If you are looking for a new handbag to add to your collection then look no further, Gretchen Christine‘s new line of vegan handbags are a must have for fall.
One of my favorite purses in the collection is the Celeste – Vegan Leather Shoulder Bag which is beautifully crafted from buttery vegan leather that embodies smart sophistication with a fashion-forward edge. Everything on this bag, from the hems to the intricate details speaks high fashion.
In the past, I’ve had the unfortunate luck of owning several vegan leather purses in which the faux-leather would peel off after about a year of use.
You can tell by the grain of the vegan leather that it is strong and durable.
The purse is one of those pieces in your wardrobe that can easily be worn casually with its stylish top handles or thin black shoulder strap. It is very spacious and will masterfully carry you from your daily errands and work, through a night out at a fine restaurant. If you want to add a little bit of edge to your outfit you can attach the studded guitar shoulder strap.
Recently, Gretchen Christine Rossi was kind enough to answer a few questions for Global Looking Glass.
What inspired your purse line?
My fans and my mission to produce high quality accessible fashion for the everyday women.
Because Gretchen Christine is trying to do their little part in being more eco-friendly and also socially responsible. I myself am a huge animal lover and since a segment of our customer base was requesting the option of a vegan leather collection, it was an easy choice to make.
What was the process like to source the vegan leather, was it difficult?
It took a full year to develop this collection because I was so particular with how I wanted the vegan leather to look, feel and perform. I sent samples of real leather bags to the factory and we went through many rounds of sampling different ingredients and fabrication processes before we found the perfect material, that looks and feels like real leather.
Besides being cruelty-free, what are some benefits to buying a faux leather handbag?
The new technology being develop in the manufacturing process is quite extraordinary. This collection contains materials that have no animal bi-products, they have a similar strength and feel to real leather. Our material actually holds its structure better and doesn’t break down over time like real leather. This allows us to do so many more things when it comes to design. It’s the perfect blend of durability with flexibility.
What inspires your designs?
Everything around me inspires our designs, from a beautiful flower I see in nature, to the different cultures I explore during my travels, it can be the architecture of a building, or a unique textile…I pull inspiration from all these things.
Are there any handbag trends that you wish would go away?
I can appreciate all the trends that come and go because with most of design, its history. That history drives inspiration and innovation, but to be honest, I have never been a fan of the tie die look.
What philanthropic causes are you involved in?
Many…in fact I created my entire pink collection in honor of the breast cancer charities of America. We also work with and give back too many animal organizations, as well as children’s charities. Slades son was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 5, so working with organizations like the Make a Wish Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer are very near and dear to our hearts. Last but not least, we tithe weekly and give back to our local church saddleback.com
What makes your line stand out compared to your competitors?
I believe it’s in the details. Gretchen Christine thrives on putting their customer needs first, and this collection stands out because of the versatility we created. We believe Gretchen Christine to be a fashion and beauty solutions company. This means we design with purpose. This collection includes interchangeable/reversible straps or consider the purse inside purse feature of Audrianna Messenger as an example. The conversion of the Jaime Tote (from a larger tote to a smaller more structured bag) Also the details and embellishments of the bags; from the 14K gold plated purse feet to the multiple pockets for organization, to the gorgeous gold studded straps and the removable luggage logo tags. Every piece is made with love and with our customers needs in mind.
Do you have favorite handbag in your line that you use every day?
I can’t pick just one, they are all like my children because so much time and attention has been given into each one. I honestly use them all…it just depends on my mood and what outfit I plan to curate for the day.
Besides your cell phone, what are three items you must always carry?
In my bag I always have some of my favorite cosmetics, my Gretchen Christine coin purse the holds all my credit cards & cash (This is a necessity because I can easily move it from one purse to the other) and my camera.
Do you follow any vegan designers?
Yes, I do, several actually but Stella McCartney is one of my favorites. She is very inspiring.
Do you have a favorite fashion trend?
I love fashion so much that it’s impossible to just pick one trend. My favorite trend is typically the one I am creating in that moment. Fashion is a constant ebb and flow that’s always changing and evolving. This is what feeds me and my design team every single day.
As a business owner, what are some challenges you have faced that only a woman can understand?
The roadblocks that naturally come from being a woman in business can be many, and it’s sad to think in this day and age that some men still associate beautiful women with a lack of intelligence, or they assume if your pretty, you certainly aren’t capable of achieving corporate success. They assume there is no way a young woman could possibly understand the ins and outs of a business. I personally love that kind of attitude, it motivates me to show them something different. It’s always a pleasure to surprise those types of people with my knowledge. I’m able to speak intelligently about every aspect of my business from design, to sampling, manufacturing to production, distribution to fulfillment, web development and SEO optimization, all the way through marketing and sales. We handle everything from concept to credit card and I welcome anyone to challenge me on it.
What is your best advice for someone starting their own business?
My philosophy is this “Find something you truly love to do, and you’ll never work another day in your life.” Be passionate about what you are doing and have a reason behind why you are doing it, otherwise the work and dedication it takes to run your own business can overwhelming. If you wake up every day with a passion that ignites your motivation, you will have no problem moving forward, no matter how challenging or difficult things get (and trust me it will get difficult) but if you stay focused and never give up you will find a way to succeed.
What is in store for the future?
The future looks bright for Gretchen Christine. We now have 7 locations around the world fulfilling orders for us, and we are also launching several new categories for 2018. We have been approached about Pop Up opportunities as well, that we look forward to exploring. There are just so many things happening for us personally and professionally that I think you and I should plan another interview very soon…lol
Courtesy Images: Gretchen Christine