Luxury Cars to Luxury Handbags with Jeffrey Levinson
Jeffrey worked at Ford Motor Company, Jaguar, got his M.B.A. at University of Virginia and worked as an investment banker before creating his eponymous handbag line. Members of his family are artists, so being creative isn't that far off. All of his career experiences helped him when starting his handbag line. He learned about sleek, technological design and marketing techniques while working at luxury car companies. At Jaguar, he learned about sculptural beauty in products, materials, fit, finish, etc. Without realizing it, Jeffrey got an education in fashion while at Jaguar, because the brand is very much a fashion brand. His handbag designs are made by aerospace engineers and are patent pending.
Jeffrey decided to use his name, but only after much thought. Using one's own name can be both terrifying and the ultimate motivator as there have been horror stories of people loosing their names.
Jeffrey wanted to ensure his bags would be recognizable. He loves the 3D & architectural aspect of the designs. His designs are analogous to a high end sportswear as coincidence, but certainly not by accident.
His career, like many others, was not totally mapped out. You decide opportunities as they are presented to you and looking back, all the pieces of the puzzle fit together and make perfect sense.
Graduating with an MBA, he thought he knew a lot more than he did. Rolling up his sleeves and starting his company is really where he learned to grow and run a business rather than working in finance or getting his MBA.
He focuses on three important pillars of the bag: beauty, technology and performance. Twenty hours of handwork goes into every single one of the bags. This 20 hours is before adding hand painting adding gold leaf, etc, which increases the amount of time to make each piece.
Beauty: they focused on a clean design. There are no hinges. When holding it in your hand, there is nothing to scrape against your fingers or palm. It feels smooth and is clean to look at. There are a variety of finishes and some of the matte finishes are very soft. When you open it, you see the hand-stitched, Italian lambskin in white, silver and a variety of other colors.
Beyond beauty, technology is really important. Since it is a metal case, they have worked to feature a technology that allows a phone signal in and out, that is patent pending. The bags are lightweight for their size. They engineered it from aerospace aluminum, high performance, strong materials that are used in high-end race cars & spaceships.
The level of performance and technical specificity used to create luxury cars is the same attention to detail that goes into Jeffrey Levinson handbags. The simplicity and clean beautiful form of the handbags along with the technological aspects were a deliberate and concerted effort.