Remember when I went to the grand opening of Lorie Lester’s Boutique in Midtown a few weeks ago? Well, besides her own, Lorie chose to showcase a few other brands. One of those is Beautiful People Handbags. I was instantly impressed–handcrafted, hand finished, high end, affordable and fashion forward.
I had a chance last week to talk to Johanna Boccardo, the designer behind Beautiful People. What a FAB chick! She’s from Venezuela and was actually an illustrator of childrens books before Beautiful People. She also had a very successful graphic and web design business, before being bitten by the fashion bug. In fact, her entrance to the business was entirely by accident. Her family had launched a jewelry business in Spain and decided to add handbags to the line. Johanna came up with some very simple, leather creations to start–a year later, Beautiful People was born. Johanna is the designer and her sister in law, Maria Briceno, handles the production end. The first collection launched in 2008.
Her mother actually came up with the moniker. She thought it made you feel “happy” when you said it. Well, happy is what feel when I see them too! Johanna thinks that the family connection adds to her brand’s value. She says that you can tell that the Beautiful People line has been made with a lot of heart. She fondly remembers rummaging through her grandmother’s closets, looking for treasures and the joy that it brought her. She wants her pieces to become those kinds of treasures, creating legacy pieces for their owners. She’s also looking to create “new” neutrals, in interesting hues, like greys, teals and greens. She added that while the average handbag is carried for about 2 seasons, she wants her fans to get a lot more mileage out of their purchases from her.
Beautiful People is based in Miami and one of the final questions I had for her was about Miami “style” and what it means to her. She didn’t even hesitate–
Craziness. People here feel free to express themselves. It’s also an artful city, we have art galleries in neighborhoods where there are also popular restaurants and shops. And the weather allows one to include art in their daily lives.
In addition to the Lorie Lester Boutique, Beautiful People Handbags are also available online at Anthropologie and Carry Me Please. Many boutiques across the country carry the line, too. You can check for locations here.