I wanted to introduce you to not only a beautiful handmade handbag line to style with your outfits, but also a phenomenal + inspiring female entrepreneur that is making strides in her own way. And what perfect timing that I post this interview since she’s celebrating the one year anniversary of her small business. I am so excited for her + what’s to come as I have a strong feeling that with her state of mind, whatever she puts her mind to, she will be celebrating not only many more anniversaries of her handbag line, but other ventures as well. Read on as I introduce, Nikki & Mallory + it’s founder, Treasure.
SMF: Tell my fashionista readers a little about yourself + your start.
Treasure (Owner|Designer of Nikki & Mallory): I originally started out in radio, television + broadcast because I had a desire to work in the entertainment industry. Soon after graduating college, I began to work in all sectors of entertainment starting out on the corporate levels at NBC, Sony + kind of bouncing around other production studios. Then I found myself pursuing acting + modeling once I got laid off from Sony. In the midst of pursuing acting + modeling because I was always the odd ball + one that was a little bit of any + everything, acting was always difficult for me. I had to always look one particular way + I’m not that character. I like to do things my way + trying to follow the acting protocol I went through many ups + downs. That’s when I made the conscious decision to go back to the last thing that I had the desire to do which was fashion + decided to go to fashion design school.
SMF: What was Fashion Design School like for you?
Treasure: Fashion Design School is where I got this epiphany. It was the most comforting place for me. They didn’t care how I looked, dressed + that my hair was a different color every week. It’s where I came alive + where it all came to light for me. I knew I wanted to be my own boss, start my own business + create my own opportunities. With acting I felt like somebody else had to give me an opportunity.
SMF: Thus, a new venture was being born, Nikki & Mallory.
Treasure: Yes. Instead of creating clothes like I was instructed to by my professors, I was creating clothes + handbags. I would secretly create handbags in the back of the class by teaching myself how to make handbags to go with every outfit just because it made sense to me. So Nikki & Mallory was established in 2012, but the handbag line became official in 2013.
SMF: Where did the name Nikki & Mallory derive?
Treasure: Nikki & Mallory is based on the premise of this one individual, myself. My nick name is Nikki + my last name is Mallory. An individual who has layers + levels of style personality + characteristics. She’s unapologetic in her approach, never looks the same + neither do her bags. Nikki is all over the place + Mallory is more put together.
SMF: What is your thought process when creating your handbags?
Treasure: I’m usually all over the place. I’m gonna be real, but me being all over the place helps because I’m constantly looking at fashion + style. That’s my main inspiration of course, but I can be outside + the texture of the concrete can inspire me. Listening to music definitely takes my mind to a different place visually that gets me going. Working out because I’m able to free my mind, take it all in + embrace life for what it is, gets me going. There’s not one particular thing, but there’s several different things that gets me going before I design.
SMF: What’s the next step once your in a zone?
Treasure: I’ll illustrate whatever I’m thinking style wise even if it’s just a crappie illustration on a receipt. I will go with an idea of whatever it is I want to create, then go look at fabric + just pick. I don’t have look books, visuals + inspirations. I don’t follow guidelines, styles + colors or what mainstream is doing. I don’t really care about what mainstream is doing. I kind of just go with whatever I’m feeling for the day + just create.
SMF: What type of handbags are in your collection? How do you make your handbags?
Treasure: What’s in my collection right now are bucket bags, tote bags, clutches + hobos. I’m now incorporating Fannie packs, which mine are called “Lilly Packs”. Also in the collection are accessories like tassels + key chains. I use leathers + honestly anything I feel I can construct with. It may not be the set type of fabric to create a bag, but I’ll make it work with the bag I’m creating. I use a little bit of everything using any fabric. When I first started I wanted it to be abstract + not industry standard fabrics to make a bag. I go shopping for anything that I am inspired by although I’m working on trying to center it using certain fabrics because I love the way it comes out in a bag. I use a industrial sewing machine + domestic sewing machine. Aside from the sewing machines I do a lot of hand stitching with leather thread + a needle which takes a lot of time, but it helps really craft the bag. I self taught myself how to hand stitch because I want to become a leather crafter as well.
SMF: What makes your handbag line different than all the other handbag lines out there?
Treasure: In a lot of designer handbag collections you can look at the bag + know what brand it belongs to based on how it’s constructed + designed. Mine is kind of broad. You get a little bit of everything in each bag. It’s based off of individuality so you can find one of my handbags to go with a little bit of everything. There’s never a set look or a set style because I want to do it all. Nikki & Mallory is a universal handbag collection because each bag can be used for almost any occasion. What I do want to incorporate more of is an animal print in each bag to signify individuality because every animal print are completely different just like a finger print. It comes from the fact that I never use the same technique for the same bag so they’re all just completely different. As I grow + as my style changes, the handbags will change.
SMF: Lastly, what do you want every woman that pairs their wardrobe with your bag to get out of it?
Treasure: I want them to feel like they have a sense of self. I feel like a lot of people now are so into mainstream + what everybody else is doing. I don’t agree with following trends + mainstream. I want people to wear my handbags knowing that it’s a piece for them + their style. I want them to feel like it represents their look + not somebody else’s brand giving them a sense of representation. You should never have to wear a brand + feel like that brand is representing you. I want my bags to be about art + about you just being who you are.
I really hope you were inspired by + enjoyed my interview with Nikki & Mallory + its founder, Treasure. Visit the website for more on Nikki & Mallory + their amazing handmade style handbag line. Subscribe to the site today + use the code “Welcome15” for a discount on your first handbag purchase. If you have any questions for Treasure, please leave them in the comments below or visit the website + just explore Nikki & Mallory’s world anyway. Xo
My featured wardrobe: Worn with the Nikki & Mallory Zariah Spotted Calf-Hair Clutch is a Who What Wear lace tie up blouse + drape pencil skirt. It was my first outfit from the collection which is a chic streetwear offered in all sizes up to plus. I love Nikki & Mallory’s clutch because it is crafted with love, the fabric is of beautiful quality + the design is unique. I thought mixing the floral patterns from the skirt with the animal print on the bag created an artsy + standout outfit. I’ll have to say putting this look together was effortless + me. Included were a pair of feather heels to up the ante on my feminine look.
Photography: Brandon Kyle//Location: Los Angeles, CA