The Journey Continues
I’m just returning from my second factory trip to Italy working on Fall product. What’s crazy is that Bells & Becks is launching in a few short weeks.
Although there’s so much unknown ahead of me, my thinking about the brand has evolved tremendously over the last several months. What I want the product to be, how I want to execute, and who I’m targeting has all come together –pieces of a puzzle falling into place.
My Definition of Quality
My appreciation and understanding of quality has deepened. I talk about the “feel of luxury”- I’ve always known it when I felt it. Putting on a designer piece, it just fits differently. I used to say to my husband that when he put on a well-constructed suit, it looked “sharp”. Sharp is a good work to describe great quality. The details are thought through, the fit is exact. The construction, whether a garment or a shoe, is executed with precision and finesse.
I’ve found that the very best quality for shoes is in Italy. I’ve met factory owners that take tremendous pride in the quality they deliver, and they can easily articulate why they are the best. But it’s not only about the factory, it’s also about the componentry. Leather makes a difference, and the finest tanneries are in Italy. The best leathers coupled with the best construction expertise is really the right mix to create a luxury product. Italy is where it’s at for me right now, though I’m still exploring Portugal and Spain. As a note, the best shoe factories all around the world use Italian leathers. That says a lot.
There’s a shoe that I’m anxious to include in the collection. The Tuscan factory that made the prototype is great, and the shoe is a beauty. But I had to force myself to hold off and see if I can do it better. Though the shoe is well constructed, it’s not perfect. The details, the leather, and ultimately the quality isn’t quite at the level I want for Bells & Becks. Over the years as a buyer, I’ve learned that saying “no” is just as important as saying “yes”.
When I set out to build a brand, I knew that I didn’t want to go after being the the coolest, hippest, newest “it” thing. I wanted to build something that addressed a need that I have and that it seems my community of professional, smart, sophisticated, and highly aware women also have. Something stylish with amazing quality that addresses the issue of wearability and versatility seems to resonate every time.
Getting ready for the launch, my list of to-do’s is enormous. The good news is that I have tremendous clarity about where I’m going and what I want to build both from a product point of view and in terms of the customer I hope to serve.
Bells & Becks will be launching soon! It won’t be long now…