Magid Handbags, since 1916, presents the largest diversity of natural straw in the country. Magid has been recognized for its consistent quality, fashion forward designs and the global sourcing. The handbags shown are from Magid’s fashionable high end line of Philippines straws. The straw and coloration in each bag is unique to the Philippines. Each bag is individually hand constructed and trimmed. Find the perfect Magid straw handbag for you. Accessories caught up with Charles Rand, Vice President of Y & S Handbags, to discuss the company’s past, present and future.
How long have you been with the company? Since 1989.
What is a typical day like for you? BUSY! I am the principal liaison with most of our top retail partners and the majority of my day is spent talking with our customers, filling orders and developing accessory collections. We work very closely with our retail and private label partners, so a great deal of my time is spent customizing accessory lines with our customers. Our brands include Magid, Slazenger, Isaac Mizrahi, Jessica McClintock, Rebecca & Rifka and Eye Candy, and the product lines span many accessory categories and 1000s of SKUs. So it is vital that I spend quality time with each client to guide them through our brands and collections.
I have built friendships with many of our customers, so my calls tend to take a bit longer because we always seem to chat about our families, daily life and our travels – and then we get down to business. Our customers mean the world to us. Our company is also in an aggressive expansion mode, so on a typical day I am also evaluating new brands for acquisition and potential licensing deals. My latest project is the development of our new swim line, Chique. By Magid.
What is your favorite part of this industry? Without a doubt the relationships I have developed with longtime customers. Our leading brand, Magid, was founded in 1916 and is a family-owned business and we treat our partners and retailers like family. Honesty and integrity are at the core of our brand values, and we have long-term partnerships that have spanned decades because of the way we conduct business. Also the alliances and friendships I have built within the Headwear Industry are very important to me. MAGID is a Platinum Sponsor of the Headwear Association, which is a 106 year old trade group. I am also on the Board of The Headwear Association, and in 2015 I will be serving as THA President.
The Headwear Industry has a remarkable comradery, and we really view each other as industry allies rather than competitors. Throughout the year Magid works alongside other headwear companies including Dorfman-Pacific and Wallaroo promoting issues like Sun Protection awareness, and this August during the trade shows in Las Vegas we are throwing a joint party with the largest headwear companies in the industry. It’s incredibly cool how close-knit the headwear industry is, I don’t see any other industry “competitors” pooling their resources to host a joint celebration at MAGIC, PROJECT and Accessories The Show.
What have been some of the biggest challenges in the market lately? Meeting prices for customers. We try to deliver the best possible product at very affordable price points. So we are constantly working with our factories to maintain the stellar quality of our products, while keeping prices as low as possible. The reduction in pre-booking is also a challenge. So many retailers shop very close to season and want immediate delivery dates, so our company had to adapt to the industry changes. We now stock both Summer & Winter product year-round. It’s a challenge to maintain such a deep, comprehensive product inventory, but we find we are better able to serve our customers this way.
There are also new online retailers that emerge on an almost daily basis and introducing all these new potential customers to all of our brands is extremely important, but it is also time consuming. I suppose one of our biggest challenges is there are only 24 hours in a day and there is so much to do.
What are the newest and exciting changes in the marketplace lately? The growth of online accessory retailers has been beneficial to our brands. Also the growth of the accessory category at retail is exciting. With so many shoppers concerned with value, many women turn to accessories to update last season’s wardrobe, rather than investing in a new wardrobe. The continued rise in popularity of hats has continued to fuel the growth of our Magid Hat line, and it is exciting to see so many more people adding hats to their everyday accessories.
How do you use social media and how has it helped your brand? We have been on Facebook for a few years now, and we work closely with our retailers to share content. We post the arrival of new collections at stores and online, post news of sales and post accessory trend information that we see at fashion shows, music events and fashion and street style blogs. We also are a Platinum Sponsor of the Headwear Association which is a 106 year old trade group. We tap into their fan base and hold contests and giveaways in conjunction with The Headwear Association’s Facebook site. We also joined Instagram and are following leading fashion bloggers, magazines and fashion editors. We have started to post regularly and when we do our lifestyle photo shoots for our brands, we make sure to think about getting photos that will make strong social media content.
Does your company have any important milestones coming up? In just two years Magid will celebrate our 100th anniversary and we are starting to plan for a huge celebration and lots of consumer facing programs and contests. We also just completely renovated our showroom and we span the entire 7th floor at 320 Fifth ave. We exanded the display areas to house all of our accessory collections. We transformed our older, more functional space into a chic, modern showroom by adding wood floors, chandeliers and a lot of new design elements.
Are you launching anything new for Fall/Holiday 2014? 2014 is a huge year for Y & S expansion. We just debuted the Carmen Marc Valvo evening and day bag collections and it has been a thrill to work with such an important, iconic American designer. We are also expanding our Jessica McClintock brand, formerly it was a dress hat line. Now we have launched a casual Jessica McClintock hat collection for Autumn / Winter 2014, and it really has a cross generational appeal. It’s a rare item in the fashion industry that will appeal to both a teen and a stylish woman in her 50s, but we achieved that with our modern takes on classic hat styles in the Jessica McClintock line.
We also launched an affordable, Vegan-friendly bag line called Rebecca & Rifka for Fall 2014. This collection uses faux leathers in bold colors and shimmery metallics, and patterns including animal print and croc-embossed fabrics. The line includes everything from classic small purses, to dynamic oversized day bags and sleek wallets. It’s our trendiest bag collection to date, and the price points are remarkable.
We are also debuting a luggage collection of stylish trolley bags in vegan leathers. The line features traditional luggage shapes that have been updated with features seen in high-end designer bags. The resulting styles are a chic, polished alternative to the basic overnight roller bag.
And our hosiery division is rapidly growing. We now offer a trendy junior-oriented slipper line, leggings and patterned legwear and tights. Designer hosiery can be so over-priced, so we are thrilled to offer our customers well-made, delicate yet durable hosiery. We listened to what are customers wanted and the resulting hosiery line is ever better than what we envisioned.
In terms of styling, what are you focusing on for the Fall/Holiday season? Expect to see a lot of knitwear for Fall 2014. Last year felts drove the sales in Magid Hat line, but this year customers are looking for cozy, comfortable knits. Embellishments, patterned and metallic trims and bold dynamic hardware is a predominate trend. So everything in our accessory collection — from our day bags to our fedoras has a little something special going on.
Which designers/runway fashion shows have been most influential for you in terms of planning your Fall/Holiday line? The warrior-inspired looks that Carmen Marc Valvo showed spoke to us. The mesh fabrics, metallic tones and dramatic hardware he used really inspired us. Also the signature hardware and modern bag shapes that designers including Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Coach and Tory Burch use is very appealing to women of all ages, and we drew inspiration from that when trying to design a timeless but modern collection. We also are inspired by Stella McCartney’s commitment to using only vegan-friendly fabrics, and our new Rebecca & Rifka collection was designed around this concept.
Are there any celebrities, bloggers, movies, TV, music festivals, etc., that are driving trends for you lately? I have to say the main thing inspiring our design team right now is travel and drawing inspiration from a variety of cultures. Our team has found design muses in everything from traditional native fabrics, to street style in Paris and Japan, to the bold colors of international food and spices. So we don’t really look to celebrities and the entertainment world when we design the line. We do LOVE seeing how the celebs and bloggers style our accessories though, and we are thrilled when we they introduce us to a new way to wear a hat, or a surprising way to style a scarf.
Y & S Handbags was featured in Accessories magazine’s June issue: A look at who and what is hot now–in product, brands, stores, pop culture, business, social media, e-commerce, apps, runway trends, technology, start-ups, museum exhibits and much, much more!
To read the page, click here.