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How Designer Sumira Buchi Reinvented Her Life at 50

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You would be wrong to think that nothing new can come from a person at 50 years. At the age of 50, Samira Buchi  left her small town Switzerland home to pursue her American dream. With her children out of the nest, Samira started from scratch, reinventing herself completely. She went back to school to study accessory design at FIT. Her purpose now is to perfect the art of leather goods craftsmanship. She remembers traveling to New York as a young girl, and in 1979, standing in the middle of a gritty SoHo street, made it her goal to one day live in the city to pursue her dreams. She took her time to raise a family and pursue other creative endeavors that molded her influences and inspirations that eventually led her back to New York City, 38 years later. Her collection of luxury handbags was designed to tailor to the sophisticated, self- reliant, yet wayfarer minded female like herself. Just like the individual, each bag is unique and has its own spirit. 

We had a chance to interview Samira and asked about her story, how she started her business and the future of her luxury handbag business.

Tell us your story. Why did you start your business?

I was born in Switzerland but raised by a Mediterranean family. My childhood was filled with travels that have highly influenced my lifestyle, vision of the world and its cultural diversities. My desire to live in New York City started at the age of 16, when, for the first time, I was wandering in the gritty streets of SoHo. I initially studied Hospitality and graduated with a Bachelor in Hotel Business from the renowned EcoleHôtelière de Lausanne. But, I always had an inner sensitivity for art, designing, crafting, knitting, sewing, patch-working, etc. I then dedicated the next years of my life raising my sons while pursuing other creative endeavors and passions such as restoring furniture, styling for magazines and photographers and editing for television. At the age of 50 with my children out of the nest, I finally decided to leave Switzerland to start over and pursue my American Dream by joining the Accessory Design Program at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. For two years, I aimed to learn everything about leather goods and to perfect the art of craftsmanship designing line after line of bags and shoes that would suit everyone’s personality. Here I am today, following my lifelong passion, in a spacious sun-lit design studio in Long Island City where I design my own line of luxury leather handbags and other accessories.

How did you come up with your business name?

My handbag line has been influenced by my roots, my travels, my passion for fashion and my artistic inspirations. 38 years agoI fell in love with the New York vibe and wanted to establish my brand in the heart of the Big Apple. The name SAMIRA BUCHI NEW YORK came naturally.

Tell us about your products and services. How do you help clients?

I’m a big believer of simplicity in conjunction with luxury and functionality. Samira Buchi New York is a lifestyle brand. I design and manufacture my handcrafted bags and accessories with genuine leather that combines luxury, simplicity and functionality. With a focus on minimalism and elegance, each bag from Tote to Hobo is niche and exclusive. Made in New York, in my studio in Long Island City – each product meets the highest standards of workmanship. It’s straight to the point, no frills, true quality, and with an aesthetic that never goes beyond functionality. Redefining the new kind of luxury, my first collection “Nativ” is the epitome of everyday luxe essentials. I wanted this collection to epitomize the primitive era that represents the culture of flat bags. What flatline design methodology does is it allows the bag to form its own shape depending upon what is put inside it, making it significant for all essential states of being.

What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?

Inspired by a woman for women, Samira Buchi New York creates not only accessories but a whole universe dedicated to inspiring women and supporting their way of life. My brand’s uniqueness is based on two pillars:

  • All handbags are designed and handcrafted in my studio in Long Island City, NY from the best material.
  • We always start with the client first. We don’t carry any stock and work only to orders. We don’t begin working on a bag before a customer has ordered it. We want to make our customer feel like she is in the studio with us by sharing pictures of the process. She can follow how the leather is transforming through the step by step construction of her bag. We create a whole experience and story around the product from conception to final delivery to the client.

Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?

Right now, I am working on my inspiration boards to further explore more verticals for Samira Buchi New York – gathering influences on my current travels, and focusing on designing my next models.

Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?

I don’t have any advice, but I can share some of the rules I try to apply to myself on a daily basis.

  • Get rid of the frills and detach myself from things I don’t need
  • Live the dreams that I saw as a child
  • One step at a time

What is your favorite business quote and why?

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” ― Meister Eckhart

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