Handmade Luxury: Interview with Designer Barbara Campbell

Designer Barbara Campbell

I first introduced you all to designer Barbara Campbell in October 2011, when I attended one of her trunk shows at Bloomingdales in SoHo, where she was showcasing her Black and Gold jewelry collection. This week I had the opportunity to catch up with the busy designer to learn more about her company, where she gets her inspiration from, and how her business continues to thrive in the fashion industry.

Where are you from?

I am a first generation Cuban-American, born and raised in Washington Heights in Manhattan. Both my mother and father were born in Cuba

When did your company launch?

The inspiration for my company began in Vermont in 2006, overlooking a lake in the green mountains. The natural beauty of the environment started merging with my design instincts. The company actually launched while I was on the beach in Montauk. Once again the natural beauty of the beaches and the ocean convinced me that designing accessories that were inspired by nature’s wonders was something I wanted to do. The company officially launched in the fall of 2007.

Gravity, $185.00

What made you decide to start your own business?

As I began making my jewelry, each design felt like a piece of me. I did not want anyone else to interfere with my creative process. I figured if I was President and CEO I would make all of the artistic decisions, so I incorporated into a LLC, Barbara Campbell Accessories, LLC. I know I made the right choice, and my artistic development has been enhanced due to that decision.

Is this your full-time job?

Absolutely. Seven days a week 15 hours a day.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Each design, whether it is a handbag, a belt or a piece of jewelry, has its own life and inspiration. Each piece connects me to the materials I use and the end result is exhilarating.

What has been the most frustrating aspect of your job?

Trying to introduce my brand to as many outlets as possible. individuals, boutiques, department stores, trunk shows.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Most of my inspiration comes from my surroundings. Whether it is the mountains and lakes of Vermont, the beaches of Montauk, the crowded streets of Soho, the bridges overlooking DUMBO in Brooklyn or the brownstones in Park Slope.  My designs all come from the lines and materials I see around me

What is the company’s best-selling item(s)?

There are a few. The Lucky Six necklace was one of my first designs and has been worn by celebrities like Lori Stokes of Eyewitness News on ABC and Shaun Robinson the host of Access Hollywood, Mally Roncal – Celebrity make-up artist and owner of MallyBeauty.Com as well as fashion forward fashionistas of all walks of life. Recently my Black and Gold collection has been very popular

Why do you think women love your jewelry/handbags?

Each woman is unique, and each of my pieces is unique.  Each woman is special and each one of my pieces is special, so I think it enhances a woman’s sense of confidence and individuality. My designs set trends, and so do the men and women who use them.

Leather Small Clutch Bag by Barbara Campbell, $150.00

What sets you apart from other designers?

No two of my designs are the same. Each one is individually handmade in Brooklyn or Montauk. My materials are all natural and one-of-a-kind

What is the key to your success?

I am totally dedicated to my business. I love to design accessories and I think it shows in my products. I continue to insure that my products are of the highest quality, unique and present a great value to the customer.

What are your future plans for the business?

I want to expand my brand recognition, sell my pieces in more outlets, and continue to learn techniques that will enhance my designs.

Do you have any advice for young women looking to start their own jewelry design/handbag business?

It’s a difficult business, lots of competition. So it’s important to be true to yourself and your designs, work hard, and learn as much as you can each day.

Vintage Button Ring, $75.00

Are there any special promotions going on now that you would like to highlight?

I will be doing 2 trunk shows in Bloomingdale’s Soho on April 21 and 22 and May 26.

Please visit me there, but if you can’t attend, go to my website, BarabaraCampbellNYC.com and look for new designs and specials.

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