INTERVIEW: Amanda Joy, Luxury Handbag Designer
Amanda Joy knows simplicity is important, especially in an industry constantly over-saturated with fleeting brands. In 2010, she left her career as an art director in the advertising industry to develop her unfussy, yet luxurious handbag. Her dedication to using only the finest materials for her exquisitely crafted line shows: there’s no doubt her collection will be a must have come this fall. We caught up with Amanda to talk about what goes into developing each bag, her philanthropic mindset and why manufacturing in New York City is important to her.
Why it is important to you that your products are produced in New York City?
There are so many reasons! First, it was about quality control and having the ability to be hands-on in the creation of my line during each stage of development. From the beginning, I imagined the line having a level of exclusivity to it, and manufacturing in New York City allows me to keep the production limited. Then it comes down to humanity. After learning about some of the unfortunate factory conditions globally, I wanted to know the people working on my collection were treated properly and paid well.
How involved are you in the creation of each bag? What goes into each product from design to production?
I am involved in every aspect of the collection. I design each bag myself and oversee it from idea to production. I start each season by choosing colors and the concept for every style, and the ideas begin to develop from there.
Each bag starts with a drawing, and from there, into a sample. Once a sample is finalized, all of the materials are handpicked and selected. After that, it is all sales, marketing and production. There is a great deal of work that goes on from conception to execution. Designing and picking colors is definitely the best part!
What are the must-have items in your bag?
Gloss, eyelash curler, Nars bronzer & brush, my iPhone and a digital camera.
What type of woman loves to carry your bags?
The ideal woman is stylish but has a relaxed, chic approach to her wardrobe. She appreciates a high-quality, well-made accessory. And while she loves fashion, she is probably not overtly trendy or overdone.
Your company is very dedicated to helping charity. What are your future philanthropic plans?
My goal is to produce a product line where profits would focus on benefiting charities and foundations that serve under-privileged children by giving them the resources and opportunities needed to succeed. My belief is every child should have the support, necessities and guidance to flourish.
Beyond monetary contributions, I am currently researching ways to provide opportunity and empower individuals and small business owners internationally by giving them the chance to produce this product line to benefit and strengthen their communities and lives.
How different is your life now from your life as an art director? What prompted you to make the switch?
Working in fashion is a huge change but a welcomed one! I was starting to feel stifled creatively working in advertising. When I started Amanda Joy, I had one design, a clutch I needed in my personal accessory rotation. As soon as I saw it come together, I knew I was in love with designing bags and wanted to keep going with it. Very much like in advertising and branding, it takes a couple rounds to get it right. Thankfully I was already prepared for the time and effort it takes.
What inspired you for the Fall 2011 collection? When you’re designing, where do you turn for creative vision?
For Fall, I was inspired by the classic and tailored looks you are seeing everywhere. Amanda Joy emanates unfussy design, so this season I mixed simple, clean lines with luxurious, sophisticated leathers and rich exotic skins to bring that lady-like stylishness together.
For day-to-day inspiration, you can pretty much always find me buried in a glossy or reading my daily dose of fashion blogs. Living in Florida, I spend a lot of time outside. There is ease about fashion here – maxi dresses and sandals are a girl’s best friend. And I think accessories are definitely the best way to add glamour to a simplistic look.
You can learn more about Amanda Joy and see all her fabulous bags at shopamandajoy.com.