We officially launched the company December 2012 and 2013 was our first full year for MARYLAI New York. Looking back at this year, we are so thankful for everyone that supported and showed love for our brand. We want to take this opportunity to reflect back on the highlights from this year.
We started the collection to create handbags that were made for the modern creative women that appreciates design and details. Our first retail store that picked us up saw exactly that. The lovely couple that owns Verve NYC on Bleecker Street said they loved the freshness in our collection. The more we talked, the more we fell in love with their story. They have been around since the 90’s and have carried and launched independent designers such as Rebecca Minkoff, Christopher Kon, and others. They believe in finding talent to keep fresh products in their store.
Getting the phone call from Independent Handbag Designer Awards announcing us as a finalist was the best news ever. There was so much excitement and nervousness leading up to the Award Ceremony in June. We met many talented designers the day of the event and being called up as the winner of the Best Handmade Handbag was like a dream come true. Getting a feature on the September Issue of InStyle magazine was the cherry on top. Thank you HBD101 for providing brand awareness and recognition to our brand with the IHDA.
One thing lead to another and we were on a flight to Las Vegas for the WWD Magic Week. American Express Open had chosen three handbag designers to be part of a live handbag competition where each designer creates a handbag from sketch to final product. We were given 2.5 days to perform in front of the audience walking through the Convention Center, and what an experience! Being chosen as the winner of the Amex Open Rising Star Award was not only a highlight of 2013 but a highlight of my life. I am truly honored and thankful to American Express Open for creating a platform where small businesses can shine doing what they love to do.
Keeping the momentum going we had our first Trunk Show during Sept NYFW at the Pamela Gonzales store in Soho. We were also part of Nolcha Fashion Week and showed our products in the Fashion Lounge. It’s such a privilege to be a brand based out of New York where all of these opportunities are at our fingertips. In October, we stood on 5th Avenue in front of the Henri Bendel Store for the Open See Designer Casting Call. After 3 hours of waiting on line and less than 15 mins to show the collection, we were chosen to participate in one of their trunk shows. We are still confirming that date but will keep you posted when the date is confirmed.
There are plenty of other great moments along with challenges and lessons learned from 2013. However, we wanted to share the ‘Best Of 2013’ for now, and we are especially happy for all the great people we have met this year. Being a small business is not easy and we are still a very small fish in a very large pond, but we will continue to work hard and dream big. Cheers to bringing on 2014, and lots of love from the MARYLAI team!