Lauren Cecchi began her adventure as a designer and entrepreneur at a young age. Cecchi’s namesake brand, Lauren Cecchi New York, launched in 2014 to remind women that every day deserves a little luxury. It started with the influence of her grandmother, who taught her to sew when she was only five years old, and encouraged her to execute her own designs. Here, we hear (and see!) from Lauren about her vision behind her namesake brand and an exciting new custom handbag project she launched this past summer!
Lauren Cecchi: I see Lauren Cecchi New York becoming a full-fledged lifestyle brand. Eventually, I want to be part of my customer’s whole life – their clothing, their shoes, their flatware – not just their handbags. We’re unique because we care about being made in New York City. I believe that quantity is not quality and that is why we make small batches of handbags, instead of large runs.
It’s an exciting time in the American fashion industry today. I see more people caring about Made in USA, and spending more money on quality products. People are buying things for longevity in their wardrobe, not to wear just for a season. I believe and hope more brands will decide to manufacture in the USA.
Our leather is sourced from Italy and our exotics are sourced from Africa and Southeast Asia, but we manufacture all handbags and accessories in the Garment District in New York City. I think being able to walk down the street to my factory and see a handbag I drew come to life is truly amazing. We have short turnaround times, great relationships with the people who create our handbags, and design high quality handbags made in New York City. I think that is what being Made in America is all about!
I’m designing for a woman who has an elevated sense of style and cares about quality. To deliver this, I’ve recently started the opportunity for any customer to design their own handbags. The initial test market took place this past summer at a trunk show in the Hamptons and the response was overwhelming. I wanted to share the process of what it takes to make a one-of-a-kind handbag with the Maker’s Row community.
Customers can choose the type of exterior material, be it alligator, croc, ostrich or python, interior liner, hardware, and even finish it with a personalized monogram. All of our exotic skins come from Africa and Southeast Asia. I hand-pick every skin to find the ones that are highest quality, as well as the most unique. If a client requests a particular color, I either find it or we create it for them at a tannery located in Florida.
To all you emerging designers out there, here is my advice: Stick to what your gut is telling you. Believe in yourself. Never give up and it will all be worth it. And to always stay positive, because you’re your own worst critic.
Interested in making your own handbags? Here are some great factories in New York:
Inspired by Lauren’s line? Get your own brand off the ground by taking our free Production 101 e-course.