An Eye on Nancy Gonzalez

In the uber-competitive luxury handbag market, which is dominated by well-funded couture houses like Gucci and Chanel, soft-spoken Colombian native Nancy Gonzalez has flourished by celebrating the color and craftsmanship of her native country.

Known for pieces that are vibrantly hued and texturally varied, Gonzalez pays homage to her homeland by having her line produced locally by skilled artisans. She employs a staff composed almost solely of women, and offers their children free day care.

Raising two children has helped foster her nurturing nature. A mom of two, Gonzalez and her son Santiago recently launched a men's line, growing their family brand.

This inspiring juxtaposition of quality and compassion embodies her success. “I love the challenge of finding a new way to work the skin over a handle or playing with mixed textures,” says Gonzalez. And she loves to evoke emotion through her work. “I incorporate elements to each piece that make us smile: a color, a texture, a detail, a surprise.”

Her website, surprisingly, is divided into “Values” that tout her company’s principals. Alongside the expected virtues of “Elegance” and “Style” are “Magic,” “Wonder,” “Freedom” and “Dignity.”

Gonzalez is a leader in her work, home and country, but this great dame does have one semi-flaw: indecision. When asked recently to pick her favorite bag, from the more than 150 styles and 200 colors she’s designed, she refused. “I can’t do it,” she said. “It would be like picking a favorite child.”

Photo: Getty Images

by Robyn Moreno