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Antoine Manning from Homage Year on Handbag Designer 101 Podcast every Tuesday

Updated: Dec 21, 2023





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.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:25

Antoine, welcome. Welcome to the Handbag Designer 101 podcast. I am so excited to have you on. This is truly exciting because we have been following your journey for quite some time. I have so much to talk to you about, especially the evolution, how you got started, the dates that are on your Instagram, what that means. I know everything that has meaning where you are and where it's all going. So why don't you introduce yourself and let's get this party started? Okay?

Antoine Manning

Guest

00:52

Well, first, thank you for having me. I've been also following and watching a scene which you've been doing. I really appreciate it. I actually haven't really taken the time to talk to me. In terms of my name is Antoine Manning. I'm the Creative Director of Homage Year. We started at our idealized since 2014. We actually started making products since 2015 and throughout the year at least the recent years we've started transitioning into accessories because we realized that that's, I guess, the best way for us to express our ideas in a more digestible way for communities in terms of it's easier to get that across versus t-shirts and whatnot, at least in my opinion. And yeah, so now we're just continuously just finding our voice and our strength and our storytelling through our accessories.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

01:30

So where are you from originally?

Antoine Manning

Guest

01:33

I'm from the Bronx, new York, and I moved to Covington, georgia, in 2007.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

01:38

Why.

Antoine Manning

Guest

01:39

My father. I don't know. I just know that one day my dad was like well, we're moving to Georgia and I was excited because I was a kid and the idea of being somewhere new was really exciting to me.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

01:49

So that's how I know how old were you when you moved.

Antoine Manning

Guest

01:52

I think I was eight years old, because it was the summer of 2007 and I was born in 1999. So I was eight.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

01:58

So by this point did your whole family move, or just you, you and your dad.

Antoine Manning

Guest

02:02

It was me, my dad, my uncle and my older brother, so it was us four, and then me getting it, then my sister came along shortly thereafter, and then my aunt came along shortly thereafter as well. My mom, she's in New York.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

02:14

So it was, all the boys made this pilgrimage.

Antoine Manning

Guest

02:17

Pretty much.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

02:18

Wow, wow, wow. Do you remember the journey, like going there and moving, starting over. Do you remember all that?

Antoine Manning

Guest

02:23

Yeah, we drove in a U-Haul in a car. So my other uncle, my aunt's husband, he helped us drive the U-Haul truck from New York to Georgia, and me and my other uncle, my older brother, we drove in a separate car behind them and when we first moved here we didn't have the house here, so we were actually staying in a house for like four days as like the house was being closed on. So and we have people like to drive into houses and like viewing houses and stuff like that. It was really interesting experience. It was really surreal, but I don't know, as a kid, especially going through that, I had fun, like it was really cool, it was really enjoyable, it was exciting. I guess that kind of fueled an adventurous spirit within me to a certain degree, but it was really filled with good energy. It was really fun. I had no better deal with that New begin.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

03:04

So you were eight and then you're in Georgia and then you had to start all over. You were the new kid, you had a new house, all boys, which I can't even imagine that's. I mean, it seems like it's a pervading theme and it's really great to hear this strong, positive male role models who are able to have such an impact on you so young, because you know there is a deficit of handbag designers who are male, right, designing for women, and what does that mean? And how do you really understand her needs and those customers? I think this is dialing into some really cool stuff. So at this point you're eight, where you are those kids that sketched and dreamed and like, oh, I want to do this, I want to do that. Like, how did all this? Then what?

Antoine Manning

Guest

03:50

So the funny thing is, as a kid, are you like really with, like Marla and like Japanese comic books?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

03:56

Yeah.

Antoine Manning

Guest

03:57

You know like I can mostly write.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

03:58

No, but okay.

Antoine Manning

Guest

04:00

Well, as a kid, me and my older brother, we were always just like wrestling into like Japanese comic, select, naruto, dragon Ball Z, like stuff like that.

04:08

It's like Japanese cartoons pretty much, and as a kid, I wanted to be like we wanted to make our own Japanese comic, basically, and so I spent most of my time, like most of my days, of studio and drawing characters and stuff like that. And me, my brother, we would like bounce it off each other, like hear all the stories, and then we'd share each other's story at the end of the week and we'd like read the story almost like a weekly chapter of our comic. And then, as I got older, like my palette for what I would be willing to do is start to expand. So, whether it be like be a YouTube or a gamer or a comic book bag, my, I always wanted to create something and just create a space of and for something. So as a kid, it definitely bloomed. And as I got older, like tours, like the high school age and whatnot my goals became more, I guess, realistic in a sense. But after like around 2014, that's when everything shifted back into the artistic, creative side.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

04:56

Did you go to a art art based high school or you just went to a high school?

Antoine Manning

Guest

05:02

Very little in high school. High school, middle school, energy school, all the school going to a regular. When I was in New York, all the schools I went out there were private Catholic schools, but what I came out here is all public schools.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

05:12

So you were wearing a uniform as a little kid.

Antoine Manning

Guest

05:15

Yeah, and year olds were in the button up at the front With the eye.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

05:19

Yeah, yeah, yeah With the vest.

Antoine Manning

Guest

05:21

Yes, exactly, I had the vest yeah.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

05:23

Yeah, we see kids on the street and you want to make them into little dolls because they all look so you know we. Yeah, well, you know that child who's wearing said uniform has a shelf life, because you know there's a beginning and an ending of someone wearing a vest and a bow tie and a button up and some of those kids are going to break out and others are just going to follow through. I'm like Nope, this is who I am. This is like raised in bread. But were you doing anything artistic before? Bags? And you know, because I've still many questions about your silhouette and the colors and the palette and all of that. So how in the what and how did you get started? Like, you're not that old and you look good, so you must have been staying out, and so that's funny, Nah, so my artistic journey was pretty much always there.

Antoine Manning

Guest

06:14

I was like I always had like that adventurous, dreamy mind and I could like create kind of worlds, and with prompts at least, it makes it even easier for me to do stuff like that. But around 2014, my father passed away. So after he passed away from me, I was just like because in my mind I was 15. Oh, in my mind everything was.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

06:33

It was turned upside down.

Antoine Manning

Guest

06:35

Yeah, I was like that's exactly how I'd describe it If I expected it to be all right forever. That's my dad, so never except anything happened to me they in my life. So after he passed away, it basically made me look at the life in a way where it's like nothing's really promised, everything's very temporary to say, and I don't want to live a life based on where I'm chasing anyone else's dreams except mine. So from that point, and that's then I started to paint, painting was my first medium of choice.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

06:59

You started painting before.

Antoine Manning

Guest

07:01

I never paid before.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

07:02

After this tragedy you're like I need to do something. I need to do something and you just started to worry. Was that that's proper trauma, right? Especially for a kid? 15, it's still tender age, you're still valuable as a kid. My daughter's still 15 and you're like a hormone crazy soup to begin with. So something like that happens. Your families are your roots. You take away those roots that you know you're so good. So the fact that you moved to painting as opposed to anything else, like who got you the paint, how'd that happen?

Antoine Manning

Guest

07:38

And that's what I'm about to say, because I will definitely give a lot of credit to my older brother, because during that time period he was in college. He's four years older than me, so that was my transitional years from my freshman year of high school into my sophomore year. So that was his transitional time from freshman year to sophomore year in college. So he was taking like what's he called? What's the Georgia State University?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

07:59

So he was close.

Antoine Manning

Guest

08:00

Yeah, so he went to school about 40 minutes away from home. I'll see him like every other weekend, like when during the school semester started, but he was taking art history class basically, and in art history class they were talking about different artists, like abstract and whatnot, so he learned that to learn about like just different artists, like Jackson Pollard, again Ba-di-ah, and yeah, you met at collaboration with Basquiat, didn't you?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

08:21

Yeah, I saw him. It's like wow, but all coming together. Yeah, that's it. We haven't even gotten that.

Antoine Manning

Guest

08:27

Exactly, exactly, the whole full circle really is. And I think I really threw with that, like hitting the ball into class and like I'm telling him like I think they want to try painting and stuff like that, and he's like, oh well, like we decided to start having a conversation about it. But I started like seeing how, like artists would channel their expression specifically into abstract painting. So as the school year started and I transitioned back to the school I started at, it was called Alcoly. I went to Alcoly. I'm an added teacher. Her name was Caitlin Mockin. I call her my arm Because during that time, like you said, like in the very susceptible time period of your world is upside down and whatnot she was a person that really like grounded me in terms of art to actually see this as something that I can do, because I wasn't really good in the beginning. But she like to kept on encouraging me to keep on going and that it's a good job, it's really good, it's really deep, it's really profound or whatnot, and she was just considered to nurture me.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

09:11

People don't realize that it takes time, right.

09:15

It's funny. Someone was talking to me about handbags and this and that and like being the sex bird, and I said, listen, I'm an overnight success for 20 and that was a 20 year sleep, so it took a long time to go from here to there. It's not like become good at anything in such a short period. People don't realize that they really don't like basically your back and her drum and they're like, hey, look at you and you're like no, no, no, no, you don't know, we went through the idea.

09:43

Let's go all the way, all the way, all the way back to your teacher who said no, try this again or try exactly.

Antoine Manning

Guest

09:50

And you live in Europe. So have you been to Walmart? Yeah, of course. Okay. So at Walmart they had this, especially when I was younger they had, like this art section. So I would literally go to Walmart I would get the little cheap paint, get the cheap brushes.

10:02

At that time I had like I would get like a $200 allowance a month from Walmart because I still didn't live in New York, so I lived with my uncle and my uncle out here, moved out here with us. So I used to spend like on, like holiday and like Christmas, summer time, stuff, like that. I'll go out and like Thanksgiving, all those those occasions, or should come out here. But I would use like portion of that money I should gave me by caravans, like bulk caravans, by bulk paint and whatnot, and then just be painting. Painting, how I feel, is painting expression. And then I transitioned into poetry and then from poetry I transitioned into designing and then I started to transition to photography, because all those different aspects of creativity, they give you room for expression in a different way. So what I can say with painting and like the visual language I can create with paint, I can't really create that with the poetry aspect because those are not my words.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

10:51

Visual to go with it. Exactly so, and I'm often like my that all of that is so up to interpretation. So, you create something. That's the interpretation, so it sounds like you were looking for something to make your mar.

Antoine Manning

Guest

11:06

Yep, and that's the way it was my biggest thing for the stuff like that, even though if I ever paint again, it's like everything is up to interpretation. I create things from my own meetings with my own issues and things in mind, but I don't know what someone else is going to get from that painting and that's going to touch and make them feel a certain way and actually fast forward into when I was around like 2017, 2016,. I was at this thing called GHP, it's called Governor's Honest Program and basically it's like a state-satient thing where pretty much high schools from all over the state would be like a competition for different majors. So, yeah, so my first year I did it was my sophomore year I didn't make through. I made it through the semifinals by the end of the year all the way, but then next year I made it through the finals and we went to like this like rigorous course, like for a month or so, and like just painting and practicing.

11:51

I made this really big painting Like one of my best abstract paintings to my today, and we had a show that we had at the end of the year and I'm whatever for you to get this lady. So this lady she found me, like on the last day of the thing of GHP at a party like we're having for everybody, and she was like, did you make that painting? I was like, yeah, she had cries, like it made me cry. It was really good painting, basically.

12:11

And after that I was like that's what I really realized, like the power in making or in art and that's what you hear about, like the greats, like on Mark Bosco people look at Mark Mark Ruff goes out and just cry. Or like I feel different emotions. So, like when she told me that, I was just like maybe this is something that I can actually do at a high level. But yeah, that's where my artistic, creative like desire really started. But in terms of bags, to get to the bags, we have to size for a little bit. It's like 2020. That's like pandemic year. So it's the pandemic year I was in college.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

12:43

Did you go to college?

Antoine Manning

Guest

12:44

I went to Georgia State as well.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

12:46

And you stayed, got it.

Antoine Manning

Guest

12:47

Yeah. So I went to Georgia State. I stayed in Atlanta, and the funny thing is I want that too, and it was like my mindset was, to be honest, I didn't really care for school, but I did. I cared to be in the city, because if you want to be an artist, you have to be in the city. That's just what it is. So I was like LA, new York or Atlanta. I didn't want to go to LA, new York I think I was prepared and ready for New York at the moment, so I decided to stay in Atlanta.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

13:08

That's interesting, and this is speaking so much to who you are that you were confident, but you weren't confident enough to really jump on out there. So I think this is interesting. So you were moving forward with art, looking at it from a high level, like I'm going to be an artist, this is what I'm going to do. Did you get a scholarship for school?

Antoine Manning

Guest

13:26

I was going to go to SCAD at first and if I got a good scholarship but the scholarship is still open enough, yeah, but you know, a Syracuse College of Art, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I wasn't a go there, but last minute I changed my mind. I don't know why. It is about certain messages, like last minute decisions, but I'll get like a feeling and I got this experience Like let me just go to GSU. So I just decided to go to GSU. I'm very excited and I attended there for three years.

13:50

I left in 2020 during the pandemic, but before the pandemic of that year, I started taking my brand even more seriously because at that point I was just really focused on painting. But in that year I was like, okay, I can actually do something with design and actually be profiled with it, so prolific, so let me put some energy into doing that as well. So in the beginning of 2020, I organized like I had my friend, like a few months friends, and I was like, okay, like I really want to do a pop flip side thing. You still like this is like the concept of it. The concept of it was called, or, as I've never said, Is this all art, though?

14:19

No, this was painting. You know, I painted. This was the collection, my first collection, and I'll just put it some more this time collection of bags. No, it was like like like, with like T-shirts and like accessories. This is right before the bag.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

14:29

Right, so what else? T-shirts and what.

Antoine Manning

Guest

14:33

It was T-shirts, it was key chains, it was plush pillows, it was.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

14:37

Where you getting the materials from.

Antoine Manning

Guest

14:39

Some of them I got made through manufacturers, other ones I had made in Atlanta. We did hoodies or the schemas.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

14:46

So were you just buying the plates and you were doing me art straight on them?

Antoine Manning

Guest

14:51

This is for the pieces. So, like for the hoodies, you get them on type printing on them. Meet the DETGDirect to Government printing. For the t-shirts we did screen printing. But a lot of the pieces that I made the funniest part about it is that a lot of the pieces were like photographically, like inspired, so like I would take photos and then I'll get the photos half toned and then screen printed on this shirt and then I'll write on top of them. So it was like almost like a mix of needed type of the shirts. But how much for your charging from the shirts. The shirts were like like $25, $30. Were you making it?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

15:19

Making it off of them.

Antoine Manning

Guest

15:20

Yeah, I made that was the most money I made at this time and yeah, I was really happy about it. But the collection was called Words that I Never Said and they all were basically like different sayings and all the sayings were like very introspective and prolific and whatnot. It's just starting to agree and towards the fall I had to pop up for it and during the pop-up basically before the pop-up I had another Amazon. I quit that job to make the pop-up happen. Doing that pop-up it was a week-long pop-up. On the fourth to fifth day it got buggerized so I had to have to close down a six-day get Risa free-made and then on the seventh day we came back and finished it out. It was perfect. Yeah, after it was done, yeah, someone like broke in it, stole the paintings, stole the rest of the shirts we had in there. It was crazy.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

16:02

But how did you handle that? Were you traumatized? Or you're like, okay, move on, next figure it out.

Antoine Manning

Guest

16:07

Yeah, at first I was angry, like I was angry, but then the funny thing is, like my uncle, the day before that happened, and like he was, or the day of that happened, he was like when you're there, like after it was done or you're still there, are you there by yourself? I was like, yeah, like I would be like the rest of the inventory, the inventory's there, and fix everything up. And I'm like, yeah, I would. And he was like, if you're going to meet him in Chesnopolis or just don't stay like after by yourself, it's like okay. And then the next day that happened and I left so I had to regularize it. So I'm like you know, I'm glad I've listened, because I don't know what could have happened. But I was just more civil, like angry at first, and then I was like okay. And I was like, well, okay, we do.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

16:40

So I basically sold, like you lose a lot of money off of that.

Antoine Manning

Guest

16:43

The good thing about that at that time the stuff that we're taking were stuff that I could replace. So it was like I'd sell the panty, but the ski mask we're pretty much sold out. The hoodies were sold out, all the special stuff that we were like the plushies and the pillows just sold out. So thankfully no one can take it from those. But they took the t-shirts and whatnot. But I shut down the sixth day or the fifth day and the sixth day and then on the seventh day we came back and we finished it out. It was good, it was really good.

17:06

People came through, showed loves or really had a great 285. And then, after that pop-up happened, I basically got interested at Yeezy through my friend and yeah, in Fayetteville which was crazy because people would be here that way and from there I was doing like the dialing samples. My friend, she was actually making like and sewing like different like samples for them. We had two different roles and during this part inside, like what she was like making different samples and stuff like that, I would just draw stuff I like came in here to try this and do that and that and that, and the internship had edited.

17:38

She had basically said like you should make a bag, basically. And she gave me like a design, like a little sketch. It's like the homage logo but it's like a handle on it. But I didn't get to use that design. But then I went home and I was like I should make a bag. I should make a bag and I have a sketch somewhere around here. But I just drew the shape of it. I just drew the middle with like the two-toned aspect of it, drew the little pocket. I was like, okay, I think that's it. And then I talked to the manufacturer and made it happen.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

18:04

So which map? How'd you find your manufacturer?

Antoine Manning

Guest

18:06

Ironically I held my friend find a manufacturer like two months before that, so I already had the manufacturer there. What she told me to do with it, I was like manufacturer domestically in Atlanta or is overseas?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

18:18

Like China. Okay so your friend was a designer or aspiring designer?

Antoine Manning

Guest

18:23

He is. He made a bag almost like a work bag reasons like a compartment of retain wish shape, has two compartments on it, two handles. But it was really nice that I found a manufacturer for them, because he made a set up himself. So I found a manufacturer. It's actually to get it made so you can sell it.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

18:39

Right, so this is interesting. So you are an accidental handbag designer technically.

Antoine Manning

Guest

18:45

Pretty much, yeah, pretty much.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

18:47

I don't know if you know the story of Rebecca Minkoff, but that's pretty similar, where she was in accessories and so forth. That happened to throw a bag together for celebrity friend of hers who was in a movie and therefore the bag got a lot of attention and traction, which was the aha moment. Like why am I doing t-shirts? T-shirts were the gateway to get me to where I bags. You know, people are going to seem to be responding more with the bags, but now we can get into the nitty gritty about the bags. So, first of all, how did your friend react when you were like by the way, I'm doing this too, because it's?

Antoine Manning

Guest

19:18

that's what I showed the bag.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

19:19

Well, he was doing bags and you're like, hey, by the way, I'm going to do this too. I have an idea. Was he supportive? Or was he like, hey, I'm doing this. Or was he like, oh, that's cool. Like what was his thought?

Antoine Manning

Guest

19:30

No, he was supported and I actually was very apprehensive about that First.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

19:34

I'm like they got a long time shit all the way, like that's my piece yeah yeah, yeah, because it's like oh, that's his thing, and I'm an artist, I'm doing hoodies Like I can't get into bags. So no, I didn't.

Antoine Manning

Guest

19:45

And I mean, when I talked to him about it, he was very supportive. He was like hey, that's really cool, like that's cool. And I appreciated that, because I don't know if you get diffraction from different people, but he was very supportive about it, thankfully. And when I showed him he was like I'm like, I'm sorry, he's like he's really cool.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

19:58

Is he still doing bags?

Antoine Manning

Guest

20:00

He does a lot of different things. So he does like mess, he like does a lot of different things. He did best. He did bags, he did pants, he did shirts. He does a lot of different, like kind of soul words.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

20:08

He is not a back person.

Antoine Manning

Guest

20:11

He's not specifically. Yeah, he's not specifically in night bags.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

20:13

So you did this first sample. How'd you get it? How much did you spend on your first sample?

Antoine Manning

Guest

20:18

You only had one at that go I had three made.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

20:21

What they look like.

Antoine Manning

Guest

20:22

I have the first one. It was a two toned orange one that we sold on a platform, and that was the first one, but the shade was a little less saturated, pretty much.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

20:32

Was it leather or was it P you? It was leather, it was yeah it was VG leather.

Antoine Manning

Guest

20:36

It was VG leather, but that time was the first one, so it was really soft. It was really soft, but I didn't realize it was really soft, and so later on any structure and couldn't stand on its own.

20:45

Yeah, like it could stand in this stuff, but it just was really soft. And now the ones that we have are like just sturdy, like it has that structure support. It didn't really have a lot of support before that. So I got that one and that was the way that we have it now, Like the two toned, the two cuts, the pocket that I got.

21:01

Second one I got was an all white one with a red interior but the straps don't come off and there's no like two cuts. So it was like as if this bag was just completely together, like no cuts there and the straps are just stuck on it, Like you can't take them off. And then the last one I made was pretty much the two cut one, but so it looked exactly like this, but with no side, like no straps at all. So the one came with the detachable one, the one came with no detachable strap is just stuck on it. And then that one the last one came, was just like a clutch holder and while I got the samples I was like, yeah, this is the orange was the one, and I actually like have something really good. So I got the sample in November. I didn't release it or show anybody until like March of the following year.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

21:43

Why.

Antoine Manning

Guest

21:43

Because I knew it was something special. I thought it was something special. I didn't want to either diminish it and or I don't know. I just didn't want to see, like this is what happened, that the chance that someone else could make the possibly or like, just recreate or do it before me and do it better than me. So I was like I'm a holding away, that's everything's right, and I mean it went up when it's on in there.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

22:01

So you made this bag. You recognize the bag has some sort of DNA to it. You know, being somebody who is so immersed in bags and independent designers and understanding your customer and designing into a price point and recognizing the 4p is the price, product promotion, placement, but right smack in the center is the customer. So it's so interesting because you're coming straight from the product angle. So you had this made. It was not leather. How did you know price points? Did you get a minimum? Like were you like, okay, to the factory, give me the price points for 500 units? Like, did you know how you were going to sell? Like, what was your thought? Because I understand that feeling where you get this bag and you're like, hmm, now what?

22:41

And to that point I work with a lot of designers, were terrified to show it to people like, oh no, no, no, they're going to copy. And I'm like, well, at some point you have to do that because it's not going to sell. And showing factories and buyers and DAs and non disclosure agreements thing will last in your face. They will be like not going to work with you. That's not realistic. And if you do it to a factory, they'll do it, but they'll put you at the bottom of the to do list and they'll charge you X 10 because they know you're, you just don't know. So here you are with these three samples in bright colors, and typically bright colors, you know, aren't the first ones to sell. The bright color bags are always like the supplementary. By the way, here's our showpiece, like the cover of the magazine, and when I'm looking to buy I'm going to go look for that black, I'm going to look for that neutral, for that ox sled. So you have this bag. Then what happened?

Antoine Manning

Guest

23:32

So, with that now, when I'm going to do like that process because I'm still trying to, you know, advocate money wisely, whatnot but from the money I made from Yeezy and the money I had left from the pop up and even like the other goods I had from the collection that I like, I still was doing stuff like that with the collection too, so I would just use that money and sell it into buying the bag. I first did like moqs of 50 for each color, so I got two colors and I got two tone green and I got a two tone orange. That's how I started dropping them.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

24:02

So I got those green and green or green and orange.

Antoine Manning

Guest

24:06

So the two tone green version. So it was almost like literally how this looks, but it's green, so like a really light green, and then I go really deep but really deep, but green. I would have one of the green ones that's how people much people love the other things right and the orange one and those two. While I dropped them. I dropped them with a new site and with this through a shoot with my friend, jaylin Amir, really, really, really talented, really talented, and when I dropped them they sold out and like they sold out really fast, I think, like like a day or two.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

24:38

Where did you sell them, and how much were you selling them for, and where did you make the profit?

Antoine Manning

Guest

24:43

I sold them in on my site. I had like a really bad site in the beginning, so I sold on my really bad site.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

24:48

Everybody had a really bad site at the beginning. Yeah, it was great. That's a right of passage.

Antoine Manning

Guest

24:53

Yeah, so I sold it through my site. The beginning price was $150 and I did make profit, but at the time I was doing all my orders. I was doing literally everything like I was.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

25:05

As you should be. As you should be, yeah, yeah.

Antoine Manning

Guest

25:09

Exactly so. I had like a hundred bags in my house. I had to product quality check them all. I had to. You know the stuff I'm all in my hand. I have photos of me in my house with this printed boxes on the ground and they're all open and I'm just there with that access like quality checking them all and then putting them labeling.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

25:27

I still have PTSD from the tape, the box tape, that yeah, I actually love that.

Antoine Manning

Guest

25:33

That's actually one of my favorite things. I love for that. That's my favorite part. That's one of my favorite parts. The mug of the life.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

25:39

Yeah, it's funny how people respond to packing their own stuff and what the box tape does, because I'm like, oh god, here we are again and making sure. Now let me ask you, were you putting thank you notes in your boxes?

Antoine Manning

Guest

25:51

So at first I would because I'm head right them, I'm head right to thank you those and stuff. But then once I got to do a hundred, I got quality checking all like. At that point my thank you for me, like the thank you, was like making sure the bag that what you got was this good and an ample time. But I definitely would like emphasize like always, like posting a thing, like thank you on Instagram to everybody who was like supporting me and supporting the brand, because it was like that the love I find that moment specifically was just so profound and otherworldly that I don't really like this. Very little that can happen that could surpass that, in my opinion.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

26:21

Oh, you were boxing the bags. How many followers did you have at the time to thank those people?

Antoine Manning

Guest

26:26

I think I'm a personal. I had maybe like 9,000 followers, 8,000, something like that, on the old my page. I think we were around the same, like the same around volume as my personal, so around 8,000 people following us.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

26:40

That's a lot. That's like a micro influencer, because you already have a long community. So how did you come up with the name and how were you able to build the 8,000 by the time you got there? Was that all from the paintings and the hoodies and the work you've done?

Antoine Manning

Guest

26:54

Yeah, I was, like, I'm, that person I treasured, and by you all, my relationships at like as time, like, like goes. So I'm a lot of friends through high school, middle school, college just a different aspect of my life that we're still linked in. But even so, after that, and even more so than I should, I say, yeah, the littlest people that met along the way, we were always supported and showed love and whatnot, and the name of the brand idealized like the brand of what not 24 routine, but in 2050, a few people started passing away and is that, what all those that, what all those dates are yeah, most of the dates are like 6 30s on my dad past 7 women is when I found out 8 to is his shooter rule, not 5 2015, that's something that I first t-shirt and 2 1 2016 that's one of my friends classics had passed away.

27:37

Yeah, there's a few different days so it's like a lot of different passing going on, but, oh my, basically just remember the year homage go. Much of the people who passed away is a few different, like footnotes and principles that we stand on. So, yeah, it's just like creating a community through like desire and do meaningful clothing create things that are going to be clothing.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

27:54

Do you think you're going to keep those dates on your social?

Antoine Manning

Guest

27:57

you're going to always have yeah, for sure, and even something, just still there's. It's got to the point where there's too many days I can. I can't add any more dates for certain days, like if I could add on there, I would.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

28:05

But do you think, though, as a commercial brand, what those dates represent are not commercial? Do you see that you may evolve as a brand owner and then incorporate those dates into your brand and your design?

Antoine Manning

Guest

28:19

yeah, like, I still try to look for ways in which to incorporate them into the design than into like pieces that we do create. But from a commercial aspect, I said this for us as a brand, whether it's commercial or not, that those are pivotal experiences, that people that have allowed us to be where we are. You know, if you get what I mean, like, if that didn't happen or certain people didn't go away and XYZ, then I guess, to a certain extent, my dream wouldn't be here at all. It wouldn't be at all. I had I'm the reason to be here and doing this. So I would say in terms of that, at the very least, their memory and paying respects to their memory is the least that I can do. And, yeah, I guess that's the way which I choose to acknowledge them, whether it's no or not. So I don't think I would be coaxed into changing it, dude, so like, like.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

29:00

I'm just playing devil's advocate, just because I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know.

29:04

I don't think I knew it yeah, you know, as a marketer and understanding the DNA and the brand, because I knew that those dates obviously had some sort of proper deep, intrinsic meaning. But to grow the brand from here to there, like at some point would you say, okay, perhaps you know, it's interesting. So I work with a lot of people and I have a colleague who's in mergers and acquisitions and what I work with a lot of designers and some of whom are making well into the millions, and this particular colleague of mine said is how many people do they working for them? And I said, oh, it's small, they're doing really well. And he's like well, it's still a law firm. And I said a law firm. And anybody who's been part of our incubator and so forth understands what all this means. But a law firm means in terms of what you're bringing in, because you are unable to scale it, because it's still just you, right. So it's basically it's you doing everything and you're not growing the brand to scale. So, yes, it's great, make all that, but what are you going to do to take it to the next level?

30:07

And at some point you have to, and I'm not telling that you should do it, but that one needs to evolve and grow and you have to recognize that this brand has to survive without you being at the core, because the people who are bags at some point are not going to care or be vest you. You are story, what got you there. They want the bag and how the bag affects them no, how the brand affects you. So I'm just playing devil's advocate because I was looking at the dates and I'm like it must be something monumental. It must be about something about people who've been close to him past. But what happens when you get to the point where you become commercial enough and do you want people to associate these heartfelt, deep things, which are really hard to cope, to your brand? So, yeah, conversating with you, because obviously the growth of how I see everybody's brand is, I want every designer to succeed and obviously, being a huge fan of yours, I was looking at those dates and I said I wonder how he's going to evolve, what that, or if these are going to stay there forever.

31:12

Because everything on your social is real estate. Right, it's an opportunity to tell people, it's an opportunity to grow and with using all that real estate up on those deeds. Again, I'm not telling you that you should change that. But you want everything to be an opportunity to sell. So, even going to the FAQ on your site, which is something we talk about, I speak about that like every opportunity in every minute.

31:33

You have someone coming to you. You want to sell them something in an authentic way. You want it up. You you'll get down their throats and you want to look at it like okay, I got someone to come to my social. What can I do to sell them a bag? Because you're not a van go, nobody's in van go. You don't want someone to buy one piece and hanging down their wall, you want them to come back and buy more and buy more and buy the cousin and the iteration and balance, the motorcycle bag, which is my favorite case study of bag the big one, the small one, the hardware, even with all that nonsense that went on with balance, the other people are still going to come back. Let's be honest.

32:07

Yeah yeah, let's not play Everyone's like. I'm not going to balance the other. I'm like sure you are. I'm going to see that neon green bag that you've been holding. It's going to be out in a month, so what am I going to wear it now? I'm like move on.

32:19

Yeah, no, I mean, these are just things for you to think about, because I would never like a lawyer, I would never tell you what to do.

32:25

I'm just saying like for thought because you know, also, with your silhouettes, your silhouettes are so special and so unique and I love that you're doing the family, which I call it the family, where you have the small, the big, the medium, like you could tell they're all related and that's something many desires don't do. Like every bag they create it's like they're not even cousins, it's like fun, you know, like that parent definitely like had an affair with someone at the other side of the world because the bags don't look related. So you want to make sure that whatever you create can sit together and your bags do you. And it's a very interesting silhouette with a cutout. So I love that you spoke about making sure that there was a crossbody strap, because we all know bags need crossbody straps. Not everybody can do that, so you know you want to talk a little bit about the evolution of the bag and the colors and how you got into those great retailers and where you're going to go from here.

Antoine Manning

Guest

33:19

In terms of the bags, like the colors, at least in the first collection, and whatnot. I don't know like for me, my mind, that we're like leaving a so serious time. Is 2020 going to 2021. Call it, this happened, like right now, we're just like trying to find like about it's real life and realism and yeah. So I just decided, like I'm going, to create some really disparate color bags that really express that manifestation that I have started my intention, that choose what intention you are to bring into the new world and like to be my up to love.

33:46

So from there we just start creating these really beautiful colors. But then, as we started to increase the price, as you know, realizing certain things like as you made the bag, better, increase the price to do that I felt the need to introduce at the very least a cousin you know, our family, you know to at the previous price to alleviate the need for our customers who would be upset. So like if the big bag was now 150 or was 150 and that was 275, and then everyone was like to send me cloud, it was 150 and now we have the mini and that's 150 now. So now at the release, you still have the opportunity to get. This bag is a smaller size, much cuter, but it's still able to hold your utilities and which you need to out in a bag. And as we did the same with the increasing in price and whatnot, once you got into the store talking to Northstrom about, did they find you or you reached out to them?

34:35

They reached out. Sad to reach out and Northstrom reached out. This guy.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

34:39

Wow, that is some grace yeah it is Because I have some designers that say, oh, I almost got into sacks. I'm like listen, I almost got into sacks. And then I went for sushi. They either take you or they don't. There's an area like you're either being purchased as to add to their assortment or they're going to pass and say keep in touch, let me see what you're doing.

Antoine Manning

Guest

35:01

So, yeah, so with Northstrom. That's when the mini mini came to fruition, because we were talking to them about in person and experience and whatnot, and I only wanted the mini mini to be in person, like exclusive. That was my enticement, so that would entice people to are you able to get their friends or not, to really like follow the brand, to go to the store to purchase it and just ship it to them or something of this sort. And we had to pop up with them. So we did like the first mini mini with this future one. So this was the first mini mini. That's what's running with that.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

35:30

So cute.

Antoine Manning

Guest

35:31

Yeah, so pretty. And then after that, when we started dropping phase two of passion through our last collection, I saw you got like the mini, mini banana and the banana peats. That was just history with that. People love the banana one.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

35:48

Then, lo and behold, you're a handbag designer. It's like, oh yeah, oh damn, I guess I'm doing this.

Antoine Manning

Guest

35:54

Yeah, I'm doing this because it's like I guess I am and yeah, that was just pretty much like the concept of it with Sats and Gants and Sacks and Mertstroke. That used to be an email around 2021. It was like the June 2021. We're talking through email, what not talking about different things? And then we got our calls and to the calls we basically did like an exclusive collection through Sacks. We did two classic sides, which was a black one with silver hardware and had like the logo and metal, and then we did a white one, an exclusive black one with stocks.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

36:28

You couldn't sell that black one anywhere else.

Antoine Manning

Guest

36:31

Yeah, I was supposed to be doing it with them. How come they have an?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

36:34

exclusive because the black bag is like, that's a hero.

Antoine Manning

Guest

36:37

Oh yeah, that was just for the collection, so I can do it now anytime I want. But yeah, we did three classes. So we did a classic neon green with gold hardware. We did a classic white with gold hardware but with actual metal logo, and the black one with the silver logo on it. And then we did three, because this is for the mini mini without it, I mean, it is for many. We did like this one, but not this color. We did like in a gold and in a green. We did a black vinyl and I think we did another vinyl, though so I'm not mistaken. Maybe I'm mistaken, and yeah, I was.

37:10

We had dropped the release in December. I grew up in December 8th. I was in a Miami Fireball to drop down, so so so I mean, that's crazy. And then Nordstrom that was the following year around in March. We got into the concept and then we had to pop up with them and store in Nordstrom Nike. It was Nordstrom Nike and we had to pop up in Nordstrom Nike in New York around. I think maybe Chudlin Right Tell, I'm mistaken, but those are definitely two. We'll mix. It's how, that very different moment.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

37:38

Are you screen printing on the bags, the prints, the colors? Are they screen printed? So, because I know some of them are like prints of Minster, like I know the collab you did, if you want to talk a little bit about that, like those colors, how are they done? Because it's like paint splatter.

Antoine Manning

Guest

37:56

no, yeah, so the Veneta bag, and even like all of our bags that have like some kind of print on it, they're actually printed onto the leather and then they're sewn in a way to put it together so like, if you hold this bag, it feels smooth, it feels smooth to the touch, it doesn't have any type of rough texture on it or anything at all. So this printed is actually literally printed onto the material and then they cut it, sew it and then do what you have to do with it. And the same thing with the Boschia bag. So the Boschia bag.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

38:26

Yeah, so are those bags. Do those bags, like what are your customer, gravitate towards the most?

Antoine Manning

Guest

38:32

In terms of like, size or color, or what are your best sellers?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

38:35

What are your hero bags?

Antoine Manning

Guest

38:37

So hero for sure. The Veneta. This is our seller bag. They love the two ton bags a lot. The one of the Boschia bags I would say the mini. Mini is going the best. It's a red because it's so pretty it's red, is this really?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

38:50

Did they find you or you found them?

Antoine Manning

Guest

38:52

The Boschia was done through black fashion. So black fashion for its old, my aunt's one, baby Gregory, and basically the estate. They're like talks and talks of communication. And I guess they asked him like, hey, can you find the designers? And to collaborate, just to find, to collaborate with the estate. So he did, he found, he contacted me, contacted the advisory, contacted Brenna Blackwood, he contacted it.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

39:13

Yeah, I saw, brandon did that too.

Antoine Manning

Guest

39:15

It's a few other designers. They're slipping me right now, but yeah, he's thrown up with it all together. He pieces it all together and that also takes a full circle.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

39:24

Did they buy the product outright or you got the rights to do it and then resell it Right? Did you get it?

Antoine Manning

Guest

39:29

Oh, no, so it's all through the estate and all through that and thankfully you know that estate cause it's like collaborate with. Like Boschia's estate that's crazy. Like Twitter is $75,000 or something of this sort. Thankfully we didn't have to pay that and they, if there's a collab, so they get like their part, we get our part from it. And yeah, like, yeah, we still need to sell it through their platforms, just to.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

39:51

You allowed to sell the bags on your site or they sell them exclusively.

Antoine Manning

Guest

39:54

To make things easier, they make. They're selling it exclusively Just to make things easier. They never sell it at click and but in something like the allocation of the resources and the funds and whatever. It just makes more sense for us to go that way.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

40:04

So Right, okay, this is exciting stuff. I'm John and I'm a Jair.

Antoine Manning

Guest

40:10

So I am looking forward to getting back into, like my individual art, like poetry and painting, and just producing more work outside of designing. Like, of course, no, it works for different things and they're pretty good at its own different ways. While also working towards more design, I want to transcend into different, just different aspects of things on the accessory aspect of it.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

40:32

But you're going to cheat silhouette? Are you expanding your silhouettes?

Antoine Manning

Guest

40:35

Definitely experience silhouette, definitely playing and dabbling into other accessory lines. We look into capture also, like the best customers as well. So there's a lot of things that we're playing with and I'm really, really excited.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

40:48

That's cool. Just be careful, because you can't be everything to everyone, and that's when we expand. So, like, oh, I've got an idea for this customer. But like, are they really your customers? And what I always tell designers is to do a deep dive from where all their sales are coming and look at those cities and then actually, if you have access to the data, look at the ages of the people who are actually buying your bags.

41:12

And it's fascinating, because I think a lot of people have these eye opening experiences to realize that a lot of times your customer isn't this chic city metropolitan girl. It could be somebody who's living in a town that has a church, a stop sign and a Walmart and, you know, is plus size, dead, might not be the chicest person from your perspective and you know their money's green and everybody just wants to feel good and special and your bag can provide that. Then you know what those are loyal customers and that 20 to 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. Before you expand, maybe make sure that they don't have more needs, because that's a wide open space and that's your space to take.

Antoine Manning

Guest

41:58

Yeah, no.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

42:00

Hey, I mean honestly, like you know, I do a lot of collaborations and partnerships and I always tried to amplify the elevator designers with whom I were, and so when I see these opportunities, I don't like when people get in their own way, because you know, especially as an accidental designer, it's so easy to be like I'm going to expand and I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that, but it's like you have this core and you're good at it. So I'm assuming you have strong sales on your site. So are you getting more from your site or from the retailers right now, more from Intel? So then you have an opportunity to actually do short tests instead of having to go all out, because that's the best thing to do to, you know, grab, discuss, talk with your customer and say what do he, she, they want and can I deliver in a way that because sometimes people are crazy, you know, customers sometimes go a little cool burns where they're like I want this in purple and I want this, and it's like okay, we all know purple doesn't sell, so you might, but nobody else does, so that's benefit analysis.

43:00

That's cute, it's not happening, Antoine. Thank you so very much. This has been exciting and wonderful. Why don't you tell everybody your name, where they can find you, how they can follow you? Because I think everybody needs a little piece of omni-gear.

Antoine Manning

Guest

43:14

Yes, ma'am, thank you. My name is Antoine Manning. I can be found on Instagram at Manning Antoine M-A-N-N-I-N-G-A-N-T-O-I-N-E. You can follow Brad on all platforms Twitter, tiktok or Instagram at Y-E-A-R-H-O-M-A-G-E. It's beautiful, glad to talk to you and I really appreciate you taking the time Of course.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

43:37

Now this is exciting. We've got more great things to come, so thank you so much, and we will be seeing more of you on short.

Antoine Manning

Guest

43:43

Have a great day.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

43:44

Thanks, Antoine.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

43:44

Talk to you soon. 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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