It all began with a few girlfriends, inspired conversation, a bottle of white, and a mission on a jet plane….
Life, love, and fashion are always featured topics when the girls get together. Exuberant declarations of, “You will never guess where I got this!”, and answers like, “a great little shop in the East Village”, is not unusual. We are always on a quest for something amazing, different, and QUALITY—but with handbags, it’s a real challenge-—not because there is a LACK of product, but quite the opposite. There seems to be a plague of mass-everything with little focus on quality and unique style. Even top fashion houses are cutting corners (juicy tidbit on that later). This sad truth got the conversation churning one saturday night, and we quickly discovered we were disenchanted fashionistas with questions flowing faster than the chardonnay!—What happened to quality-over-quantity? Is individuality lost in a sea of knockoffs and reality TV? Shouldn’t a handbag upwards of $400 be made in the USA, use luxury Italian leather, be a unique design, provide great customer service, AND have a lifetime warranty? We want all these things, but weren’t getting it. It came down to dropping upwards of $1000 on a top label, or up to $600 on a “Made in China” handbag. We weren’t thrilled with either.
In the mist of proclamations, contemplations, and frustration—I pledged to be the one to take the leap and create the brand we desired. There was a void in the market after all, and I was going be the one to “unvoid” it! I enlisted my sister Paula to be my partner, and though neither of us had any manufacturing or design experience, we had plenty of passion, a laser-focused goal, an eye for design, and just the right amount of crazy—so we hopped on a plane headed to the land of pasta and sexy-well-dressed men to begin our mission—Ciao Italia!
The real truth that made us nearly choke on our gelato. Oh yes, there’s more.
Ah, Italia! We finally arrived in Florence—excited, thrilled, and anxious. We downed a couple of espresso’s, then headed out to begin our quest and meet with the tanneries. WOW. Leather heaven! GORGEOUS. Price tags? Ok, they were a little scary (we’re talking Euro here), but we wanted quality right? No problem. We powered on—collected business cards, gathered packets of swatches, met with factories, and filled our brains with all the ins-and-outs of the handbag manufacturing business. We were walking sponges soaked with handbag knowledge and REALLY strong espresso. We were feeling confident at this point. We were like one of the big guys now—until we learned how many of the “big guys” do it……
Now here comes that dirty little secret the reps let us in on. You know, the one that nearly had us choking on our gelato? So, what’s this dirty secret? It’s the old “bait and switch” routine. Um, what? I shall explain—apparently, some luxury brands (ones you know well) manufacture their goods in China, although their label says “Made in Italy”. How? Easy. They construct nearly the entire bag in China, then have the production shipped to Italy just for some final stitching or to attach a label—and that’s it! As long as the product is shipped out of Italy and a very minor part of the manufacturing is done there, then it’s legal. Unethical? You decide. Clearly not all luxury brands do this, but let’s just say enough of them do. After this info reached our then naive ears, articles on this practice have been published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, as well as the LA Times. On a good note, this only further reinforced our commitment of transparency and USA craftsmanship. You’re welcome.
After a couple years of research, planning, and setup, Gida Bavari launched with a commitment to “never compromise”—featuring luxury materials, NYC manufacturing, unique designs, superior customer service, free leather swatches, a lifetime repair warranty, plus more—-and yes, all for a very fair price. True. Gida Bavari rocks.
Gida Bavari collections have been featured in Instyle, Lucky, People Stylewatch, Time Out New York, Health, WWD, and others.
If other’s can’t or won’t do it, how can we? Find out about our “Mission (not-so) Impossible (but not-so-easy)”. Here’s How We Do It.