Dallas designer's new luxury handbags marry form and function
Sarah White is no newbie to leather goods. For more than 25 years she’s worked for names such as Liz Claiborne and Cole Haan, and most recently she served as senior vice president of Fossil, where she grew the business to over $450 million in global sales revenue.
Frustrated by a dearth of handbags suiting her own needs, White recently decided to launch an eponymous collection of functional, versatile bags in classic, streamlined silhouettes. Designed for creatives and influencers, the collection is, as White says, “minimal, yet warm and inviting.”
“I’ve been fortunate to work with the best tanneries, manufacturers, and artisans in the world,” says White. “Learning the intricate techniques of constructing leather goods gave me the knowledge I needed to create my collection.”
Marrying form and function, each bag is crafted of Italian leather sourced from a family-owned tannery in Biella, Italy. Branding is intentionally minimal. In lieu of flashy logo plaques, White’s initials and a set of numbers (representing a loved one’s birthday) are stamped on each bag’s exterior.
The interiors (which can often be overlooked) are cleverly designed with functional pockets and compartments. Select pieces are designed to fit perfectly inside one another, providing versatility for the woman on the go.
The price point is smart too. Clutches and small handbags start at $250, and backpacks, shoulder bags, and totes range from $495-$695.
“I want every woman who carries our bags to feel like a boss,” says White. “As an entrepreneur myself, I think it’s important to feel empowered, not only by your career, but also by how you feel in your everyday life.”
Though White began her career in the fashion mecca of New York, she’s opted to keep her namesake in Big D. It may seem a surprising choice; Dallas isn’t exactly known as a breeding ground for fashion labels. But White says she “can’t think of a better city in which to start her business.”
“I love the modern sensibility that has become a prominent part of Dallas. It’s motivational for me as a designer to be in a city of growth culturally, artistically, and commercially. The business community is very nurturing.”
As for what’s next, White intends take a slow and steady approach to expanding. She’s done the “big corporate thing” and plans to keep the Sarah White label small, so it stays “manageable, rewarding, and fun.”
“I’d like to grow the brand organically, which would enable me to continue creating great products for my customers each season,” says White. “It’s a lot of work, but I find that I can still have time for family and other things I enjoy.”