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Monica Botkier 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

Monica, I'm so excited to have you to the Handbag Designer 101 podcast. If there's anyone who should be on this, it's you.

Monica Botkier

Guest

00:32

Thank you. I'm excited to be here and I love that your book is in the background there.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:37

I mean, if you wrote a book, you might as well have it. Where's your book, my book?

Monica Botkier

Guest

00:40

is actually at my apartment and not on display here. You should bring it with you wherever you go, right?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

00:47

I only have a few copies left, I think, oh my God, I still buy my own.

Monica Botkier

Guest

00:51

I don't understand how it all works, you know, because I see some like resale quite hot for my book but then it's like, isn't it still available? I don't know. It's one of those things that I did as a labor of love. It was kind of a bookend for that whole handbag, literal bookend 20 years in handbags. I think at that point it was 15 years in handbags and I just wanted to commemorate it by doing something like that. And what's the name of your book? It's called Handbags a Love Story, a-d-c. Basically it tells you all the I guess collectibles, the little secrets behind a lot of the designer brands. It really is a nice memory lane thing too. I think that it's a moment in time because handbags become classics. But they also commemorate certain trends and fads and like it's funny now to see like what was in the book.

01:38

20 years later it's there.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

01:41

You know you know what's wild is that. I mean, I've known you for a long time but you know, I was teaching, I was at FIT when Kate Spade herself passed away. And I mean, I think you and me, people like us, we remember that because we know her story, we know the origin story, how she got started, the whole thing. But when I was talking to my students and I said, yeah, she was actually the first one we were supposed to honor for the Handbag Awards, so many of them didn't even know that Kate Spade was a person. And I know but your brand and how do you officially pronounce your last name? Because I've heard it in multiple ways. I love that people want to make it.

Monica Botkier

Guest

02:19

French and call it by. I know, it is not Bat-Kie, it is Bat-Kie. We must preface this by saying it is my former brand. It is not my brand.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

02:28

Correct, correct, but you spawned it. But the brand is still very much around, it's still very much sold. And to bookend that about Kate Spade, when I was talking to my students about your brand, how I said actually I know the creator and they said, oh, there was a creator. I thought it was just a brand name and I was like, oh God, years that's what 20 years get you right.

Monica Botkier

Guest

02:50

I know and I remember when I started the brand I was toying with. Do I call it Monica Bat-Kie or just Bat-Kie? But I thought Bat-Kie was very much like Gucci or something. Right, like it just read. Well, and I did not opt for putting my full name on it, which I'm still glad to this day. I think aesthetically and just as far as creative direction goes, I think that was the right move. I looked good in a logo and it does. It did.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

03:15

It does Past and present, president and past, however you want to say it. Wow, no, it's like of that time when you started, it was you. It's like going back to talking about, I mean, people like you and me like talking about that era. It's like, wow, who are the big brands? It was you, it was Minkoff, and then who are the other brands that popped up at, these solopreneur, female founded handbag brands? I mean, I don't think there's any of them left at this point.

Monica Botkier

Guest

03:45

No, I mean Cuba. Remember how big Cuba was? For a minute, I do, I do. I think that was when Simpson was the. I feel like she put them on the map, but I could be wrong, but that was like when reality TV just really started to hit. Yeah, yeah, really interesting right, cuba was sold.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

04:02

I think Manhattan Portage was sold, like all of those brands at that point, manhattan Portage. But when the thefts were going on in LA, you know where the celebrity LA thefts were at the bling ring. Yeah. I know one of your bags was stolen in one of them because I saw her on the documentary and my bot gear bag was stolen and I'm like what a moment in time to catch her.

Monica Botkier

Guest

04:25

You want to know something. I have a crazy clip from the New York Post. I think it was like 2004. Somebody was mugged and the guy and his girlfriend and I just remember there was a snippet in there that she didn't want to give up her bot gear bag. And I was like, oh my God, have I arrived? How crazy that was. On the time of like Sex in the City, that kind of thing, they were pulling bags from us. Yeah, there's a wild ride, you know, a literal wild ride.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

04:51

So because I know your story so well and really what this podcast is about is highlighting the journeys of what it takes to create a brand, a successful brand. Look at Bad and the Ugly. I mean you had a lawsuit tied into the Kardashians. I remember that. I kept that, I kept the articles and I was texting you like, wow, how are you doing? Because that was a thing. So I remember going way, way, way back, you know, to our toddlerhood in Handbagland. You were a photographer. You stumbled upon letters. What was the origin story of all?

Monica Botkier

Guest

05:23

that, yeah. So my dream, since I was probably like 12, was to be a fashion photographer, and I think I was very influenced by magazines at the time, so I did pursue that path. I was able to. Being a New York City kid, I went to the specialized junior high school where I majored in media and photography.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

05:40

Which one.

Monica Botkier

Guest

05:41

Mark Twain, oh, my God, you made that commute. Well, I grew up in Manhattan Beach, so it was not a commute, it was 15 minutes oh my God, you were one of the lucky ones I was.

05:50

I was exactly and then. But then I went to LaGuardia music and art and I did make that commute to the Upper West Side from Manhattan Beach. That was unfortunate, but hey, I didn't know any better back then and certainly had all the energy, but I was an art major there. I didn't know that I was able to minor in photography and I did all these incredible things, like when I was 16, I used to go to the Suzanne Barsh Drag Balls that she would have at the Copacabana once a month and I have the most incredible photos of all the drag queens and I mean these costumes were just so creative. It was mind blowing and inspirational. So, new York City at that time, did you imagine your?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

06:29

daughter doing that now.

Monica Botkier

Guest

06:31

No.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

06:32

You know like, hey, mom, I'm going to go to this behind the scenes of a drag show. Let me get back to you because I'm taking pictures, so don't worry, it's all good.

Monica Botkier

Guest

06:39

I mean it is weird. You know it is weird. I mean my oldest is 18 now. I guess I could see her doing it.

06:44

But I was a junior in high school at the time and like me and my best friends would go and I would take a camera in there and like develop the film and yeah. But I was like getting home at 5am and then like getting ready for school, you know, right after no sleep. But we did that once a month. So it wasn't like like at the time we can handle it, but it was incredible A lot of inspiration everywhere.

07:04

Couple years after that I was like sneaking into the fashion shows in Bryan Park, like we were able to do that and like QR coded and over managed, I guess. So there's ways to get through and see things for yourself. So put it that way. But I was pursuing. So I went to NYU, I pursued a career in photography. It was a very fine art based program but there was one commercial photographer on staff their faculty and I was able to go on a couple of shoots with him and you know, did the whole thing cold called the magazines, got internships, really looked at all the aspects of fashion, did you?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

07:39

have a problem at the time.

Monica Botkier

Guest

07:40

No, I had an apartment, because at that point New York wasn't expensive like it is now. So I even lived in Manhattan. So that was amazing. So I moved out in high school. My last semester of high school I got out of school at noon, so I got a job and I made really good money. It was funny enough. It was like this Wall Street job. It was like typing up confirmations for trades and stuff, and I didn't know anything about what I was doing. I was just following along, but it was paid really well and my friend had moved out. She was 18 already, but I was still 17 and I convinced my parents I'm going to NYU.

08:10

What's the big deal? I'll just live, you know, the last four months of high school and I was such a pretty two shoes, no drugs, no drinking. I did smoke cigarettes, though, but you know, I went to school, finished like, did the whole thing, and it was great, like all around. I got a big independent experience and New York was so inspiring and, yeah, I just kept pursuing fashion photography, and so what really led me to accessories was more being on set with these amazing accessories, because as an assistant, I got on some high level shoots, and so my best designer stuff was there and I was for some reason really interested in leather work, very inspired by that stuff, so even uniform and gear and things like that. I just I liked the way that was designed with function, but then to elevate it was very inspiring.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

08:59

At this point, though, as a result of probably you being so immersed in New York and knowing all these people, you were able at a young age, to get yourself into places where most people couldn't. It's not like you had nepotism or anything else. You were a city kid and that was it, so your hustle was there just purely by default.

Monica Botkier

Guest

09:17

Yeah, I think so, and I mean, I was definitely a shy person. So, to this day, blame me not being famous fashion photographer on the fact that I was just not the right personality for it. Yeah, I think I had the talent and I definitely had the interest and passion, but I didn't have the skill set in terms of like networking and becoming important to certain editors. And, yeah, it was too much of a nice girl Like it. Just I wasn't that interesting. I guess I don't know, you're the oldest right.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

09:45

Yeah, thank you, and your parents were immigrants, right.

Monica Botkier

Guest

09:48

Yes, they were very funny immigrants. I mean. I keep hearing immigrant stories where the parents were like you have to be an accountant, you have to be a doctor. They were definitely not like that. They were like just do whatever, follow your passion, Think about the fact that you have to pay your rent. But I don't know. I would say my mom, in particular, was very supportive of the creative process and being creative, and she's creative herself not in terms of any kind of career, but she takes great photographs. She's got great personal style. She's somebody that appreciates beauty.

10:20

You were born here, though. Right, I was born here. Yeah, ok, it's not typical, because my mom's Polish and my dad's Russian. So there are different immigration groups and worlds here, and I wasn't really part of any of that, even though they have friends in both, really. But yeah, so I don't know, I just I guess I kept working towards the goal of being a fashion photographer, but I also got to see how stylists work. My first jobs actually were stylist assistant with a guy that's now a pretty successful photographer. He switched gears and, yeah, I just saw all aspects of that business and, long story short, I was trudging along and suddenly got really inspired by handbags. I personally think it was because of Tom Ford and his Mombasa bag that he did for YSL. Yeah, it kicked off. It ignited a passion for me that I never knew I had to that extent, and I used to go look at them. It's Bergdorf Goodman. They used to have him in these glasses. Yeah, it's just like. That is the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

11:17

Snap back with the horn handle and you know I kept the story. I don't even know Jesus. I don't even know if I was teaching already. I feel like I may have been, because I started teaching while I was still getting my MBA. It's like a weird story how all that kind of went down. But the Mombasa bag is actually a cautionary tale of editorial in that they over gifted to too many editors and this obviously predated the interwebs and social media and all that good stuff. But what they had done because the gifting to influential editors which is who what influencers were at that time right, because you would gift the editors and then the editors would hopefully wear it and then that's where your testimonials would come from but what had happened is they were part of that whole cycle of gifting which happens now to this day. But they over gifted to too many fashion editors, so it had a massive spike and the decline was just as fast. Oh, wow.

12:13

Because so many editors were insulted that they saw that other lower level editors that actually received it and Bloomingdale's had knocked off that bag faster than any other bag. It's a quote, unquote affordable price point. But that bag to me was mind blowing, like oh my god, it's a hobo. It's structured, but there's a horn as a handle. Like who does that and how can you get away with that?

Monica Botkier

Guest

12:35

Incredible, and also even just the type of leather that they used and it was raw on the inside. I bought one. I actually bought one. I love to tell you you still have it. I don't, I sold it. I sold it to fund the sample making for BODCARE. Actually, that's awesome A couple of designer bags that I somehow scraped together and then I will tell you, just as a side note, I'm missing a bunch of great bags from my archive. Like I don't know where they are and I know I didn't sell those, so that's a side note, but you know and your daughters don't have some.

13:04

No, but the other bag that was really inspiring was the Balenciaga, the Modo right, the city, that whole story. And I remember seeing editors with that one, the first one that came out, which was a smaller size, and I'm so flawless With the oversized hardware and everything that came out, even a little later. The first ones were really small, were smaller, they didn't have small and that was like a $1,500 bag back then. I remember. Any case, I just started to really feel for those designs and I had a best friend who was a successful model and she bought the Fendi spy bag and I was like this thing is incredible, or maybe somebody bought it for her, I don't remember, but I don't know.

13:43

I started to feel for these designs and then I thought to myself well, obviously I can't afford it on a photo assistant, and I also then transferred into being a photography producer when I made the decision to stop assisting and start shooting. I was lucky enough to work with this incredible group that produced all these amazing shoots, so I had even more leeway to talk to other people on set besides the photography. Right, right, right. Who yelled at you all the time? Oh, my god, did they ever? Oh, my god, they threw cameras. It was a really wild time, isn't that amazing?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

14:17

There was like no respect for stuff. Like I've seen so many things thrown. I was working at a handbag manufacturer. I saw stapler thrown. I mean it's nuts. Like none of that stuff you could get away with now.

Monica Botkier

Guest

14:29

No, I mean you'd be totally ostracized and filmed and I got it on it. Plus, I was like one of five working female photographer assistant. Yeah, exactly it was wild, it was wild.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

14:40

It's just like I'm keeping my mouth shut and saying please and thank you, like wow, what a film.

Monica Botkier

Guest

14:44

Now it's supposed to be upset about some of this. You know like I had one guy who's a pretty big photographer and I wouldn't out him. But he was kind of like let's date. And I was like no, and he's like, ok, I'm not going to hire you anymore. And I was like, oh, all right then. Well, I don't like you, so I'm not going to date you.

15:00

I was like, all right, I didn't realize like what a massive offense I was, but obviously with all my friends that were models, like they took a lot of shit. Thank goodness the industry has changed, I think, a large amount, but anyways, back to handbags. So yeah, I got inspired and one day I'm walking down Bleecker Street and there was one of these places we make bags and I was like, oh, so I go in there. And I was like I have an idea. And she's like well, she was a Turkish woman and I had just come back from Turkey and Greece and I was like feeling I bought a Turkish carpet bag. I like haggled for, I was like feeling myself and like really sitting everything. Actually I was sitting everything. And she was like, no, no, you can pick from these bag designs and we have all these different leathers and we make you a kutsum. And I said, how about making my design? Would you do that for me? And she said yes. So I went and got a bag made and then I happened?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

15:52

How much was it? It was expensive $300. Oh my god, that's nothing. I mean then it would, then it was a lot.

Monica Botkier

Guest

15:59

In 2002, I think it was a lot, yeah, but I don't know. Like I said, I wasn't really great with money. I was spending it on things that I felt were necessary. I don't know, I don't know what I was eating back then, but maybe handbag. So yeah, I don't know.

16:12

I got the bag made and I had lunch or dinner maybe, with a friend who was a menswear designer and she was like what is that bag? And I was like, oh, I designed it myself, I had it made. And she was like, listen, I'm doing the premier class trade show in Paris. She gave me a few in Paris. Make me a few samples and let's see what happens. And I was like, really, and then I thought it was going to cost me. With these people, it's going to cost me $1,000 to make three bags. And I didn't know anything about manufacturers and the garment center and all those resources at that time yet. And I was like, oh, it's going to redo my portfolio, for the talk About money, exactly. And I was like, ah, but then I said, ok, let me go for it. So I did it and I literally got her three iterations of the trigger bag, basically like two hours before her flight.

16:57

Very interestingly, this gave me some confidence because she had a really good response and one of the people that responded wanted my information right away was a woman that wound up working for me as my head of sales because she was actually going to open a store in the meat packing. This is when meat packing hadn't been developed yet right. Our store plans fell through, so she wound up actually coming to work for me, but subsequently that was a bit later, immediately after I'd made these samples and got them back I was kind of like, hey, I've got something here right. My other friend had a friend who was a buyer at Barney's, but she was not the accessories buyer, she was also on maternity leave. So she said well, have your friend send me a package on a bag and if I like it I'll keep the bag and give her the contact info. And that's how it happened. And I still remember the name of the buyer Carrie Chapman.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

17:47

OK, so I have a Carrie Chapman story too.

Monica Botkier

Guest

17:49

I don't know what she is right now.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

17:51

I'm sure I can find out on LinkedIn she's upstate or something, but Carrie was the first buyer I ever met with my bags and she always took time. She was always polite and she looked at my bags and I remember her saying you should get out of here before anybody else sees these, because they still need a lot of work, so that's funny.

Monica Botkier

Guest

18:11

So she was very honest.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

18:13

Yeah, no, I remember because she took the time and there were very few buyers at that time. I mean, it was like Oz pulling the curtain and she was very like this isn't going to work. But here's what you could do and try this, this and that. Well, oh yeah.

Monica Botkier

Guest

18:28

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, so funny. Well, I, very quick, I sent the email to Carrie and to Julie Gilhart oh my god, I had to. But immediate response, they were like, when can you come up here? And I was like, but at that point, for whatever reason, I had made like 10 bags in some really great leathers, but I was buying like one-off skins, right, right, right, I think, cow hides, so I could make a few. So I don't really know how it happened, where were you buying your leathers? Well, I think one of my earliest was global and then I really worked with Libra. I mean, those were the early days. But funny enough, at the same time I was like, hey, I was feeling kind of bullish. So my friend Jennifer Smith, who I don't also know where she is these days, but she must have been the fashion director of Lucky- I was just going to say it was Lucky Magazine.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

19:14

Oh, Lucky Magazine. Yeah, yeah, yeah I sent it to her.

Monica Botkier

Guest

19:17

But I had only met her as an assistant, as a photo assistant. So I said, hey, you know, I did like a four by five shoot Right. So I had these crisp photos of these and I said, emailed them to her, like those old little apples that were just like those rare company computers. I remember sitting down on my glass desk like, ok, I don't even know honestly how I scanned the photo in. I think I had like one of those flat bit scanners growing. Oh my god, it was ridiculous. But anyway, I said, hey, I think I'm going to start a handbag line. What do you think she was like? Come in, like now.

19:48

I went in to Condé Nast. I actually sold a few handbags Because you had like two samples left to show. Yeah, basically. And she put it in the magazine, in the Well Story, and all I had to put there was my phone number. So people were like Amy. And then the next big press I got almost immediately was from InStyle, but that was coordinated with an on-ARTV segment, so forget it. Like I was just inundated. So it was an incredibly meteoric rise which, looking back on it, I didn't know what was happening, I just was really good at keeping up with shit, like I was not going to lose one sale. I was digging I got this color, I've got this side. I'm going to do this Very soon. I realized I needed proper designers on my staff, so I hired this incredible guy.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

20:36

This is wild, that you went from an accidental designer to hiring people that's like that. Yeah, I mean because I wasn't a designer by trade and by no means to diver. I mean I had moments of luck and I got into good pubs, but it never spawned too. I mean you had the product to back it up.

Monica Botkier

Guest

20:51

You know what I will say. I should kind of go back a tiny bit and say one thing as soon as I got interest from Barney's I went back to that Turkish lady on Bleecker Street and I was like give me back whatever patterns you have. And she was like trying to not do that and I said I know you need to give them back to me because he's on my design. So she did, but it took me a while to get them and you have to pay for the patterns?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

21:14

No really.

Monica Botkier

Guest

21:15

They were cardboard, they were like bullshit patterns.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

21:17

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but with tag.

Monica Botkier

Guest

21:19

Yeah, just I knew enough to do that. And then I also have to say that as soon as there was some interest, like Barney's placed 101 piece order. You remember it as 101? Yeah, it was 101. And I thought that's so strange but great. Yes, I also know that it was deliverable in August. So just to show you the timeline, the dinner that I had with my friend, the men's wear designer, that was in April. So I had to deliver 101 pieces. So all of this happened.

21:49

So I went through the yellow pages, which people laugh about, because there was pre-Google, and I found the most amazing manufacturer, john Manilucci. Oh, my God, him Lebanon, and I just love listening to him talk. But he was also Kate Spade's first manufacturer and he helped me perfect the design. I was like, ok, this is what I've got from my Bleecker Street. This is what I want to change. And it was such a small, family-run, tight-knit group, the Manilucci's. They were amazing. His sons were around, I don't know. It was really great. He took me under his wing and I pieced it together. I mean, I bought everything separately. I figured it out. I mean that's what I'm saying.

22:29

Operationally, I feel like I could pull that off and I loved that, that I got into it's later dealing with salespeople and showroom horrors and scale, and people come after you and they really try to eat you alive for their own gain.

22:44

And I only know that now, looking back, I would have built out the business a bit differently, certainly, would have sold the business differently, I would have partnered differently. But that first five years was the most magical, incredible time that I feel so grateful for and I learned a ton and it was creative and the best kind of stress you could have, like everybody after it, and it was super fun. And then each design I did did really well, like my first five bags out of the gate. But if you're an analytical person and somebody who understands business which at the time I didn't the space was wide open. I was just about to curse, but I'm not going to do that on your body. It was wide open. So, pre-marked by Mark Jacobs pre-Alexander Wang, pre-c by Chloe, pre-rebecca Minkoff actually, I had a couple of years on her at least.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

23:36

And she came out, I think in let's see 2007, 6, 5, 4. I think it was 2004, or five. That's when she came out.

Monica Botkier

Guest

23:44

I think 2005. Because I worked right in 2003. So I think she was too young. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh, my god. Yeah, it was really funny, like just my shady showroom at the time.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

23:55

Oh, what's her name? I don't know. For a while we don't want to name it. No, no, no, no, no, no. But I know how she worked and she was sneaky, but a hustler Like you got the placement, but it was at what cost?

Monica Botkier

Guest

24:06

Yeah, and then you got your own back in her showroom. That was the problem and I would caution anybody. I think showrooms, if they're a good partner, could definitely launch and lift. I don't know. Today they're still around. Some of those really powerhouse women are still. It's women mainly. They're all always women. Yeah, they're still around, but you need to take sales in-house and you need to build out a really strong sales team and a strong strategy and not pay ridiculous commissions once you're actually built out your own brands although you can continue a really strong partnership, but it has to be on terms that make sense for a growing business.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

24:39

Let me ask you, though, while all this was going on, you were pretty young. Did you, at that time, have a clear idea of who your customer was, or was it she's me?

Monica Botkier

Guest

24:53

Well, that's what was clear and I think that 20 years in, here I am. I'm launching a new business and considering all kinds of demographics, because at the time I was only considering my own and, in a way, being a product person. Right now you have all kinds of MBAs that are the people starting businesses. Back then I mean not to sound like a dinosaur they were all creatives. Nobody was putting together business plans. To that extent, nobody was working in the market. Well, you're probably smart than most of us, but all my friends actually some of them became very successful with apparel brands and other things like this jewelry brands. They were really coming from the heart, creating product that was usable, functional, gorgeous, sexy, whatever it is, but also quite swell.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

25:41

Do you think now, had you launched that, you would have been able to have such a quick rise? Or the market is so saturated in terms of brands that fans and social I mean it is it is. It's kind of terrifying. I mean I just ran an incubator and the brands that were in it, most of whom were fairly successful, like doing pretty well the whole thing, and even then I was thinking like, wow, it is not that it's so tough, but to be successful and truly stand out, you have to narrow cast your demographic and their psychographics and ethnography and all of that to know CEE, like you need to know truly how to. It's not even so much designing into a price point, it's designing into a customer, exactly.

Monica Botkier

Guest

26:23

And that is actually an exercise that I'm doing now with chosen, woven and so much fun, because we started it out, we realized, like all of our branding and creative does not match actually who our customer is and it's a much more detailed, like you know, she skis and telluride. She's like an eco-luxurist, like who needs a word, you know, but that's what it is right. So she's sophisticated, but she's also granola in the most luxe way you can think, right, no, I didn't do that with BotKir, except the downtown chic thing came from BotKir. That is what I encapsulated and I know it was coined and used by others, but we were the one that actually narrowed down our cool city girl to that and that aesthetic. Now I laugh because when I look back at my archives in 2009, I think I was pregnant, I think the back-to-back pregnancies and the stuff it looks like Valentino, not Valentino rock star stud stuff, but like romantic Valentino, right Moral, you know, like yeah, I was getting really creative, but like really off-brand, you know, but that happens.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

27:29

I think that's a great moment. That's a rite of passage. As a designer I mean Terry Agans who wrote the End of Fashion, she's done a lot of those like in the Facebooks about fashion, about as a designer at least during that time, like Mizrahi and so forth almost created their own demise by getting so enveloped their brand and that the customer needs to follow that as opposed to being cognizant of the evolution of who your customer really is. But I think it's a rite of passage, as every designer, to kind of not so much go off the deep end but like hey, this is how it's got to be, because this is how I feel and the evolution it's so beautiful and shop and buy and lot. You know all that. I think it's really interesting.

Monica Botkier

Guest

28:10

It is, and now I mean with social media being the foundation for any of it, whereas before you know where and how did brands communicate? They communicated through magazines, pr and physical locations and being in the right stores and being on the right people. But still, how would you know that if you didn't open up a magazine? So now you know the inundation is very heavy and also very narrow, because you could omit a lot of things from your life and not even know about them because you're so busy kind of consuming the same content.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

28:39

So I don't know. You had a lot of situations so I know you had a few partnerships. You grew, you eventually sold your brand. Like we can get to that. We've got some time before we hit that point, but you were knocked off. Let me ask you did you ever think of putting a design patent on your silhouettes?

Monica Botkier

Guest

28:57

I did that, yeah, I tried to, but I didn't have any luck with it. Steve Madden knocked it off. You know, the best part was going to Chinatown and seeing my designs with the Prada triangle on them. That was ridiculous, but there was a lot of that. I mean, wasted a lot of time, money and energy trying to protect the designs and one little thing is off and it's no longer under protection. Steve Madden was known for that. He didn't just do it to me, he did it to everyone. Shoes, bags, like the whole thing. Anybody doing something interesting was now protected. But you know, it was a different customer at the same time too, interestingly. So the ships passed in the night to some extent, but it was still dollars out of the young designers. You know, coffers, I would say.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

29:39

How long did you go before you said, oh my god, I need a partner. What was that? Because I know you had, and then you didn't, and then you did. What happened there?

Monica Botkier

Guest

29:48

Well, I had bought gear independently for 10 years. The real sweet ride was six years where it was just amazing. In 2007, I really was courted heavily. I had a different beating over sacrifices. I had Delphine Arnaud in my offices on Cross-Broadway twice. That was amazing and I was so naive. I actually thought that deal was gonna go through. I thought my entire life would be very different. But what I didn't realize is that for them kudos to me and, I guess, my team at the time we were really able to create a brand, cause I you know my photography background.

30:21

I was shooting the campaigns, I was buying remnant pages and magazines, so I was advertising and I looked the part and they were shocked to find that we were like a $10 million company. They thought we were like a $30 million company oh my God, 50. And I was like no. And the thing is how to get there? Like I never had the resources to really understand that scale. Well, more like keeping up with business and then chasing this bigger dream which was sort of unfolding without that much effort. But that's not really the case. There was built up saturation, there was also huge competition and, you know, just losing ground after a while. I spent a lot of time and money on a shoe development which broke even, but I really should have licensed that.

31:04

Licensing felt like a dirty word back then to a true native but the reality is that's how you do it. That's how Tori built her business. You know, the shoes built that business and the shoes were not profitable Right or the right thing because they that with the market research. That's what the market wanted. Anyway, you know, like I have cool stuff happen, like I think it was seven for all mankind. They came to me they wanted us to license their name to do handbags. Now, if I wasn't so stretched thin, like that could have been a cool business for a couple of years which just multiplied the revenues. You know I didn't have the CEO partner. The CEO that I was was operational Right and as a creative I think that, looking back, I missed that critical piece and then it came to a point where I couldn't afford that person. So I was hoping the partnership would bring that.

31:49

So it was at LVMH. It was also Stuart Weitzman. The last really sexy deal I had on the table was Stuart Weitzman and I remember meeting him at the Peninsula Hotel. I mean, I've got stories, like I've got stories, but let's just say that he built an incredible business I think has since really exited completely. He spent 40 years as a shoe dog much respect. But he's kind of looking at me with a big pregnant belly like why don't you do it yourself? And I was like listen, your people want you to do great handbags. I've got that and I've got the people, and I'd love to do great shoes, so we could do it together, you know, and I don't have 40 years, because that's not the case of the business today. So, needless to say, I didn't close that deal and that was the last deal on the table before the world fell off a cliff October 2008. Were you?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

32:36

gutted when it didn't happen. No, really.

Monica Botkier

Guest

32:40

Really? No, I wasn't. I didn't understand the loss of opportunity at that song, because I can have a crystal ball. The thing is also, if I hadn't gotten it done by fall of 2008, nothing was gonna happen for another two, three years. Right, right, right.

32:56

And so I think our multiples just coming back to what they were I mean in some sectors, probably beauty I don't think it's in handbag. What's a multiple? Let's just mark our path. You know what you can sell your company for multiples of revenue or your profit. To keep it simple, I look at the business a little bit different.

33:12

The evolution of that moment was like a good five years and that was it. And so the idea of even selling a company in year four that I was absolutely loving did not compute, even though I was not gonna turn down any of these super sexy blue chip Right, right, right. But once they were gone and the business really took a hit, 2011 was my first tough year. So that was seven years in. And then, you know, I still was able to pivot because I went from a $5.95 price point.

33:40

The aspirational customer that is again apparently disappearing right now disappeared, cold. Then, yep, and you know, you had the Alex Wings. You had my girl also, if she was 25, when we started together she was then 32. And now she won Chanel bag. And now Chanel was like, hey, look at all these girls buying these contemporary, upper contemporary, young designer price points. Let's make it possible for them, of course. Now again, absolutely impossible. Right Entry price point 6,500, okay, but not insane, ridiculous. I mean, I still, to this day, have never, never done it. Like just cannot pull the trigger on a Chanel bag, can't either Trigger on them. But that's the whole reason I started BODCARE, because I was never going to be that person that was going to pull the trigger on an Hermes and spend multiple payments on a bag. I just wasn't going to do it, you know two things on that.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

34:33

One same Two. The buyer from Blue Meas had told me years ago that the first bag that the girls would buy would be a BODCARE or a MINCOF, and then the second bag she would get would be the Chanel flap because she'd have the bump and salary. So it was like the training bra of handbags, like this is my cool bag, this is it. And you know a lot of the designers with whom I've consulted wildly still carry around labels and I always say I love that you're paying me and I'm grateful, keep taking your money. But you're missing out on an opportunity other than writing off the taxis because clearly you're not taking a subway. But you're missing a street opportunity because the whole where can I find? Element comes from you wearing your own damn product. So that's, you know. Like, oh, but I love my Louis, I love my Louis. I was like well then, you shouldn't be designing bags.

35:23

And PS, the buyers who are going to buy your bags off the gate are all boutiques. So those buyers at all the established retailers want to know what your traction and sales are before they even pick you up, especially now, like what are your D2C sales? Right? So it's the narrative. So I don't want to say I applaud that you haven't. I just can't either, purely for that same aspect. I mean, I'm Garmento offspring and we were raised like how much, how much are the Gregorites, how much is the cost for foot? And then you realize what the markup is and you're like hey, it's the exact same markup as it is for anything else. I'm at as well. It's cheaper to make your own bag, truly Absolutely.

Monica Botkier

Guest

36:00

Absolutely when it all started. But also, too, like we were designing so many bags at that point you had to wear, test them. I had no time to wear other people's bags. Plus, I was really excited about what I was doing. I did buy designer bags, but for an archive, you know, I would buy things that I thought were great design, but I didn't wear them. I just basically wear them here and there a little bit, but mainly to touch, like artistic pieces, yeah, and then I would keep them or I'd sell them. I mean, I didn't get that deep into it, but I had a small, you know, very unique collection, not like your typical stuff.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

36:31

Yeah, Alexander Wang bag with the studs at the bottom.

Monica Botkier

Guest

36:33

Never bought that, you know at that point that was like sort of a newer generation. Yeah, and I had done that like no Lita girl. It was just heavy, it was impractical. Yes, that's why I didn't love it, although I think some of the leather choices were great and I loved all the iterations. Yeah, didn't want to wear it, you know.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

36:51

I had a student of mine at Parsons who had saved her money to get that and I told her. I said you know I'm not going to buy it. Before you make these investments, go in there with something of value wearing it to know how badly the bag is going to destroy it, because I don't think a bag designed by a man would take into consideration. You know tights and all these other things and the studs and sticking. You know no disrespect in saying that a man couldn't design, but you know, like the wear, with all of like what I'm wearing, I know that bag will stick to everything Exactly.

Monica Botkier

Guest

37:21

Well, but I remember sometimes it is that way though, even as a female designer, I remember some of our boutiques were occasionally older women they're probably my age now, but back then I was like these people are old, Old, and we were always concerned like, oh, the weight, you know, and I was like the weight. I always made sure to keep it in mind because I understand like nobody wants to carry a heavy bag. But now, at this age, I'm like, oh, I get that.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

37:45

Like it needs to be weight distributed properly, not to mess with your bag you know, listen, those Mark Jacobs bags of those days should have come with an orthopedist number, because those bags were heavy while they were empty and they just kept getting heavier and heavier and I thought, god, I would love to buy one, purely out of principle. But it was like what the hell am I going to put in there? Nothing, nothing. So you got to this point, right, and I know you had a. Was it JC Penney with the Kardashians when they had it? Was it JC Penney?

Monica Botkier

Guest

38:13

I don't remember if they did it for JC Penney, but it sounds about right. The funny thing is that TMZ had done a poll on their website Like do you think it's a knock off? And it was like the 8% were like, yeah, we just sent them a cease and desist and they stopped, and I don't remember who the partner in that was. This was before I think the Kardashians got as elevated with their oh yeah, 100%. They weren't real schlocky back then. I remember you know, taking every cent. But obviously now they have like really beautifully built out businesses, if you look at it.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

38:42

It was an LA manufacturer and I can't remember which one. If I remember correctly that they were just being courted with like let's do this, let's do that. So I mean, your bag was a low hanging to knock off per se.

Monica Botkier

Guest

38:53

I have a funny story. There was a manufacturer in the garment center not our beloved Maniluchi, but I had to at some point have three factories, because when I Wow, it was a lot.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

39:03

Were all your bags being made domestically. When did you start For a while?

Monica Botkier

Guest

39:06

For a while, for three years, and then I found the most amazing manufacturer overseas. That was like Jam, somebody who really believed in big business I mean hundreds of millions of dollars he was doing and he took me under his wing as well. I feel like he was incredible, like just such a passionate, like he loved bags. He was like basically so far up the food chain but he still loved to nurture talent. It was amazing. Anyway, side note on that. So I had to break up with by three New York manufacturers. The third one didn't care too much because he got the scraps, but the Maniluchi was amazing. He was very upset with the situation but he understood and I tried to keep some stuff local and I will tell you, hands down, the local stuff was always the best stuff.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

39:48

Right, you didn't keep them to. If you needed reorders quickly at least, or sample making.

Monica Botkier

Guest

39:54

I couldn't do it in the grand scheme of things. But I did a little bit and Maniluchi was my choice for that. So manufacturer number two was pretty big, Pretty successful. It was very pissed and I was like come on, what do you expect me to do? You're not buying the components for me, it's extra production work. I had to like count out the I can't do that Right the time value of money alone. It didn't make any sense. So I remember that he took on Rebecca Minkoff right after that I know who you're talking about, I know who I'm talking about. And he sent me an email after I had my son was my second kid, right Two out of three. And he sends me an email like I just want you to know that we have another baby and her name is Rebecca Minkoff. And I was just like obvious. But I wrote back to him I was like, well, that's great, Congratulations, and I'd like you to know that I actually had a real baby and his name is Sage.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

40:49

Oh, my God, sage is 15 now. He's going to be 15 in November. Yeah, I remember all these things, that's nuts.

Monica Botkier

Guest

40:56

Yeah, I was so, like what are you trying to say to me? Like ha ha. You know, meanwhile it's like it's a small world, but it was unnecessary to send me that email. But you know, obviously he was spiteful and feeling like, well, you left me high and dry and I found somebody else amazing, and that's. You know whatever. Okay, good for you.

41:13

You know, we're all in it together and in a way I mean, we're all part of the same pie, but at the same time I really don't think, you know, we had the same customer base actually.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

41:23

You had commented about the $5.95 point going down to $4.95. She gets credit for that for making Manpe jump, but I know you were also part of that movement.

Monica Botkier

Guest

41:32

Well, no, I'll give her credit for that, because I think that she was ahead of it. I was so expanded that I had to contract in order to reconfigure. She was just on the come up, so she was able to catch it ahead. Right, and he said it for everyone, but it was right. I don't know what kind of market research they did, but it was correct. The new price point was actually $3.95 and $4.95 max for the big anything, so that made a lot of sense.

41:55

Now, where I saved my business was in 2011, when shit was hitting the fan and everything sort of caught up to us, and also, I was actually working with equity investors for the first time and they pulled out the base drum. For nine months, I dumped tens of thousands into legal and then they decided to pull out. So that was a whole other nightmare. But I remember that what I did do well was come up with another design that was able to be very healthy margins and the right price point. So the Valentina group was born then and that changed everything. That Is that your mom's name, no, just made it up.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

42:37

Oh my God, wait, in hindsight you must be pretty impressed with yourself to pull like another kicker bag out because you give birth to three kids. But how many iconic bags can you really birth?

Monica Botkier

Guest

42:47

I don't know if that one is iconic so much. It was just really the right bag at the right time. It was clever, it was well priced, it was chic, it did all the things you know. I don't know. But again, I think this is something that I have some odd talent with. I don't know. I mean I didn't study it. I mean I do look at some designer bags. Like I was just at an Etro event yesterday at Insag Harbor and they have this bag and I was like this is brilliant hardware. Like I love jewelry, I love hardware design, I love clever solutions to problems. So I'm always going to be excited by stuff like that and I think that's where you're always playing. I mean, I think apparel design is much harder.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

43:28

I think the fact that you moved into that I mean it's not apparel per se, but anything with sizing to me is terrifying, like when I get a partner who's brilliant and has a background in that, so certainly I wouldn't be trying to figure that out on my own.

43:43

So you get to the point when did you decide like I'm done, I'm out? Because I remembered the drama. I think you had actually spoken to my class I'm trying to think what year 2011, 2012, if I was at FIT or if I was still at Parsons. But I know we were in communication and you're like, yeah, I have this big company and it's really exciting. And then I spoke to you after. You're like, yeah, that's done, that's done. And you had three kids by this point.

Monica Botkier

Guest

44:07

Yeah, I had three kids 2005, 2008 and 2009. I sold the company in 2013. So I think in 2011 was the rough year. 2012 was when the Valentina came out and kind of righted the ship. But that's when I also realized that I needed funding because the game had changed. Game was a massive expense digital marketing, influencer marketing, all of it. We didn't have to do that before and it was tapped costs with PR and that was also kind of the age of the D2C brands. There was a lot, I guess Kuyanna, oh my God. Yeah, you know Everlane models I don't know when the dad, the Dover thing came, but there was suddenly this sort of millennial customer that when I started, I guess Gen X sounds old now, but back then we were 20, we were 20.

44:57

But very quickly we were married with kids, moving on you were, you were before I was Well moving into different lifestyle and different demographic. It's always moving, it's always shifting. But I realized that I needed funding, I needed support, I really needed the back end support. I wanted more of logistics and that, and I thought it would be a great partnership, a strategic partnership, where they would carry the back and even, like you know, the in-house sales team and really strengthen those operational foundations and provide money for some really high level advertising and some of that stuff. Just expansion. Basically that was expansion, sort of protection against market conditions, and it turned out to be a bad partnership for me. You know you hear that so much.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

45:46

It's like a man, but in terms of the final hurrah, the final chapter of the partner that ended up taking over back here, because you were there for a minute and then you just what's your five years? Actually, you were there for that long.

Monica Botkier

Guest

46:00

I didn't think it was that long, and then I got bought out for the final amount.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

46:05

Was it part of your contract to stay there for five years, because that's a long time.

Monica Botkier

Guest

46:09

No, I had a three-year contract and then I had a two-year consulting gig and at which point I was working with other brands and actually really enjoying that. But I found it a little bit difficult to be the brand ambassador for bought care without being really appreciated or respected much, to be honest. I mean, I feel like enough time's path that I could be honest about that. It was definitely not a feel-good situation and I had so much to give to the company and it was unwanted basically, or it was deflected or sort of shut down. So I realized-.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

46:42

It's close to my mind. When those situations happen, it's like you have this person who's a wealth of history, knowledge, branding, talent. Why aren't you using this person, who you are paying, to take full advantage to continue the legacy of the brand? But that's where who you are as a visionary will always conflict with someone who is looking at it from a factory angle.

Monica Botkier

Guest

47:05

Well, I'm going to give you one example, and I think that they should tell you everything.

47:08

I had very few allies in that institution, but one of them, somebody who I could go to when things were getting tricky and sticky, and this one said to me high level male in the organization said to me well, think of it this way Imagine you purchase a painting and it's expensive and it's beautiful and you put it up on your wall and your friends come over to see it, but there in the corner is a little chair with the artist sitting there and you have to constantly talk about the artist and he's like just imagine that. And I was like, literally that's what any successful investor would want, actually, To a point. Obviously there comes a point where a brand can live. Possibly, you know it's up to debate, but I think brands can live on without their founders. If they can turn a page, they can always create a new vision. As you said, it does move on from that moment. But just that thought and that mentality is not positive, let's put it that way, and kind of crazy.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

48:11

Yeah, when did you decide like that said, I'm out.

Monica Botkier

Guest

48:13

So when I was consulting I was feeling kind of funny because obviously consulting in the world of accessories it's a very small world. So I would get this adulation like, oh, can you help us do this, can you help us do that? Great. But then, like I'm still repping for bot care and I'm not really like being told about everything and being left out, the marketing team was an absolute disaster. All kinds of tricky, mean girl stuff was going on. I mean, I hate to say that, so boring, but it was dumb. And then, you know, I just kind of was like, why am I doing this? So I went back to the main team and I said, hey, find me out officially. No, no, I said I want to be full throttle. I had a few years working with some really wonderful people and creating some great things.

48:57

But you know, you're like making sure not to conflict with your yeah and you're just kind of like okay, what am I doing? My name's still there, let's just get back in. It's like when your marriage goes bad. And then you're like let's give it another shot, let's go to therapy, let's make this work. And they were like no, they were like well, if you have all these expectations and asks we can't accommodate, and I said, well then, I can't stay. And so you know. But listen, this is a typical story.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

49:24

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, but I guess I'm seeing it through the lens of a mom who is still going to work every day for a brand that she created, to work in an office that's not yours, to be run by a company that's not yours. So it's kind of like outer body. You know, like okay, I guess I'm out, like one day you just leave an office that still has your name on it, right, and like not coming back here, that's it, yeah it took me a while to disconnect.

Monica Botkier

Guest

49:50

I was definitely hurt. I think over it like not hurt by them specifically, just like hurt by the whole story in the end was disappointing. You know, I didn't really know how to process and how to define myself. I mean now I'm like come through and very excited about where my life is headed next and doing some really mission based brands work and like really thinking about doing product. That means something to me in a deeper way than just like a great design, which I is this starting point for anything. But I don't know. I mean, listen that you live, you learn. It's definitely not a typical story. Yeah, I think that some partnerships are incredible and very fruitful and others aren't. It is what it is like. I don't follow bot care on Instagram. I don't pay attention to what goes on there. I've disconnected even though it's my name. It's not my name, right?

50:42

it's not yeah yeah, and it's funny because a lot of people still identify me this way. So when I meet people, everybody has these great stories and they're like, oh my god, I still love your bags. And they're like, oh, you know what happens. And I'm like, well, you know, I'm not there anymore and it's the force, it's just moved on. And you do move on, though, you do Right, everybody moves on. In some cases, I mean, I don't know, it's a worthy experience. I think today's entrepreneurs, this generation, have so much more of a network to rely on I mean every entrepreneur. There are resources for entrepreneurs, there are resources for founders, for female founders, for everything you can think of to support yourself, to educate yourself, to understand. I mean, it's just, it's wide open. Yeah, yeah, it felt kind of like I was in a vacuum. I didn't know. I probably should have called up Rebecca and been like okay, what?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

51:37

I ran into her not too long ago and we had a funny little conversation about our worlds, our ex world, in a sense, it's kind of like finding out you both did the same person for the same amount of time, like what that happened to you, what did they do to you? Oh well, this is what they did to me. It's so funny because I think it might age me, age us, but it was like the golden age of being this creator of something that people genuinely consumed, and it was consumed in a way that's very different than it is now. Yeah, absolutely.

Monica Botkier

Guest

52:10

I love to see what's happening now. Like I was talking to somebody who's been in the industry for a really long time and they were like hey, there's a whole resurgence on handbags in that price point that you did Like you should think about coming back and doing that. I was just like no, but I don't see it. But that's because I guess certain things are still happening. Chanel bags are getting more expensive and that whole feeder system and bags still exist. You just have newer, cooler ones coming up that take the place and I don't know, my BODCure customers from back then are middle age now, but they got the cash and they've got the style. I mean it's not over, it's just different.

52:52

But like, are you buying that now? Are you buying Louis Vuitton or?

Emily Blumenthal

Host

52:56

whatever, not buying anything, I still can't do it. What bag do you carry?

Monica Botkier

Guest

53:00

Oh, I'm going to show it to you. It's so wrecked right now, but I love this bag so much and it's not about your bag at all. It is a Barbara Bowie bag. Oh my gosh, remember her. Yes, so this bag must be 15 years old. Oh, I worked with Salt, the strap company, to do a bag design for them, so I have their strap on here. It's a disastrous mess, but I freaking love it. It's perfect size and it's got all the hardware that I like.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

53:24

So do you have an original BODCure bag in your rotation of handbags or you can't you?

Monica Botkier

Guest

53:30

know what they're precious to me. Now I don't want to use them, I don't want to get them messed up, but I have the original original right nearby If you want me to grab it. It looks like a homemade mess, yeah yeah, go grab it.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

53:41

Go grab it for sure, it's literally right here. Oh my goodness.

Monica Botkier

Guest

53:45

Check it out.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

53:47

Wow, look at her. Oh my God, this is the original trigger Yep.

Monica Botkier

Guest

53:53

This is where I got from Ohio Fasteners yeah, oh, they're still around. Yep, what logo that my sister made. This was like back then. We did not them, we just glued them. I'm pretty sure this is a Maniluchi. I went and bought a fabric in the Garment Center but look at this sexy little thing. Wow, I love it. I still love it. You should. I would actually love to remake these the right way for me, but that's it. That's it.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

54:24

So, just to wrap up, we can't have a podcast without someone showing one of their backs, so I'm glad we were able to see her and all her glory. What are you doing now? How can we find you? How can we follow you all over the world of Monica Botkier?

Monica Botkier

Guest

54:38

Oh, my goodness, this is a shameless plug. Well, Monica Botkier that should be her Exactly Instagram, MonicaBotkier. My new company is called Chosen Woven and this is a really exciting new project for me. It's Intimates. I have a fantastic partner, Olga Kapusina, who comes from Apparel. She had an incredible dress line back in the Barney's days as well and got her biochemical engineering degree and decided all about sustainable fabric use. So we make gorgeous knits. Oh, I can show you one of those too. Bring it on Beautiful knits that are made without the use of plastic.

55:16

It's all merino base, so it's starting to get in. You could wear it in the cold weather. It keeps you warm. Hot weather keeps you cool. It's like literal miracle material. And with the innovations and knitting, we are able to create a support and stretch without spandex. No petroleum based, fossil fuel based plastic. Wow, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Oh, I have it right here. These panties are going to look huge because these are high waisted, but against me they're going to look very big. These are high waisted and they're just like super pretty, wow, and they feel like a dream. And here we have a print that is clashing against my pants.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

55:56

I was just going to say you should wear them with that on top, then tuck it in. Oh wow, that's lovely.

Monica Botkier

Guest

56:06

So you know, we're on a mission. We love it. We're going to make a lot more product. Right now, we've got all kinds of tops, so I got a bra right here, right here. Show you guys the bra. Oh, wow, this is mine, though, so it's not in condition, but just freshly washed. So cold water, butt dry. Yeah, that's amazing, but it looks good and feels good. So, yeah, that's what I'm doing now. I feel like it took me a while to find a passion, but I always love handbags. I think they're amazing, and there's some really great young designers coming out doing their thing and I'm super impressed. So I think it's always an evolving category. It doesn't get boring no, not for us. Gorgeous, gorgeous designs, and women and men use bags all day, every day, and you know, I think it's fun. So I love that you're keeping it alive for all the young hopefuls out there, or old hopefuls, everyone who wants to do it.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

57:01

Listen, my hook is everybody loves an underdog, but everybody loves a handbag more, so I love it. That said, monica, you've been amazing. Thank you for joining us on Handbag Designer 101. And we will be watching you to see what comes next. So thank you so much.

Monica Botkier

Guest

57:17

Thank you so much. Thank you for all the support and your undying love and passion for handbags.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

57:23

All right, we'll see you soon, okay, thank you.

Emily Blumenthal

Host

57:26

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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