Q&A with Handbag Designer Danielle Nicole

While my friends known me as a makeup and skincare expert, they also know how much I love shopping for designer handbags and cosmetic cases (you can never have enough!). And lucky for me (and my wallet), I discovered a fabulous international handbag designer who grew up in the DC area (finally, more fashion bragging rights for this city). 

Danielle Nicole recalls making handbags in her dorm room at FIT like it was yesterday. Flash forward just a few years later and the young designer has launched her own line of satchels, totes and clutches that are not only sophisticated and versatile, but affordable too (I’m talking around $100 or less!). Here, the handbag savant chats with me about inspiration for her summer/pre-fall line, growing up in DC and her favorite beauty products.

DCShopGirl: What sparked your interest in designing handbags?

Danielle Nicole: “I’ve always had an interest in designing. I went to college at FIT and studied abroad at all the fashion houses in Europe [Fendi, Prada and YSL, to name a few]. I learned how to construct handbags and clothing at that time. I started making bags out of my dorm room when I was interning at Bergdorf Goodman. A cosmetic buyer noticed my designs and asked me to create a line of cosmetic bags exclusive to Bergdorf’s. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”

DCShopGirl: Tell us about your inspiration for your summer/pre-fall line.

DN: “It’s all about summer time and being at the beach. My favorite is the St. Tropez collection. Our target customer is anywhere from 25 to 35 or 40. It’s really about what I’m looking for because I’m a consumer myself. Easy, functional and can go from day to night”

DCShopGirl: Growing up in the DC area, where did you like to go and shop?

DN:Sassanova is my favorite store. My handbags are carried there. I bought my first bikini at South Moon Under in Ocean City and it’s always been a go-to. I love shopping in Georgetown; Cusp and Urban Chic are great boutiques.”

DCShopGirl: What’s in your handbag right now? What are your favorite beauty products?

DN: “My Danielle Nicole wallet (we just launched the Davina wallet), my iPad, the latest Women’s Wear Daily, Tom Ford glasses, a bottle of water, and Tic Tacs. Everyone knows me to have a fresh manicure so I have Essie’s Ballet Slippers nail polish. I went to Sephora recently and was looking for eyeshadow. I’m obsessed with Urban Decay’s neutral palette. It’s perfect because I can switch it during the day and at night just add a color. I also love Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. Bobbi Brown lip gloss in Petal is a staple. I like to keep it natural.”

Danielle Nicole: In her handbag