Interview: Margaret Nicole

Inside the mind of clutch queen Nicole Dreyfuss.



Behind the Scenes With…
Margaret Nicole
by kelly lee

The Vitals

Occupation: Founder and designer of Margaret Nicole.

Birthdate/Sign:
March 5, Pisces

Born:
New York, NY

Current Digs: The West Village of Manhattan

The 411:
After working in the corporate world, Nicole Dreyfuss ditched her Wall Street job to pursue more creative avenues. Lucky for us, that avenue led her to the creation of her signature cableknit and knit clutches. With the idea of accessorizing an accessory, Nicole adorns the bags with removable satin and grosgrain ribbons, brooches and vintage-inspired pins. The bags have caught the attention of boutique owners from San Francisco to Manhattan to London. Find out how it all started and where Margaret Nicole is headed next, in our interview below.

The Root of It All


What prompted you to leave your Wall Street job and venture into the world of fashion fulltime? Did you have any art/design background or training?

I was looking for a change — something more creative and exciting that I could develop and grow. I was an art major in college and have always had a love of fashion and accessories, especially handbags!

What was the reaction from friends and fam when you left your Wall Street job behind for such a competitive, creative profession?

Friends were definitely very excited and supportive, some even jealous! Families took a little more convincing. They were a little apprehensive at first but have become more and more supportive with every success of Margaret Nicole, Inc.

How much do you think your marketing background has influenced your success?

I definitely think it helped having a marketing background, if only for brainstorming creative ideas about how to get the word out about our clutch handbags.

Bag It

When was Margaret Nicole started?

Margaret Nicole, Inc. was started in July of 2003.

I love your idea of accessorizing an accessory. I mean, what more could a girl ask for? And I love that the bag can be the star rather than say, your outfit. What prompted this way of thinking?

I just love handbags and know how good it feels to have something original and unique to show off. What better way to provide our customers with a great accessory than to provide an accessory that is accessorized. Also, I wanted my bags to be versatile — a handbag that you can carry during the day and take out for a night on the town!

Do you think being in New York hurts or helps as a designer?

I definitely think it helps being in New York. Not only do you have so many boutiques and stores at your fingertips, but are surrounded by so many fashionable people as well as other young emerging designers. Meeting and sharing ideas, successes as well as failures, with other young designers has been so helpful!!

What influences your designs and aesthetics?

Mostly personal taste, as well as keeping an eye on current styles and trends in fashion publications, stores and the street!

When did you decide to go online? And how much has the Internet and having your own site and online boutique helped you?

I decided to start with the Internet. The start-up costs are pretty minimal and it has such a large reach. Most of our success can be attributed to the Internet site and being able to refer either customers or store buyers to the purchase or view our handbags. It is true a picture is worth a thousand words!

How did you first spread the word about your clutches?

Through friends and family…a friend tells a friend who tells a friend and so on — it works!!! Actually it really worked more like a friend emails a friend who emails a friend and so on! What did we do without the Internet?!?

Although your bags can be used year-round, do you find that they’re more popular in one season over the others?

Since Margaret Nicole is pretty new, we’ve only had our line out for two seasons. So far the Christmas/Hanukkah holiday has been our most popular! We just launched our spring and summer designs in cotton, and people seem to really like them, so we’ll see!

What do you see for the future of Margaret Nicole? Will you stick to knit or branch out to other mediums?

I will probably stick to handbags and accessories for now. As for changing the medium, you never know!!!


Where can we find MN products?

www.margaretnicole.com
www.NedandShell.Com
www.MightyFlirt.Com
Heidi Says: 2426 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA (415) 749-0655
Sassanova: 1641 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington DC (202) 471-4400
SugarBoutique: 3702 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 Tel: (412) 215-4393
Miss Kate: 335 E. Maple Road, Birmingham, MI (248) 646-1695/(248) 646-4373
Albertine, 13 Christopher Street, New York, New York 10014 (212) 924-8515
Estilo Honey: 37 High Street, Wimbledon Village, London. SW19 5BY UK +44 208 946 0198
Scarpe Diem: 2286 Broadway, New York, NY (212) 362-5070
Selma and Syd: 220 East 60th Street, New York, NY (212) 486-1992

Working It

What was your very first job?

So embarrassing, I was a waitress one summer on a tourist-trap yacht that sails around the Statue of Liberty (around and around). I had to wear a sailor suit and everything — not a cute one either, a tie and epaulets!

Where did you grow up?

Westchester, NY.

College?

Kenyon College.

What’s been the most fulfilling part of your business so far?

All the satisfied customers letting us know how much they love their clutch handbags. I get so many stories about customers being stopped on the street or approached at parties by people wanting to know about their Margaret Nicole handbag. It makes me so happy and proud!

The most challenging?

Keeping up with demand!

Best investment you’ve made in this business so far?

Hiring an Internet designer/consultant. Not only has this saved valuable time, but she has made the site so much more professional! I love her.

Worst?

Home Depot handsaw, and electric sandpaper machine — I thought that I should cut our handles ourselves…

Playing Favorites

Other than your own site, what are some of your favorite online destinations?

There are so many great ones out there! We love:
www.girlshop.com
www.shopbop.com
www.mightyflirt.com
www.bluefly.com — who doesn’t love a discount?!?
www.kellygolightly.com

Favorite way to procrastinate?

Hate to admit it but I LOVE television!

Favorite magazine?

Again so many! InStyle, Vogue, Lucky, Elle, Vanity Fair, just to name a few.

Fave shops in NY?

Scoop NYC, Olive & Bette, Albertine, Kirna Zabete, and Agnes B for our basics. Jeffrey and Marc Jacobs for wish-list shopping. Selma & Syd for gifts.

Fave color?

Pink – all shades!!

Fave city?

Besides NYC, Paris!!

More importantly, Seth or Ryan?

If I have to choose one…Ryan!

Stylin’ and Profilin’

Describe your personal style.

Classic with flair!

What people in the fashion/design industry do you look up to?

Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Tracy Feith, Cynthina Rowley.

Dream shop to get into?

Barney’s.

Which celeb would you love to see carrying a MN clutch?

Nicole: Drew Barrymore

It’s a Wrap

Where would you like to be in ten years?

I would like to be a known name in the accessory/fashion business — definitely expanding the handbag line to other accessories and clothing — possibly even home decorating products.

Did you ever think you’d be doing this?

I always hoped I would be doing something for myself! And I am thrilled it has been such a success so far!

Visit Margaret and Nicole online at margaretnicole.com.


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