Besides being a motivational woman of substance, Brandi Grimaldi has created a handbag brand which has gone on to receive recognition for its socially responsible approach and importance given to craftsmanship, design, and customer service. Here, we talk to Brandi Grimaldi to find out how GRIMALDI came about and the steps she takes to make her life more positive.
Mission Statement: At GRIMALDI we believe that luxury handbags shouldn’t stop at black or brown. Our founder, Brandi Grimaldi is taking matters into her own hands. Here, Green is the new black. We’re building a collection of luxury handbags that will do all the talking for you. Straight from the Big Easy with a touch of Italy, we strive to bring you the trendiest styles, from design to concept!
Why did you want to start a handbag line?
After buying multiple luxury handbags, I decided to create my own. Reason being is that I was ready to design something. After observing all the handbags and touching them, I was like, “I can do this”. And I did! Within a four month time frame. I also decided to give the brand my last name Grimaldi, which is a luxury name fit for a luxury brand.
Where do your seasonal palettes and combos come from? How do you choose which colors you’ll release?
So, GREEN is our initial brand color. Honestly, everything from handbag to apparel is Green. That’s our starting color. I’ve never seen a brand like it, whereas everything is the same color. The reason why I chose Green is because it’s manifestation, mostly everything that’s Green grows. Therefore, it represents growth. Now, other colors will be added eventually, but right now I’m making my mark with Green, which can vary in all seasons. It is a seasonal color Lol.
What handbag do you personally carry for the day? Do you switch it out at night?
My handbags are interchangeable, I call them the Triple Threat because they can be worn at least three different ways. It comes with two straps, therefore it can be worn as a tote bag, a bucket bag, a wristlet, and a crossbody! It’s like having three to four bags in one and with that being said, I carry my handbag all day and night, I just switch up the straps!
What inspires you and your design choices?
For this brand, I’m inspired by my high school. I am from New Orleans, LA and I attended John McDonogh Sr. High school. We wore a green plaid uniform and our school location was on Esplanade Avenue. Before attending “ The Mac” I was extremely timid, I barely spoke and even gave eye contact. During and after attending “The Mac”, I was beyond confident. It brought out something that I never thought I could obtain. I was Co-Captain on the dance team and made a lot of friends, I was popular! Nevertheless, all the green plaid apparel is apart of the Esplanade Collection of my brand. This school inspired me so much that I decided to pay homage with my collection.
What type of products are your best sellers to your customers?
One of my best sellers is the hosiery. I created a pair of stockings/leggings with the brand’s mascot, which is an Italian Mastiff dog. They are so unique that everyone loves them. It is common for brands to sell socks but not hosiery and I wanted to tap into that market. They are called: “Saint Baronne Leggings” (New Orleans inspiration).
Which styles are you really excited about for fall and winter 2021 are there any future plans you can share with us?
I’ve already started working on my fall/winter collection this past summer. I’m looking forward to the coats, scarves and leggings. Those are my favorite looks and I provide both pieces in my collection. Just imagine a Green Plaid Coat paired with a Green Patterned legging with a nice silk scarf wrapped around your neck! Currently, I’m creating a puffer jacket and a new silk scarf for the brand!
What are the top areas of focus for succeeding in the market right now?
The top areas of focus to me is to be consistent. Every day you have to do something towards your brand. Whether that’s posting on social media, paying for promo, processing orders or even speaking affirmations about your brand. Another thing is creating extraordinary content, basically staying creative. I also engage with my audience a lot by going live on social media or even blogging.
What inspired you to start working for yourself?
I love being in control and being creative, that’s what inspired me. However, I’m not a full-time entrepreneur just yet. That’s why I need your help, whoever is reading this Lol. I have a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Systems and I am an IT Security Engineer for a Fortune 500 Company. Yet, I create balance in my life whereas I can do both and I love them both. But if we’re being honest, I would love to just work for myself full-time! I believe GRIMALDI will put me in this position real soon.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since becoming a bag designer and having your own firm?
The biggest challenged I’ve faced so far was losing friends. A lot of people can’t understand your creativity and success. It’s actually not a bad thing for me because it’s hard talking and expressing myself to others and being misunderstood. Some people just don’t get it, and when I say “it”, I mean they don’t get that you’re not always available to do whatever. They don’t get that your brand is all that you want to talk about. When you pitch ideas to them, it may sound weird and their feedback will be “No” but they just don’t have the vision. People always say that the road to success gets lonely but I’m ok with transitioning into an introvert. Especially if that means that the world will be walking around wearing my handbags Lol.
If you could give one piece of advice to fashion students, what would it be?
The best piece of advice that I can give is to be free. Meaning to express yourself and do what YOU feel. Break all the rules and create your own lane just by being yourself.
Brand Name: GRIMALDI (Made in New Orleans)
CEO: Brandi Grimaldi
Facebook: Grimaldi Made in NOLA