Breakfast at The Plaza with Disney princesses and Tinker Bell? Sounds like every girl’s dream, which designer Danielle DiFerdinando made true last week when she hosted an event to launch her new co-branded handbag partnership with Disney.
In addition to the partnership, Danielle was also named one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in 2015, she makes regular appearances on HSN, and has been featured on Vogue.com and in dozens of other glossy publications. This designer is clearly on the move!
Accessories caught up with Danielle–the designer and president behind her wildly successful eponymous handbag and jewelry brand Danielle Nicole–to discuss the partnership, future plans and how she keeps it all together.
Can you tell us about your partnership with Disney?
Danielle Nicole x Disney is a co-branded handbag collection inspired by five Disney princesses including Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White and everyone’s favorite fairy Tinker Bell. It has several crossbody bags, clutches and backpacks along with bag charms and key chains to adorn them. This collection is all about having fun, so we used fun embellishments like pom-poms, sparkle, tassels and glitter to really make it stand out. All items are faux leather, like the entire Danielle Nicole line, and all bags from the Danielle Nicole x Disney retail for under $150.
What was the inspiration?
My customers, who are youthful at heart and love kitschy, whimsical pieces like these. They’re very fashion forward and see these as novelty pieces to collect.
On the actual design end, I love the opportunity to use new materials and create modern, contemporary pieces with iconic characters. I’m also so honored to partner with Disney because no matter your age, you have a connection to them.
How did you know that Disney would be a fit for your customer?
We’ve done partnerships with Disney through HSN, the most recent being handbags inspired by Alice Through the Looking Glass. They were wildly successful and sold quickly. I knew that when the opportunity to co-brand with Disney came up, our customers would love them. And we were right! Over the weekend, we pre-sold over 200 pieces and saw tons of engagement on Instagram.
What other partnerships do you have going on or coming up?
We have more ahead with Disney, and earlier this year we launched a Danielle Nicole pop-up at Topshop, which is ongoing and we have some exciting things planned ahead for that. On the jewelry side, Danielle Nicole Jewels will continue to sell at Nordstrom, Macy’s, HSN and on NastyGal.
You mentioned your pop-up shop at Topshop. Can you tell us more about that?
Sure, we launched the pop-up in Topshop Soho in New York earlier this year and it took off, so we’ve kept the partnership going. It works well for me to test out new styles and colors before launching new pieces, and I really get a sense of what my customers like. For example, the backpacks were an immediate hit there, so I introduced them to my collection. When I’m in New York, I stop by the store every weekend and talk with customers to receive their immediate feedback. A few weeks ago, one customer bought 60 bags in one day!
Between all the handbag partnerships and your HSN affiliation, it sounds like you’ve got a crazy but fun schedule! What is a typical week?
Well, this week alone I’ll be in four different cities in two countries! Today (Monday) will be filled with conference calls with Disney and then tomorrow it’s off to Portland, Oregon. I’m on the National Retail Federation Board of Directors, so we have a meeting at the Nike headquarters there. I’ll take the red-eye back to New York because Wednesday is packed with meetings with international customers, including some from Japan. Thursday is off to Florida for a HSN appearance at 2am on Friday, then another appearance at 3pm. Saturday morning I leave directly from Florida and go to China for a week to work on the spring 2017 collection.
Wow, where do you get all the energy to keep it going?
I love every second of what I do, but I definitely count on exercise to get me through long days and weeks like this one. I am a SoulCycle devotee, as long as Akin Akman is the instructor. And I’ve been training with Rich Beretta, a former Mr. America and trainer to the stars, for the last six years.
Another benefit of sticking to my workout schedule, I get a lot of ideas and inspiration while exercising because my mind is racing on thinking about how to keep building the business.