Marcia Sherrill, co-founder of the luxury handbag firm Kleinberg Sherrill, is a survivor.
After a divorce from her business partner and husband, William Kleinberg, in which she exited the company and struggled to restart her life, Sherrill is trying to build a pair of handbag lines — Sherrill Ltd. and Anabelle by Marcia Sherrill (named for her 15-year-old daughter) — positioned at opposite ends of the price spectrum.
And she’s doing it by following her own instincts and raising “money the old-fashioned way, through friends and family,” she said.
Sherrill Ltd., a high-end exotic-skins collection, launches alongside an accompanying e-commerce site today. The bags come in 21 different styles and are each packaged in a carved wooden box with an etched glass window. They are “phenomenally expensive,” Sherrill said, starting at $20,000.
Each bag features hardware in the outline of a compass that is made with 18-karat gold.
“There’s no point in going back and not doing it exactly the best,” she said.
In addition, Sherrill requires a kind of background check on buyers, who must fill out a form online outlining their charitable good deeds. “I’m not playing,” Sherrill said, explaining she established the practice to give back to those who contribute to the well-being of others.
Her other line, Anabelle by Marcia Sherrill, begun in 2008, is a response to “mass affluent style…something affordable but still well-designed,” Sherrill explained. All Anabelle handbags retail for less than $100, and include 97 styles in different patterns, featuring pineapples, in nylon, canvas and sateen. The bags are sold in specialty boutiques such as Jennifer Reale Boutique in Plymouth, Mass., and Lerebours Antiques NYC, as well as on the brand’s e-commerce site (anabellebymarciasherrill.com).
The positioning in both high- and low-priced markets is where Sherrill is most comfortable.
“The great middle is where the fight is being fought, and I don’t want to be there ever again,” she said. Sherrill hopes to grow both brands domestically in a few department stores, with a primary focus on specialty stores and the company’s e-commerce sites.
“This is exactly where I want to be,” Sherrill said.