Mother-Daughter Team Launch Lovard Handbag Line That Seeks To Empower Women

Lee Gunn Falchi and Kate Falchi, the creators of LovardNick Steever Many people resist going into the family business, but when you’re handbag designer Kate Falchi, and you’re from a designer legacy, that concept might become a bit more enticing. Kate and her mother, Lee Gunn Falchi, are a team with some serious street cred…

Mother-Daughter Team Launch Lovard Handbag Line That Seeks To Empower Women


Lee Gunn Falchi and Kate Falchi, the creators ofLovardNick Steever

Many people resist going into the family business, but when you’re handbag designer Kate Falchi, and you’re from a designer legacy, that concept might become a bit more enticing. Kate and her mother, Lee Gunn Falchi, are a team with some serious street cred and they’ve now teamed up to create their new brand, Lovard. They have worked a collective forty years with traditional luxury retailers and family-run factories. The patriarch of the Falchi dynasty was Kate’s father, the late handbag and accessories designer Carlos Falchi. The iconic designer made accessories for the likes of Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Patti Smith, Elvis, and  Miles Davis. His luxurious and timeless patchwork handbags are still sold in such quintessential high-end stores as Saks and Henri Bendel and appear among the permanent collection of the costume institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kate worked with her parents for years and always knew she wanted to follow in his footsteps, getting her graduate degree in apparel at Parsons. Now the mother-daughter duo has announced the launch of their brandLovard. Lovard is a direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand crafted in New York City that focuses on using premium materials to construct bags that fit a woman’s personal style, with custom details but without the high markup of department stores. Falchi emphasizes that the similarities between Lovard and Falchi Handbags end with sharing the same last name. The two brands are starkly different in both style and ideology. Whereas the Carlos Falchi Brand was characterized by loud animal prints, colors and slouchier designs, Lovard is in the market of better basics made for the woman withitbagfatigue. The Falchi women have strived to make the pricing reasonable, and the look personal, it is clear when speaking with them that they have observed and deeply considered the needs of women they know and are being thoughtful about creating something accessible. They have designed this line with the women in their lives serving as inspiration, using their experiences of the past to drive Lovard forward. Each piece is considerate towards a woman’s needs, whether it be traveling light or being versatile for different events.

Risa Sarachan: Can you tell me why you chose the name the brand Lovard?

Kate Flachi:We were looking for a name that was familiar because there’s a vintage quality about the whole brand. We wanted to keep it personal but, also, that name evokes the look, and just from a purely aesthetic standpoint, I liked how it was symmetrical regarding the visual. It really looks good printed and is memorable.

Lee Gunn Falchi:Kate and I made lists of names that would conjure up women of independence and strength. We went over family names. My mother, Kate’s grandmother, Kay, was the strongest woman we ever knew. So, to honor her, we chose Lovard from her maternal side of her family.

Violin Bag with Tan Leather and Gold HardwareNick Steever

Sarachan: In a saturated market what sets Lovard apart from the rest?

Kate Falchi:We are the very first direct to consumer, luxury bag brand. You know, we worked with all the big guys like Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus for a long time, learning all the tricks of the trade and mastering the craftsmanship. We ran our own factory, which was highly unusual. So we’re using all that fantastic knowledge and our relationships with family-owned factories and tanneries to deliver a luxurious product that meets the standards that we had before, but we are offering it at direct to consumer prices. Also, we are trying to harness the idea of a forever bag versus a trendyit bag. It’s not something you’re going to get sick of after a season, and you’re not going to splurge and spend your entire paycheck either. We make products that give you long-term satisfaction in a world that is flooded with a lot of short-term gratification.

Lee Gunn Falchi:The Lovard collection was designed to satisfy women’s need for just the right handbag for all the occasions in her life. The designs are tailored, with all the necessary pockets and credit card sleeves, to protect your valuables. No need for a wallet. And with offerings of charms, tassels, and letters topersonalize the bag, allowing each customer to express her style truly.  Also, we offer convenience. They can get a bag that is just for them and their brand with the click of a finger and have it sent right to their door. No markups, luxury for less, with no line to wait on.

Sarachan: Since Lovard is one of the first of its kind as a luxury pedigree delivered at direct to consumer prices, did you have to unlearn some things from working with the Falchi Brand in the past?

Lee Gunn Falchi:The focus on developing the brand first was a tremendous change in thinking. Carlos had a clearly defined aesthetic, which evolved and responded to the changing direction in fashion, every season. Now, there is a question out there that everyone is attempting to answer: is there a direction in fashion, or a free for all? Anything and everything goes. Kate and I have talked about perceived value, especially since 2008. We wanted to be able to reach clients who wanted a luxury handbag but at a price that was affordable. We found that it was not possible without direct sales on the internet.

Resist Flat Black Leather Clutch with Gold HardwareNick Steever

Sarachan: How does the brand support women?

Kate Falchi:We love women, we are women. It was extremely important for us that this brand would be used as a vehicle to advance and propel women. That is at the core of our being. Every single business has an opportunity to do something meaningful beyond the superficial, so for us, it’s imperative for us to see the success of other women. So we partnered with the1,000 Dreams Fund, which helps raise money for college educations or school visits. A lot of underprivileged women don’t have someone to drive them to college visits. Can you imagine having to decide on a college having never gotten to visit them? So, we loved the various ways in which this organization helps women. It’s not so mono-focused that you’re just throwing money at people for college, it’s specifically about how they get to college and funding what their dream is.

Sarachan: What’s the creative process like for you two working together? Who handles what?

Kate Falchi:We’re very used to working together because we’ve done it forever. I would argue our aesthetic 100% aligns which makes the entire creative process very easy. My instincts are her instincts. We are also always brutally honest with each other. We listen to each other, and I think that’s the key to any good partnership. My mother is a tastemaker, so it makes the whole process exciting because she has such a vast knowledge of fashion history and previous trends to draw upon. I find this to be an argument for why we need to incorporate more women over age 50 into the workforce.

Lee Gunn Falchi:We have been surprised how easy it has been, how often we make the same choice. Kate has had to handle the burden of putting all of this into the photoshop and illustrator and formatting everything. It is incredibly time-consuming. Both of us are attempting to combine the very hands-on designing of our past with the computer generating design programs of today. We still want our bags to feel good in your hand.

Black Leather Purse Wallet with Gold HardwareNick Steever

Sarachan: What are some of the main lessons you learned about this industry working with Carlos Falchi?

Kate Falchi:You learn more from your failures than your successes. I think that my father was always kind and had integrity. People loved him. He showed me that it gets you more mileage in life to know and be yourself than it ever does to be purposefully hard or antagonistic.

Lee Gunn Falchi:Oh heavens, how many hours do you have? Carlos was always ready for the next thing in the market. Materials, ways of selling, you name it, he was fearless. A rule breaker. He was an adapt or die kind of guy. Sometimes the market wasn’t ready, sometimes it was. He mourned the loss of friendships in the market, as the certainty in partnerships disappeared in retailing. But he loved the emerging designers finding ways to get their goods out into the market, no longer dependent on the department stores. He loved us to go crazy with anything we wanted to try. I once made wool felt bags. Kate designed the first graffiti bags. Innovation.

Sarachan: Kate, you’ve worked with both your father and mother. Was it always your vision to keep things in the family? What’s the dynamic?

Kate Falchi:I always knew I was going to be a designer, even when my father wanted me to go into politics. When I was in second grade, during story time I drew handbags. My dad saw it and made collages out of it in python and leather for me. I always thought I’d work with my parents. It’s easy to understand why; they are geniuses. I went to Parsons to get my graduate degree for apparel design because I always knew that I was going to learn from them how to do handbags, straight from the masters.

Sarachan: Can you tell us some of the inspirations behind the unique shapes and colors of the Lovard line?

Lee Gunn Falchi:The shapes range from a rather classic clutch to Kate’s Violin Crossbody. The customer has to look at each form and be able to know how she is going to use it. What does it have to hold? Keys, lipstick, credit cards. It has to fit her lifestyle.  Women want to be freer. Less encumbered. And we made sure that there is a cascade of sizes that work for that need. And colors again were chosen for their versatility, day to night, work to vacation, casual to dressy. Our thought was that you could get away with taking one bag on vacation. It’s a modern thought.

Flat Clutch in Natural PythonNick Steever

Sarachan: Lovard doesn’t have the traditional seasonal lines. Instead, you’ve chosen to break it up into occasions and put out new stuff every week on a drop calendar. What motivated this decision?

Kate Falchi:We deliver by moment and occasion because the new consumer isn’t thinking about seasonal shopping. They have a wedding coming up and need a bag for that event. We’ve designed Lovard so you can shop, say, by the weekend, and then weekend options are already filtered for you to make it easy and helpful. We are also continually inserting newness every month so that there’s a reason to check in with us and come back to the site. We’re trying to build a community where there are dialogues and a story between the customer and us, and it’s about engaging the customer in a long-term way by really listening and giving her a reason to come back and visit us. It’s also fun for us as designers because we aren’t limited to four collections. We can deliver what feels notable and of the moment. It’s a more fluid and engaged process.

www.ShopLovard.com Instagram:@shoplovard

“>

Lee Gunn Falchi and Kate Falchi, the creators ofLovardNick Steever

Many people resist going into the family business, but when you’re handbag designer Kate Falchi, and you’re from a designer legacy, that concept might become a bit more enticing. Kate and her mother, Lee Gunn Falchi, are a team with some serious street cred and they’ve now teamed up to create their new brand, Lovard. They have worked a collective forty years with traditional luxury retailers and family-run factories. The patriarch of the Falchi dynasty was Kate’s father, the late handbag and accessories designer Carlos Falchi. The iconic designer made accessories for the likes of Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Patti Smith, Elvis, and  Miles Davis. His luxurious and timeless patchwork handbags are still sold in such quintessential high-end stores as Saks and Henri Bendel and appear among the permanent collection of the costume institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kate worked with her parents for years and always knew she wanted to follow in his footsteps, getting her graduate degree in apparel at Parsons. Now the mother-daughter duo has announced the launch of their brandLovard. Lovard is a direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand crafted in New York City that focuses on using premium materials to construct bags that fit a woman’s personal style, with custom details but without the high markup of department stores. Falchi emphasizes that the similarities between Lovard and Falchi Handbags end with sharing the same last name. The two brands are starkly different in both style and ideology. Whereas the Carlos Falchi Brand was characterized by loud animal prints, colors and slouchier designs, Lovard is in the market of better basics made for the woman withitbagfatigue. The Falchi women have strived to make the pricing reasonable, and the look personal, it is clear when speaking with them that they have observed and deeply considered the needs of women they know and are being thoughtful about creating something accessible. They have designed this line with the women in their lives serving as inspiration, using their experiences of the past to drive Lovard forward. Each piece is considerate towards a woman’s needs, whether it be traveling light or being versatile for different events.

Risa Sarachan: Can you tell me why you chose the name the brand Lovard?

Kate Flachi:We were looking for a name that was familiar because there’s a vintage quality about the whole brand. We wanted to keep it personal but, also, that name evokes the look, and just from a purely aesthetic standpoint, I liked how it was symmetrical regarding the visual. It really looks good printed and is memorable.

Lee Gunn Falchi:Kate and I made lists of names that would conjure up women of independence and strength. We went over family names. My mother, Kate’s grandmother, Kay, was the strongest woman we ever knew. So, to honor her, we chose Lovard from her maternal side of her family.

Violin Bag with Tan Leather and Gold HardwareNick Steever

Sarachan: In a saturated market what sets Lovard apart from the rest?

Kate Falchi:We are the very first direct to consumer, luxury bag brand. You know, we worked with all the big guys like Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus for a long time, learning all the tricks of the trade and mastering the craftsmanship. We ran our own factory, which was highly unusual. So we’re using all that fantastic knowledge and our relationships with family-owned factories and tanneries to deliver a luxurious product that meets the standards that we had before, but we are offering it at direct to consumer prices. Also, we are trying to harness the idea of a forever bag versus a trendyit bag. It’s not something you’re going to get sick of after a season, and you’re not going to splurge and spend your entire paycheck either. We make products that give you long-term satisfaction in a world that is flooded with a lot of short-term gratification.

Lee Gunn Falchi:The Lovard collection was designed to satisfy women’s need for just the right handbag for all the occasions in her life. The designs are tailored, with all the necessary pockets and credit card sleeves, to protect your valuables. No need for a wallet. And with offerings of charms, tassels, and letters topersonalize the bag, allowing each customer to express her style truly.  Also, we offer convenience. They can get a bag that is just for them and their brand with the click of a finger and have it sent right to their door. No markups, luxury for less, with no line to wait on.

Sarachan: Since Lovard is one of the first of its kind as a luxury pedigree delivered at direct to consumer prices, did you have to unlearn some things from working with the Falchi Brand in the past?

Lee Gunn Falchi:The focus on developing the brand first was a tremendous change in thinking. Carlos had a clearly defined aesthetic, which evolved and responded to the changing direction in fashion, every season. Now, there is a question out there that everyone is attempting to answer: is there a direction in fashion, or a free for all? Anything and everything goes. Kate and I have talked about perceived value, especially since 2008. We wanted to be able to reach clients who wanted a luxury handbag but at a price that was affordable. We found that it was not possible without direct sales on the internet.

Resist Flat Black Leather Clutch with Gold HardwareNick Steever

Sarachan: How does the brand support women?

Kate Falchi:We love women, we are women. It was extremely important for us that this brand would be used as a vehicle to advance and propel women. That is at the core of our being. Every single business has an opportunity to do something meaningful beyond the superficial, so for us, it’s imperative for us to see the success of other women. So we partnered with the1,000 Dreams Fund, which helps raise money for college educations or school visits. A lot of underprivileged women don’t have someone to drive them to college visits. Can you imagine having to decide on a college having never gotten to visit them? So, we loved the various ways in which this organization helps women. It’s not so mono-focused that you’re just throwing money at people for college, it’s specifically about how they get to college and funding what their dream is.

Sarachan: What’s the creative process like for you two working together? Who handles what?

Kate Falchi:We’re very used to working together because we’ve done it forever. I would argue our aesthetic 100% aligns which makes the entire creative process very easy. My instincts are her instincts. We are also always brutally honest with each other. We listen to each other, and I think that’s the key to any good partnership. My mother is a tastemaker, so it makes the whole process exciting because she has such a vast knowledge of fashion history and previous trends to draw upon. I find this to be an argument for why we need to incorporate more women over age 50 into the workforce.

Lee Gunn Falchi:We have been surprised how easy it has been, how often we make the same choice. Kate has had to handle the burden of putting all of this into the photoshop and illustrator and formatting everything. It is incredibly time-consuming. Both of us are attempting to combine the very hands-on designing of our past with the computer generating design programs of today. We still want our bags to feel good in your hand.

Black Leather Purse Wallet with Gold HardwareNick Steever

Sarachan: What are some of the main lessons you learned about this industry working with Carlos Falchi?

Kate Falchi:You learn more from your failures than your successes. I think that my father was always kind and had integrity. People loved him. He showed me that it gets you more mileage in life to know and be yourself than it ever does to be purposefully hard or antagonistic.

Lee Gunn Falchi:Oh heavens, how many hours do you have? Carlos was always ready for the next thing in the market. Materials, ways of selling, you name it, he was fearless. A rule breaker. He was an adapt or die kind of guy. Sometimes the market wasn’t ready, sometimes it was. He mourned the loss of friendships in the market, as the certainty in partnerships disappeared in retailing. But he loved the emerging designers finding ways to get their goods out into the market, no longer dependent on the department stores. He loved us to go crazy with anything we wanted to try. I once made wool felt bags. Kate designed the first graffiti bags. Innovation.

Sarachan: Kate, you’ve worked with both your father and mother. Was it always your vision to keep things in the family? What’s the dynamic?

Kate Falchi:I always knew I was going to be a designer, even when my father wanted me to go into politics. When I was in second grade, during story time I drew handbags. My dad saw it and made collages out of it in python and leather for me. I always thought I’d work with my parents. It’s easy to understand why; they are geniuses. I went to Parsons to get my graduate degree for apparel design because I always knew that I was going to learn from them how to do handbags, straight from the masters.

Sarachan: Can you tell us some of the inspirations behind the unique shapes and colors of the Lovard line?

Lee Gunn Falchi:The shapes range from a rather classic clutch to Kate’s Violin Crossbody. The customer has to look at each form and be able to know how she is going to use it. What does it have to hold? Keys, lipstick, credit cards. It has to fit her lifestyle.  Women want to be freer. Less encumbered. And we made sure that there is a cascade of sizes that work for that need. And colors again were chosen for their versatility, day to night, work to vacation, casual to dressy. Our thought was that you could get away with taking one bag on vacation. It’s a modern thought.

Flat Clutch in Natural PythonNick Steever

Sarachan: Lovard doesn’t have the traditional seasonal lines. Instead, you’ve chosen to break it up into occasions and put out new stuff every week on a drop calendar. What motivated this decision?

Kate Falchi:We deliver by moment and occasion because the new consumer isn’t thinking about seasonal shopping. They have a wedding coming up and need a bag for that event. We’ve designed Lovard so you can shop, say, by the weekend, and then weekend options are already filtered for you to make it easy and helpful. We are also continually inserting newness every month so that there’s a reason to check in with us and come back to the site. We’re trying to build a community where there are dialogues and a story between the customer and us, and it’s about engaging the customer in a long-term way by really listening and giving her a reason to come back and visit us. It’s also fun for us as designers because we aren’t limited to four collections. We can deliver what feels notable and of the moment. It’s a more fluid and engaged process.

www.ShopLovard.com Instagram:@shoplovard

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