Brooklyn, NY–“I really missed the handbag business, and it’s amazing to be back in it,” says Roger Mizrahi, who recently launched CMD Handbags after selling his 25-year-old handbag company, Perlina, few years ago. “The new company is still run with my brother Cezar, just like Perlina, but now it’s different because we have the next generation–and young minds–in the company.”
The sons–aka cousins Michael, Steve and Solomon–bring a fresh design approach to CMD, which is an acronym for Cezar Mizrahi Designs. “When we had Perlina, our kids were very small, then they were in school, and now we’ve brought them into the business,” says Mizrahi proudly. “But it’s so funny. My brother and I were in handbags for so many years, but my kids still always make fun of me,” he says with a laugh. “They think they know everything!”
Well, the new generation certainly does know about technology, and tech bags will definitely have a presence in the new business strategy. In addition to chic phone cases with gold chains and zip-around wallets that hold phones, the pièce de résistance is CMD’s innovative iPad bag. Far from a tote or shoulder bag that merely holds a tablet, this bag has a section where the flap holding the iPad unzips and folds out. “It essentially turns a handbag into an iPad station, or a touch-screen laptop per se, where you never have to remove your tablet.”
There is also a version that holds the iPad mini, as well as one where the iPad in the leather pouch fully unzips out as a separate piece. “You can carry it as a clutch,” says Mizrahi. “Versatility is a strong element at CMD.”
CMD handbags will retail from $100 to $250, featuring “the buttery-soft leathers we were known form, plus upscale-looking Saffiano leathers, some patents and nicer hardware.”
Perlina had huge success with chic backpacks in the 90s, and it’s fortuitous that backpacks are making a return timed almost perfectly to CMD’s launch. “Women are always on the go and want to have hands-free ease, plus more women than ever are riding their bikes to work, especially in urban environments,” says Mizrahi. “A beautiful leather backpack can now be a great work bag.”
Wallets will be another strong category. “SLGs have always been good to us,” says Mizrahi. “They were 20% to 25% of the Perlina business. But now no one uses a checkbook, so we’ve updated with more square wallets, as well as wallets that hold a phone. Girls are using these phone/wallets as their main bag too.” Wallets retail from $50 to $100.
CMD has an office in Brooklyn but is currently seeking a Manhattan showroom. “The handbag business is competitive, but I know so many of the GMMs, DMMs and buyers from before. I just call and say ‘It’s Roger from Perlina!’ It’s great to be back in the business.
The Perlina name is now owned by Latique (formerly Rosetti).