The summer is a perfect time of year that allows every moment to be special simply due to the fact that the days are longer, the weather is warmer and any and every activity is possible. One of the most essential accessories that are carried (specifically during this time of year) is a handbag. Although we can debate on whether there are "IT" bags and how one is placed in the running - we all know that you want the perfect style that takes what you need and allows you to go about your day without having to change it within the same day.
We have a number of handbag brands that we're fans of and we took a moment to chat it up with Australian designer, Aimee Kestenberg who has a range of cute styles and fabrications within her line that includes handbags and shoes that are available in a number of specialty stores, department stores and QVC.
ATHLEISURE MAG: When did you realize that you wanted to create your handbag line and what was the initial process like?
AIMEE KESTENBERG: I was lucky enough to train with some of the best luxury accessory brands while studying at Parsons The New School for Design, which really gave me a foundation of knowledge and skill set in handbags and leather goods. Having had a background in Industrial Design and then Fashion Design, handbags and accessories seemed like the perfect fit for a fashion conscious engineering based mind like mine.
I launched my namesake brand, Aimee Kestenberg after realizing that nothing existed in the world of handbags that was right for me, my sisters and friends both in casual contemporary styling, luxury leathers and affordable prices.
Going out on my own was scary and a big risk financially, but was the most thrilling and rewarding experience of my life.
AM: Tell us more about your fashion background.
AK: My father is an entrepreneur, my grandparents were all jewelers so it's safe to say creativity is in the family. I studied Industrial design prior to moving to New York upon acceptance to Parsons School of Design. I interned and trained over the years with companies including Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren and Sass & Bide to name a few, as well as becoming a two time winner of the Independent Handbag Designer Awards. I also apprenticed for 3 years at The House of Couture where I ghost designed for luxury labels and celebrities before going out on my own.
AM: What inspired your Spring 16 collection and anything you can tell us about your upcoming Fall and Holiday collections?
AK: Spring 2016 was inspired by free spirited energy in a world of chaos. It focuses on bringing elements of peace and colors that evoke happiness and calmness in addition to unique hand crafted detailing to focus on the human element missing in fashion world today.
The upcoming Fall and Holiday collection continues to bring a beautiful earth tone color palette combined with unique exotics and soft slouchy shapes and leathers.
AM: What are your favorite styles in the collection?
AK: The belt bag and my Iconic Tamitha Backpack. Both are chic and made for girls on the go like me!
AM: Who is the Aimee Kestenberg girl?
AK: She's fearless, family oriented a free spirit, works hard but knows how to have fun. She is a lover of all things fashion, but not a sucker for those top dollar prices. She appreciates unique design and high quality at an affordable price point.
AM: Do you see yourself adding to the collection beyond handbags luggage, small accessories etc?
AK: Definitely! We are growing daily and have also recently launched footwear! We fully intend to take the Aimee Kestenberg brand to be full lifestyle.
AM: How did you enjoy being on QVC and what did that mean for the expansion and awareness of your brand?
AK: I love being on QVC! There is no other platform in the world that puts me inside of people's homes to have the ability to speak to people one on one and explain my inspiration as well as show them what I love about each piece I create. Not to mention that there is no marketing in the world that so seamlessly allows people to get to know you!
AM: In terms of balance, how do you keep it all together with working with your stores availability in a number of countries and taking time for yourself/family?
AK: It's tough, but when you're on 24/7 like I am, you just make it work. Giving up is not an option in the mind of a true entrepreneur. I have learned different management tools along the way that have also helped me to juggle everything. You learn that time is the most precious thing you have and learn to manage it carefully.
AM: Do you plan on making Aimee Kestenberg stores?
AK: I would love to launch a flagship store, both in New York City and my hometown in Melbourne, Australia!
AM: Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?
AK: Live to the fullest and remember that the only person that controls what you can or cannot do is you! Pushing through the hardest times will make you stronger and dreams are real and do come true. :)
Read more from the June Issue.