Shana and I became online acquaintances, then internet friends – she's super friendly, totally real, and loves animals, which makes her my kinda' gal.
So today, I'm pleased to take you behind the scenes of Shana's luxury, American-made handbag collection. Read on to learn more about Shana as a designer as well as her production process:
(P.S. – there's a puppy at the end)
Shana began designing handbags in 1999 under the label SML Bags. In true hustler form, she also had a day job in costume design which she calls a "different world" than fashion.
"I worked for a costume shop that constructed costumes for Broadway shows and films. Most costumes for the stage are worn 10 times a week so they have to stand up to sweat, make-up, and regular washing. Because of that, my job at the costume shop really instilled in me the importance of quality."
In 2012, Shana decided to relaunch her label under Shana Luther Handbags. A good decision, if you were to judge it based on the reaction of the press, not to mention Martha Stewart – Shana was a finalist in Martha Stewart's American Made Awards in 2013, just one year after launching her new label. Awesome.
Shana has called Brooklyn home since 1995 and firmly believes in American manufacturing. In fact, her handbag line was created when she realized that there was a need for American-made luxury handbags.
"I wanted the same luxury but wanted to have more quality control over the production process, which is nearly impossible to do when production takes place overseas. When I set out to work with a manufacturer, I knew I wanted them to be local."
On manufacturing her handbags in New York:
"I live in NYC, which has the greatest (although dwindling) garment district in the world so it was only natural to take advantage of that. After months of research I was thrilled to find a small-batch manufacture within the same borough as me. I’m so proud to be producing my line locally."
Best/worst parts of being a designer?
"My favorite and least favorite thing is having limitless options as to what I can create. Sometimes it’s difficult to edit down my imagination and think in terms of a business owner and predict what your customers want to see from you."
And just for fun:
What’s one book everyone should read? One movie everyone should see?
"Stop what you’re doing and read "Wool" by Hugh Howey. I’m not necessarily a sci-fi fan but this is a definite page turner. Also, it just makes me so happy to have the main character be an intelligent, strong female.
Rent "Exit through the Gift Shop". I’ve known about the street artist Banksy but when he did his NYC residency last year, I was obsessed with finding out more about him and his work. I love the fact that only a few people in the world know who he actually is."
If you weren't living in NY, where would you be?
"I love the city but if I couldn’t live here I would be in the country somewhere. My husband and I often travel to upstate New York for weekend getaways and I really enjoy being surrounded by nature and having that escape from hectic city life.
Maybe I would get some chickens and sheep and see what would come of that…"
Shop Shana Luther here
Learn more about Shana's process here
See more of Shana's new puppy, Jackie, here
Thanks to Shana for her time, and thank you for going Behind The Scenes!