SIGERSON MORRISON’S FORAY INTO HANDBAGS

Byline: Anamaria Wilson

NEW YORK — Sigerson Morrison, the NoLIta-based purveyor of chic shoes, is trying its hand at bags.
The design team of Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison have returned to their old spot at 242 Mott Street. The space, which previously housed Sigerson Morrison’s shoe collection, has been remade to showcase their new handbag and small leather goods line. Last year, the company moved its shoe store from Mott Street to a larger outpost around the corner on Prince Street. They held onto their lease on Mott, however, reluctant to give it up. “We’re kind of emotionally attached to that spot because that’s where we started,” said Sigerson.
The 350-square-foot shop was designed by Spanish architect Pablo Gallego-Picard. Though the shop is relatively minute by retail standards, Gallego-Picard managed to create a spacious feeling by texturizing one wall, painting the back wall in red lacquer and shellacking the spare, white floor.
“We stuck to our sort of simple, clean, modern philosophy, where we show off the product and don’t make such a big show of the interior,” said Sigerson.
They took a similar approach to their handbags as well, working from the same design philosophy as their shoe collection by keeping the lines simple and clean.
“Our customer wants something that’s really clean, very modern, not too fussy, not a lot of bells and whistles. A really nice solid bag that you can wear day in and day out, but at the same time is very chic and beautifully made,” said Sigerson.
The bags are a mix of fabric and leather in all shapes and sizes, from totes to clutches to carryalls. Prices range from $275 to $450 for fabric bags and $350 to $850 for leather ones. The small leather goods run from $80 for a coin holder to $335 for a zip-around travel wallet.
Currently, wholesale accounts for about 65 percent of the $10 million company’s business. The shoe line is also sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and smaller boutiques, while the handbags are being rolled out at Seibu department stores in Japan and specialty stores in the U.S. and Europe. The company is hoping the new store will do approximately $1 million in sales its first year. Sigerson Morrison also is planning to open other multiproduct stores in Tokyo and Los Angeles in 2003.
NoLIta, however, remains the team’s headquarters. “It’s off the beaten path and the people who come here are a bit more in the know. They don’t really want to hang out at Louis Vuitton,” said Sigerson. “They’re looking for something else.”

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