Laval, Quebec–After 20 years as a major player in the Canadian handbag market with up to 2,000 clients in Canada and abroad and sales topping 250,000 handbags annually, Joanel Inc. is making its name here in the U.S.
Featuring a mix of fashion and technology and targeting various demographics, the four brands fill a variety of niches.
Available in 130 styles, Mouflon, which is classic and durable and features nylon and PVC “leather,” starts at $40 retail. “This brand was created first and is the bread and butter of the company,” says Valérie Mazé. Mouflon also has a men’s collection.
Ugo Santini is the company’s high-quality leather line, starting at $35 for wallets and $200 for cross-body bags and ranging up to $600 and more.
The other leather line is Joanel, featuring $125 for small items and ranging up to $250. A PVC division under Joanel was launched later, with retails from $75 to $125. For differentiation, the PVC line features completely different styling than the leather, says Mazé.
Joanel is also known for its high-tech light-up Joanel Lux smart bags, designed to help women easily navigate the contents of their handbags. As the microlights are actually infused in the fabric in a new proprietary material, the consumer doesn’t feel any bulky bulbs. Retails: $280 to $345. But while technology serves a great function, the leather bags are fashionable in their own right.
Also new at the company are classic and novelty tech cases (like a heart iPad case), meant to house all forms of phones and tablets.
And last but not least, Joanel does not forget its furry friends. Edgar & Sooky is a fun collection of pet accessories (i.e. carry-ons, tret bags, folding water bowls), created by Joanel’s designer Johanne Boivin after the death of her 10-year-old bulldog Edgar. Retails range from $35 to $130.
Retail stores are also being planned, with the first opening in Laval, Quebec (near Montreal). “We make over 600 models a year, but how can we present them our way? Our own store enables us to do that,” says Mazé.