Monica Botkier is making her move.
After 11 years in the contemporary handbag space, the designer is renaming her company Botkier New York, signaling not only the business’ geographical roots, but a number of changes, including a new showroom, its first advertising campaign and a revamped Web site.
“It’s time to bulk it up,” said Botkier. “We’ve been around for so long that I think people expect it of us.”
Botkier New York’s changes follow its 2013 acquisition by Tony Cheng, who serves as president and also owns Showroom 35.
“We want to stay true to what Monica has done over the years,” said Cheng. “We’re going to continue what she’s doing but make sure that everything is funded properly and that the back end is running smoothly.”
Added Botkier, “I’ve done everything that I feel I can do on my own as an independent.”
The brand unveiled a taste of its re-branding with the recent relaunch of Botkier.com. Designed by Tony King & Partners, the e-commerce site is laser-focused on social media. Product shots are interspersed with user-generated street-style images featuring the same style and uploaded from Instragram using the hashtag #Botkier. Posts with the most “likes” on the social media site are moved to the top of the gallery. The site also features a new lifestyle blog, Botkier Street. Sample posts include a tutorial on how to braid hair and an on-the-scene recap of May’s Coachella festival.
The site will also highlight the brand’s first multichannel advertising campaign, which makes its debut this month. The campaign features model Meghan Collison and was photographed by Paola Kudacki in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
“When you create the product and you are imagining it on the girl, it’s really satisfying to see it all together,” said Botkier. “The campaign kicks it up a notch and we are able to speak directly to the Botkier girl. It’s an easy way to tell the customer that the brand is amping up.” The campaign will run in Vogue, Vanity Fair and on NYTimes.com, among various other print and Web outlets.
To keep up with the brand-wide changes, the designer will update her handbags for fall with the introduction of higher-quality imported leathers, such as Brazilian deerskin, bubble lamb and goatskin, done in several new silhouettes. Prices will range from $98 to $498. For Holiday, Botkier will expand further with a new tier within the collection call Exclusives, featuring small runs of styles at a slightly higher price point.
Botkier aims to eventually expand into other accessory categories. She introduced shoes in spring 2008 to celebrate the brand’s fifth year and the category lasted for four seasons. “Ideally, we’d love to expand into more of a lifestyle brand, but we don’t want to grow too fast too quick,” said Cheng. “We want to make sure that we grow on an organic basis.”
Botkier added that while no solid timeline is in place, the brand hopes to be global in the next five years. “We do have a global presence now, but in a very indie way,” she said. “Now, we’re solidifying our own core before going into other categories and continuing to create the dialogue with the consumer. Eventually we’ll be global in a more significant way and anchor the brand in a more important way. It’s about bringing an independent, New York-born-and-bred brand into much more a global, larger-scale brand.”