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Vince Camuto is turning another corner in accessories and entering the handbag market.

This story first appeared in the December 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The industry veteran is launching a bag collection under the Vince Camuto label that will be produced by The Betesh Group in a licensed partnership.

The bags join a shoe line under the Vince Camuto name, which is owned and operated by the Camuto Group. The Camuto Group holds the footwear licenses for BCBG Max Azria, Lucky Brand Jeans and the master license for the Jessica Simpson brand.

Retailing from $170 to $280, Vince Camuto handbags will hit Nordstrom, Dillard’s, Macy’s and Kitson for spring. Camuto estimated the line would do more than $5 million in its first year at retail.

“I consider myself a merchant and I don’t feel restricted to any one category, although I do love shoes,” said Camuto, founder and chief executive officer of the Camuto Group. “But we took a look at the market and thought this was the right time to make bags that connect to our footwear. We pride ourselves on perceived value. Not everyone needs to carry a bag that costs $1,500. We felt there was a real opportunity at this price point and we’re putting everything we have into it.”

Vince Camuto handbags offer an array of shapes in soft marble leather, ranging from large shoppers to smaller shoulder bags and clutches. The line features details such as chain mesh hardware, fringe detailing and tassel enclosures. Each bag includes a large insignia of the Camuto family crest, some in the shape of perforated leather or affixed to a hangtag.

In launching bags, Camuto is one step closer to establishing a complete lifestyle brand, with eyewear and jewelry lines to follow. He also is refocusing the shoe line he launched in 2006, having lowered prices to around $100 from $150 and increasing the channels of distribution to include Macy’s, Dillard’s and Lord & Taylor.

“We saw a need and an opening,” Camuto said. “So we took time to build up our teams and now it’s time to have our own name with our own heritage. People are looking not only for something unique, but for something genuine, but we have to measure up to it. Today’s woman knows exactly what she wants and we want to give it to her.”

Camuto plans to open stores in New York and the U.S. over the next three years, joining his roster of shops throughout Korea and the Middle East. The Vince Camuto e-commerce site,, went live last week.

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