Ever complained about how it's impossible to find a nice black leather handbag that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?
So did Monica Tarca. The 30-year-old Aussie publicity dynamo, who has worked in PR agencies for years, as well as in-house at beauty juggernaut Mecca Cosmetica, was sick of the absence of affordable, chic handbags made from quality materials, so she decided to make her own.
"When I was at uni and didn't have heaps of money, as most uni students don't, I had to carry books and a laptop everyday and I just wanted a good quality black leather handbag, but I couldn't find one for under $200," Monica told Now To Love.
"I was looking for a very simple tote. I'd go to popular high street retailers and the bags were over $200 and they weren't even made from leather. They were trying to charge hundreds of dollars and I couldn't work out how or why. Or I would buy a bag from a fast fashion cheap retailer and they would break really quickly. It just wasn't an enjoyable experience," she said.
"I didn't want a fake leather bag. I didn't want a bag with over the top labels and branding all over it and I didn't want an overpriced bag. I just thought, 'Why doesn't this exist?'."
Monica wanted to find a middle ground between expensive designer leather handbags and the polyester totes on offer at her local Westfield.
Her job required looking put-together, but she didn't have the cash to splash out on high-end accessories.
"I was working at head office at Mecca in a very stylish environment and everyone is super chic. Almost everyone had designer handbags, from brands like Celine to Chanel or Louis Vuitton. But I was just a PR assistant and I couldn't afford it," she said.
"I wanted something that was good quality and chic with minimal branding. I thought where is the middle ground here? Even an entry-level designer handbag would cost a minimum of $500 and sometimes wasn't even made from real leather."
Monica is Italian and travels to Europe almost every year to visit family. She got married in Italy last year and then spent her honeymoon speaking to manufacturers and suppliers, visiting factories and meeting the families who make the best local leather goods.
"Once I saw that there was a gap in the market for chic quality leather bags with minimal branding that weren't overpriced, I knew it could be something," she said.
So she created her own handbag brand, Vestirsi, and last month launched her first collection of 12 black leather bags, all priced between $190 and $290.
And it seems Monica's genius idea is already taking off.
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One of her bags, The Claire, has already sold out online, and it's become a hot influencer favourite on Instagram.
"The feedback has been incredible," Monica said.
"I've had people say 'I have been searching for a work bag for over a year that had minimal branding and that wasn't overpriced. I've had my friends emailing saying 'I buy designer handbags all the time, but I've just bought one of your bags and the quality is just as good'.
"It's been amazing."
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