Edgewood purse designer getting New York City trunk show at Henri Bendel

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Monday, April 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Sandra Reiman has four days to make a lasting impression.

The luxury handbag designer from Edgewood was chosen for an elite trunk show at Henri Bendel's New York flagship store.

If all goes well, her collection will be a full-time presence at 50 stores, including the New York location. Reiman is owner of Sandra Cadavid (her maiden name). She established the brand in November 2011 and creates luxurious satchels, clutches and handbags.

This trunk show opportunity is something the store does twice a year. Designers travel from all over the world to attend an open audition where they present their wares. There were 1,000 individuals vying for the opportunity to be invited to take part in the trunk shows, with the chance to be placed in many stores. Just 2 percent are accepted.

“It's a huge opportunity,” says Reiman, who was ready at 4 a.m. the day she showed her collection at Henri Bendel. “I watched as people were turned away, sometimes after only a minute. When they told me I would be given a trunk show, I don't remember anything they said after that, I was so excited.”

They chose three pieces from her line for the April 24 to 27 trunk show. She plans to represent Pittsburgh designers well, wearing a dress created by Kiya Tomlin, who has a studio in East Liberty, and Italian-made shoes from the Emy Mack collection, created by Emy Mack Jamison of Shadyside.

“I am a little panicked, because this is a huge opportunity, and I don't want to fail,” Reiman says. “This is such an amazing opportunity because Henri Bendel knows talent. Did you know they discovered Andy Warhol? This is legendary.”

Henri Bendel is a store where celebrities shop. They most likely will show up during the trunk shows because they are always looking for new designers and something that no one else has, Reiman says.

“I am hoping for the best,” Reiman says. “If I don't make it this year, I will keep trying. I never envisioned an opportunity like this when I started my company. I just focused on designing classic handbags that will last, and, hopefully, they will appeal to a lot of women.”

All products are handmade in Reiman's native country of Colombia, she says, by some of the best artisans in the world, using quality materials such as alta gamma leather and high-quality custom-plated hardware. Prices range from $200 to $600. Reiman's handbags are available online and locally at Victoria in Fox Chapel. She also creates jewelry.

Reiman says she believes in philanthropic giving by actively working to hire women who have lost their husbands to violence as a way of providing means and support in her homeland.

“I want to prove that if you use high-quality materials that you can create amazing products that last a long time,” Reiman says. “The idea is to design classic handbags and for them to be an investment.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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