As many of you now, there is a large number of us in the world who have a strong addiction to purses. Some may say that this is a serious problem, but I say life’s too short not to buy the purse! I decided to interview my oldest friend Simonne; one of the biggest purse-aholics I know, who is a savvy fashionista and also just got promoted to manager at Burberry. The goal of my interview was to find out just how her love for purses started and if working in the designer fashion industry furthered her obsession or mellowed it out.
How old were you when you started collecting purses?
I think it started when I was about 6 and my mom would get me those little pink plastic purses that carried a compact and a small lip balm. Even though I didn’t’ buy that myself I thought it was so cool to be able to carry my things around in a cute purse and I wanted to have it in all different colors and patterns, so whenever I got chore money I would ask my mom to take me to get more.
I remember those. What influenced you to start buying designer brands?
When I got to middle school I would see other girls with the new Dooney and Bourke purses and wanted to have one too. It sounds so juvenile now that I look back, but I really did see designer purses like that as being cool and that drove me to want one even more. I would ask for them for Christmas or a special occasion and slowly but surely my collection of “big girl” purses began.
What is it about purses that you are attracted to?
In my opinion purses are the best accessories. You can be dressed in sweats and a tank top but if you have a fierce purse over your shoulder, you’re golden. There is also such a wide range of purses that you can never get bored with them. Aside from their functional contributions, on many levels they are a status symbol. Similar to clothes, purses can reflect your personality and be simple and classic to loud and modern.
Do you have a favorite purse brand, and if so what makes that brand stand out to you?
Burberry has been one of my favorite brands for as long as I can remember. The classic pattern is like a little black dress in that it will never go out of style and can go with so many things. I also pay a lot of attention to quality, because even though I don’t always buy designer, if I am going to spend a fair amount of money on a product, it needs to be of excellent design, which I find in Burberry products.
Speaking of Burberry, did your love for purses influence your career choices?
I would say absolutely, just because my passion for purses introduced me to the world of fashion in general. When I was little I used to want to be a purse designer and the more I collected, the more brands I became familiar. This opened my eyes to the wide world of fashion retail and designer, and I knew that I wanted to work in the fashion industry in one way or another.
So purses were a steppingstone that led you to the fashion industry?
Definitely. If I didn’t get so involved in purses, I can’t say for sure that I would be as involved in the fashion industry as I have been, and now I can’t imagine being in any other industry.
Has working for Burberry increased your brand loyalty or do you still purchase purses from other companies?
Working at Burberry has definitely increased my loyalty to the brand because I work with their products every day and have really learned to respect the way in which our company does business and represents it’s brand image. I confess, I still purchase purses from other brands because there are a lot of wonderful brands out there and I love my purse diversity. (laughs loudly)
Congratulations on your latest promotion to manager, how has the sense of responsibility changed for you?
Thank you very much. It has changed a lot because now people look to me for answers and guidance, whereas before I was the one who relied on someone else and would do the work I was told to do without much thought put into it.
What would you tell someone who is considering a career in fashion?
I would tell them to, above all else, follow their passion. Although I changed my mind on what I wanted to do in life probably a million times, I knew my heart was in fashion and I have followed my heart all along. I would tell them to start with a successful company, even if that means having to be a gopher, because that way you can prove yourself and eventually begin to work your way up.
Where do you see your career headed in the future?
I see myself working for a company such as the one I am at now, and eventually entering the world corporate management. I have a degree from UC Davis but have been considering going back to school for a Master’s Degree that is geared toward fashion in order to gain high end positions.
That sounds like a great plan. Who knew a purse passion could lead to such a great job in fashion? Thank you for meeting with me.