New York, NY – On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, BADA co-founders Velvet Lattimore and Wilbur Pack, Jr. hosted their first panel discussion “Breaking Into The Business Of Accessories”. The discussion took place at The Actors Theatre Workshop at 145 West 28 Street, 3rd Floor from 6 pm to 8 pm. The legendary Harlem retailer, Princess Jenkins, owner of The Brownstone, was moderator. Jonathan Bodrick, the dynamic style guru, reality TV sensation, and owner of JB B.O.R.N. vintage showroom and Monica Botkier, the founder and designer behind the successful Botkier New York handbag line were among the panel experts who provided the fashion industry’s veteran perspective. Small business owners, Alicia Goodwin, the jewelry designer behind Lingua Nigra, and Brandon Blackwood, owner and designer of the contemporary handbag line Brandon Blackwood New York provided an emerging designers point of view. The esteemed panelists answered questions and discussed their individual career journeys as they shared stories of success and overcoming obstacles. BADA seeks to build relationships with accessory industry stalwarts to insure the success of black and minority owned accessory businesses.
Established in 2015, the mission of Black Accessory Designers Alliance™ is to empower and elevate the profiles of accessory designers of color who typically lack the funding and network connections to run thriving business. The organization is now offering membership packages to accessory designers and all interested parties. Please visit their membership page at http://badaunite.org/membership/ for more info.
Since 1990, The Actors Theatre Workshop has operated as an award-winning non-profit theatre, community center, and educational institution that teaches educational techniques and theatre principles to adults and children from all walks of life; produces classical and contemporary plays and documentary films that maintain the highest artistic standards; and develops new dramatic works that examine the social issues of the day.
Alicia Goodwin founded the jewelry brand Lingua Nigra in 2004 after graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in both fashion design and jewelry design a year earlier. Her aesthetic is based on the types of organic, unique pieces that she and her friends want to wear everyday. Each piece is personal and meaningful and designed in her Brooklyn studio. All items are sourced and produced locally in the United States and lovingly assembled in Brooklyn, NY.
Jonathan Bodrick is the founder and owner of JB B.O.R.N., a vintage fashion showroom in Harlem, NY. The showroom, originally a boutique, emerged from Jonathan’s life-long passion for style and collecting designer vintage fashion. After he garnered attention and success selling his pieces at monthly pop-ups and parties, Jonathan opened a studio in the South Bronx. When he moved his space to west Harlem, his devoted followers began calling themselves “B.O.R.N. Again” and followed him to 125th Street. B.O.R.N. stands for Borrowed, Old, Refurbished, New. It didn’t take long for TV to come calling and in July 2014 B.O.R.N. TO STYLE debuted on the FYI Network and has been viewed in over 56 countries.
Princess Jenkins, the founder, chief visionary, and marketing strategist of The Brownstone in Harlem, has been dressing women “for the important moments in their lives” for over two decades. She is an award winning retailer with an extensive background in the fashion industry. Princess is also the founder and president of Women In The Black, a non-profit entrepreneurial organization whose mission is to help women start, build, lead, and grow their companies. She also uses her talent of building strategic partnerships to produce the annual Who’s The Boss women’s business congress in Harlem which brings together hundreds of women throughout the tri-state area. The Brownstone has been featured in “O” Magazine, Black Enterprise, and has been voted one of the most popular boutiques in the country. Princess is the recipient of the Crain’s Small Business Of The Year Award, the SBA Small Business Champion Of The Year, The 1010 Wins Radio Award, and the prestigious Brookings Institute Award for Urban Retailing. She is also featured in a permanent exhibit on entrepreneurship at the Museum of Finance on Wall Street.
Brandon Blackwood, the designer behind the namesake collection, grew up in both New York City and Tokyo. He attended Bard College, concentrating on Neuroscientific Psychology, eventually crossing over to American Studies with a focus in fashion. During college, he worked with several fashion publications & production companies. Upon graduation, he worked as a stylist and retail buyer in New York City until ultimately creating Brandon Blackwood, LLC in late 2013. Brandon spent two years designing, traveling, sourcing and finding inspiration for a luxury goods line that would combine everyday functionality and exceptional quality launching his first collection for spring 2015. The ideology behind the brand focuses on the quality production of timeless luxury goods. Working with a distinctive palette of subtle colors and textures, each piece is designed with the contemporary consumer in mind. Brandon Blackwood celebrates quality artisanal skills from all over the world and the craftsmen behind them. Materials are always sourced responsibly. Products are then completed by exceptional fair trade craftsmen in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Unethical labor practices are never an option.
Monica Botkier, is the quintessential New Yorker. Born and raised in Brooklyn, the city has been, and continues to be her endless source of inspiration.
Growing up with a passion for the arts, Monica studied photography throughout her schooling at New York University. She began her career working in fashion as a photographer, and was exposed to new and exciting accessories while working on shoots for leading magazines. Monica fell in love with the bag silhouettes while on set. Before long, she found herself sketching her dream bag, and in early 2003, Monica created Trigger in New York’s iconic Garment District. A bag inspired by her busy, downtown lifestyle, the Trigger bag gained an immediate cult following and became known as ‘the bag that launched an industry’.
Monica’s vision for the Botkier brand created a niche in the market that was previously a void: an approachable designer brand. Botkier was the first independent designer accessories brand, helping to define the contemporary handbag market as we know it today.
Botkier believes that it is essential to align her design talent with charitable organizations. Monica teamed up with Michelle Trachtenberg, Joy Bryant, Lake Bell and Minnie Driver to design pieces to benefit Oxfam. Monica is also very proud of her collaboration with the legendary artist John Baldassari in support of the art organization Independent Curators International. Mentoring and speaking with young female entrepreneurs to share the unique road she’s traveled continues to be a source of inspiration and motivation.
In 2011, Monica was chosen through the CFDA and Luxottica to create the Botkier’s first pair of sunglasses for the Vogue Eyewear brand. Monica worked closely with the CFDA to spread the ‘You Can’t Fake Fashion’ message and in 2012 created limited edition bags for the CFDA and EBAY, which debuted at New York Fashion Week.
Botkier has branched into shoes, small leather goods and jewelry and more celebrity collaborations like the BotkierXCocoRocha collection. Monica’s designs continue to embody luxury through custom detailing, innovation, and quality, while simultaneously focusing on functionality. Monica has also used her photography and art direction background to create and shoot many of Botkier’s campaigns.
A favorite among celebrity fashion icons, Botkier bags and shoes have been spotted on many of the most recognized women in the world: Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Beyonce, Jessica Alba, Rihanna, Coco Rocha, Naomi Watts, Bella and Gigi Hadid to name a few. Botkier has been featured in the pages of ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Marie Claire, Refinery29, The Coveteur, TheCut, NY Times and VOGUE.
In addition to the outward success of Botkier, Monica has also been recognized by her peers for her contributions in the world of accessory design. Such accolades include being honored as the Iconoclast Recipient from the Independent Handbag Designer Awards in partnership with InStyle Magazine in 2014.
In 2015, Monica sold Botkier to Showroom 35. To celebrate its evolution, paying homage to the city that inspired it from the beginning, the brand became Botkier New York. Monica was President, CEO and Creative Director for 10 independent years, and consults for the Botkier New York team by building on its past success while looking ahead. Today she also consults with other companies who seek her expertise, knowledge, creative direction, and passion for accessories.
Monica currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and three children. Today she is adding author to her list of accomplishments as she puts the finishing touches on a coffee table book with Harper Collins launching in 2017…stay tuned.