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Accessories Designer Carole Kotler Dies at 51

She started her contemporary handbag and belt business in 2002 with cofounder Ana Schoenberg.

Carole Kotler, 51, cofounder and designer of accessories firm B-Low the Belt, died Friday morning at her home in Los Angeles.

A private funeral will be held Sunday in Los Angeles.

Kotler died of peritoneal cancer after a two-year battle with the disease, said her husband, Kenneth.

She started her contemporary handbag and belt business in 2002 with cofounder Ana Schoenberg. The brand is carried at stores such as Neiman Marcus and Calypso and at online boutiques like Shopbop.com, as well as upscale boutiques worldwide. Schoenberg will continue to run the company.

Kenneth Kotler said he met his future wife on a blind date. “I asked her to marry me six weeks later. She was going on a business trip and told me ‘I’ll let you know when I get back.’ When I picked her up at the airport she was holding up a sign that said ‘Yes.’ She later told me she had packed the sign in her suitcase before leaving,” he remembered.

“I’m a lawyer and I’m pretty regimented, but Carole was a free spirit and that’s how she got me. She completed me and she was my best friend. She had an easy way about her and she made everyone comfortable,” he said.

Marcy Engleman, owner of p.r. firm Engleman & Co., described Kotler as her “best friend.”

“Carole was a beautiful, kind person,” said Engleman. “She had a rare kindness you don’t find in many people….And she had a zest for life. She also had a great sense of humor and was quite the practical joker….She also had a passion for fashion and had a real eye for fashion….Her favorite designers included Prada, Gucci and Chanel. She loved all of that stuff.”

In addition to her husband, Kotler is survived by a son, Justin Goebels.