on the table. So whenever we have this rule that whenever we have a new material we use a proven silhouette Whenever we use a new silhouette we use a proven material, so you're always at least 50% more. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

28:50

Okay, I want to round this out with one question and I'm really excited to hear why and what you have to say. So, 10 years ago even I'd say well, not even five because the pandemic just destroyed everything. I mean handbags took such a hit as a result of being trapped inside and I think novelty. Historically, post-pandemic studies have shown, even if you go all the way back, because I've spoken about this if you go all the way back to the Spanish flu with the roaring 20s, after novelty made a huge comeback because people were ready for new, fun, pop of color, so forth, and you said back in the day there were very few people making handbags. Right now there are very few people making handbags. 

29:35

Why do you think that? Do you think it's going to change? I know off-price has a lot to do with that. What are your thoughts on the state of the industry? Do you think more manufacturers where people like you were going to come back I mean, you spawn from your dad having a shop and another time I'd love to hear your story of like, hey, I'm just going to go out, I'm going to go travel and see how production works Do you think that people like you will make a comeback within the industry sense. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

30:03

Right, good question. So you know, this industry had a one-shoot punch about two years ago, where you know. First we had the pandemic, which everything shut down. People were staying home, there was nothing going on which took a bite out of a lot of companies' coffers. Number one, number two. Right after the pandemic, it was a major logistics debacle. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

30:25

Yeah, goods were trapped in waters for ages. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

30:27

The shipping companies? No, but the shipping companies were charging, you know, 20,000 a container, 18,000 a container if you can get them, and keep in mind the container only holds like 4,000 stuffed ambacks. So you know you're paying $5 a bag to bring them in from China. And then the triple whammy was the 41% duty which you're talking about having an extra 25% because of the tariff war with China. Most companies bring goods in from China. So between the pandemic, between the logistics of shipping logistics and then the extra duty, many companies couldn't sustain that kind of hit. So it went from. It's fair to say, we lost about maybe a good eight, nine companies in the past three or four years in our industry that just threw in the towel. Yeah, we were fortunate. We were able to, you know, sustain the pain and be able to weather the storm and be able to stay business. But it definitely also took a big bite out of our company as well. I gotta tell you it hurt everybody in this industry. 

31:33

Thank God, container rates are back to normal today. Supply chain is working. It's much easier today than it was two years ago and the business is becoming back to normal. And the fact that there's less players out there creates more opportunity. So there's no question today that there's room for additional, you know, companies, ideas, designs, designers and to the market. It's actually a great time to enter the markets Because people are looking for newness. There's a lot of the more of the same going on out there, yeah, and people love to see newness. You know they love to see new designers, new ideas, new brands. So I think there's always, especially in the handbag category, there's always opportunity to jump in and be able to gain recognition. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

32:16

Have you moved on from producing in China and looked towards other countries, Because I know other manufacturers like yourself have moved to Africa, other parts of Asia and so forth. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

32:26

Yeah, that's a big, big topic. It's actually one of the topics that's keeping us up in the night. You know, china is a great country to work with. Our whole team is in China. We're established in China. Are we producing in other countries? Yes, we are doing Cambodia, we're doing some Vietnam. We are starting to shift slowly out of China, primarily because of the you know threat with the potential whole Taiwan thing and what's going to be and how the US is going to react we don't know. So there's a lot of unknowns today with China that could be a potential risk down the road. So we are shifting slowly. But I must say it's just so easy to work with China because we've been there for 30 years and we say a half a sentence and they get it. 

33:07

They know what you want, you know. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

33:09

Right that learning curve is expensive when you move to new factories. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

33:14

Absolutely, absolutely, that's for sure. So, yeah, I mean, cambodia is pretty good, vietnam is good. We are looking at a factory in Bangladesh Now. These are all Chinese managers or factory owners that are investing in these other countries as well. So you are dealing with people that know what they're doing, but it's the labor force that needs training and getting up to speed. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

33:36

Right, this has been so enlightening. I mean, honestly, I bet you and I could talk about that till the song comes down. I'm so grateful for you to have taken your time and sharing your wealth of a lifetime of handbags. I know this is going to be a really well-listened two-episode, purely because educational, lady, this was so enriching and I think we may have to have you back again to talk about what the state of the industry is, because I know if anybody like you said so many people threw in the towel just because it was like well, I've been doing this for 30 years, why bother beating my head against it while I'm waiting for another life cycle to pass? I might as well just move on retired, cut my losses, but you're still here and I assume you're not going anywhere, because this is just who you are. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

34:23

Yes, we love the business. You know, and I tell my folks here that nobody goes to Harvard to end up in the handbag business. You grow up in the business, you got to love the business. So, yeah, thank you for your time and keep up the great work and you're doing great things in our industry, so keep it up. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

34:40

How can people learn more, find more about AHQ and buy bags that you're making? 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

34:47

So our website is ahqcom. There's plenty of information there and we're happy to share any information, and they can also look us up on Instagram and all those other social media things. We have a whole team that does that here and I don't really know it well, but AHQcom is our website. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

35:04

Wonderful Abe. Thank you so much for taking the time and we look to see more bags coming from you. Talk to you soon. 

Abe Chehebar

Guest

35:12

Thank you so much, bye-bye. 

Emily Blumenthal

Host

35:14

Thanks for listening. Don't forget to rate and review, and follow us on every single platform at Handbag Designer. Thanks so much. See you next time. 




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