A woman can never have too many handbags, according to Crystal Kodada.
Growing up, her mother would purchase her designer handbags, like Coach, Dooney Bourke, Louis Vuitton. There was something about the thrill of a new handbag that resonated with Kodada — from the fresh scent of brand new leather to the way she could easily pair the accessory with jeans and a tee.
“Every woman needs a handbag,” Kodada said. “It’s a great accessory to show the world that you understand fashion without having to go nuts with clothing. If you have a great bag, you’re already all put together.”
Three years ago, Kodada started a business, where she could share her passion for the beloved accessory with other women. She now designs her own quality handbags that are sustainable, functional and fashionable — all of the bags are made inside her sewing studio in New York City.
One element you’ll notice with all her bags is the strategic pocket placement. The limitless tote, her bestseller, features four pockets in the front, two secret slip pockets in the back and two zip pockets inside. The tote itself takes 15 hours to make by hand.
“(Women) feel like their bag has become their personal assistant,” she said. “There’s a home for everything — your keys, sunglasses, cell phone, lip gloss, gum, change, metro card. It helps empower women too because they’re so organized.”
Kodada’s interest in the fashion comes as no surprise.
Both her parents met and fell in love at the Fashion Institute of Technology — her mother studied fashion design, her father production design.
She shortly followed in their footsteps, studying accessory design at FIT. Right before graduating, she was offered a job in New York designing handbags for big names, like designer Nicole Miller, Jessica Simpson, Lucky, and Botkier.
Other functional features her handbags contain include a light lining on the inside so women can see everything inside their bag without having to dig, and slightly raised studs on the bottom of the bag, which Kodada refers to as “feet” to protect bags from dirtying.
Kodada usually rolls out a new design every year. Her newest design this year is the invincible clutch, which comes with a built in glove so that women can securely always have it on hand.
“It’s really different, and it’s getting such a strong reaction in Asbury, especially because there’s so many great bars and restaurants. The clutch is really fun for them to go around town with and hang out.”
The inspiration behind Kodada’s handbags usually comes from vintage items — whether it’s bags, clothing, furniture or architecture. She likes taking the details and shapes and transforming it into something new. Many of her bags also mix feminine details with harder, rocker elements.
“I don’t want to be doing what’s already out there,” she said. “I want to be ahead. I want to be the trendsetter.”