Emerging Designer Spotlight: Sevda
Sevda Mutlu is not just a talented emerging London-based handbag designer, but a strategic one. Her line SEVDA consists of timeless investment pieces combined with sophisticated silhouettes in tasteful splashes of color each season. With stockists that include, Harvey Nichols, The Private Space in London and online stores like Dia Boutique, she is gaining traction and building her brand through larger outlets while also focusing on custom pieces for private clients.
I first met Sevda during her first visit to New York when she was a finalist for the 2010 Independent Handbag Designer Awards in the Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design category. I keep up with Sevda on Twitter and saw that she was making a trip to the States and was intrigued by her desire to establish her brand in the U.S. market.
Her first appearance was at Bloomingdales in New York for a trunk show earlier in 2011. Here, she was able to get exposure, meet customers and understand sales and merchandising dynamics of a new retailer. The latter part of her year has been filled with market research and also aligning herself with like-minded partners in the luxury and entertainment industries. From trips to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, she says, "I was able to examine and visualize first hand the products and placement and presentation" of stores where she could see her collection and look outside of her market for inspiration and motivation.
Sevda is also very customer-driven. On a intimate level, her bespoke pieces allow her to understand the needs of her clients through private appointments which also act like a mini focus groups as she takes their feedback and incorporates it into the SEVDA line. Her marketing strategy takes customers on an experience where she connects the brand with their lifestyle. By using various social media platforms, Sevda has also been able to foster relationships online, and when she can, connect in-person, as she recently did on a trip to Los Angeles where she was able to meet the winner of her Twitter contest.
Sevda's approach to developing her brand is smart, and as she calls it, "ever-evolving." In a time of fast fashion and the pressure to be first to launch for everything, her strategic, paced out plan of market and consumer research along with finding the right partnerships is one to follow. We're looking forward to seeing the SEVDA brand in the U.S. market and beyond, and how her vision of iconic, luxury handbags is brought to life.