How She Did It: Career Tips From Luxury Handbag Designer Barbara Bonner

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Barbara Bonner is a brand that just screams ‘luxury’, they are the bags of choice of the stylish elite, are super wearable, structured and even in some cases, playful and cute. But we want to know more about the woman behind the brand, Barbara Bonner herself. An Italian whose grandmother was a circus performer and grandfather was a diamond cutter, she is infinitely interesting and passionate about reflecting the modern woman with her designs. Here are some super fashionable career tips from Barbara Bonner!

‘My maternal grandmother was a circus performer, she was riding the motorbike on the circle of fire. She was the first woman to have a driving licence in Italy.’

 

Style gurus like Olivia Palermo and  Poppy Delevingne wear your bags; did you ever dare to dream that your bags would become this popular?  

Honestly no I didn’t but probably that’s why It happened. I was and I still am more focused in doing well, what I love to do, designing and producing iconic luxury pieces and I guess that naturally, on the way, somebody noticed and appreciated the strong passion that I put into every single creation. I have to add that what makes me extremely happy is to walk in a city that maybe is not my home town and bump into a girl that is wearing one of my bags.

Who inspired you to create Barbara Bonner? 

My maternal grandmother was a circus performer, she was riding the motorbike on the circle of fire. She was the first woman to have a driving licence in Italy. She was a brave, modern, loving, ironic, and sophisticated woman. I spent a lot of my time when I was a child with her and I guess she deeply influenced who I am today. She is not here with me now but I like to think she is very proud of me!

From where/who do you get your inspiration from for your designs?  

Everywhere and constantly. My brain never stops thinking.

Which bag of your current collection would you consider as the ultimate must-have bag for Career Girls?  

The Ellie tote in black for the day, a roomy daily bag with an indie-boho twist and the iconic Lilith bag for the evening.

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‘I had some crazy moments like when I was breastfeeding my daughter hidden behind a fringe curtain during a trade show in Paris.’

 

What is the proudest moment in your career?

Two season ago, during a selling campaign, when suddenly I started to get orders from Worldwide department stores buyers. It was a very exciting moment in my career, I was really feeling that something was changing and actually it did happen!

What was the craziest moment in your career? 

At the very beginning , when I founded my company in 2009 I also discovered that I was pregnant. I never quit working of course, but I had some crazy moments like when I was breastfeeding my daughter hidden behind a fringe curtain during a trade show in Paris.

What’s been the most challenging part so far? And how did you handle it?

 I’m a creative person at first but in the modern age, being creative is not enough to build a brand, you need to be a manager not just of your company but of yourself. I need to keep mixing very rigorous moments that are needed to properly manage my business with more relaxing time that helps me during the design process. It’s a quite complex balance to manage. Meditation, yoga and sport helped me. Also some good ten hours sleep every night.

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‘I’m a creative person at first but in the modern age, being creative is not enough to build a brand, you need to be a manager not just of your company but of yourself’

 

What career or life advice would you give to ambitious girls from all over the world? 

Get specific about your goals and keep them visible. Keep acting in the direction until you get where you want to be!

Where do you see Barbara Bonner in 10 years?

 I have a dream, have a full clothing and accessory line with my name. Stay tuned!

Do you have any words to live by or a favourite quote?  

The best thing you can wear is your skin used to be embossed in each single bag at the inception of the brand. I still think it’s a good quote to keep in mind!

 

‘The best thing you can wear is your skin used to be embossed in each single bag at the inception of the brand’