Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Bottomless Closet Organization

If you are a designer and would like to make a donation to a worthy cause, I suggest donating one of your designs/products to the Bottomless Closet organization out of NYC. Bottomless Closet helps disadvantaged women get back into the workforce. They have an incredibly wonderful cause and have helped so many women improve their lives.

Here is their official mission statement:
"The mission of Bottomless Closet is to promote economic self–sufficiency by providing interview skills, business clothing, and ongoing career development and support programs to economically disadvantaged New York City women. By enhancing their self-confidence and self-sufficiency, we enable them to enter and succeed in the workforce and transform the vision for their lives."

They are always accepting donations of handbags, clothing, jewelry.

"To ensure that the contributions are meaningful to our clients, Bottomless Closet asks that clothing donations should be professional, clean, new or gently worn, and work appropriate. Acceptable items include suits, jackets, pants, skirts, blouses, and sweaters. In addition, larger sizes (14 and up) are always in demand and particularly appreciated.

We also gladly accept accessories, including gently worn shoes, scarves, belts, bags, jewelry, and new pantyhose; however, we are unable to accept undergarments, jeans, tee shirts, sneakers, or used make-up.

To encourage women to view this as an entirely new phase in their lives, Bottomless Closet provides women with head-to-toe outfits to reinforce the importance of overall appearance. Each client is assisted in selecting two outfits for their interview and three additional outfits once a job has been secured.

All clothing donations are tax-deductible. Bottomless Closet will supply a letter acknowledging each donation and a form for taxes."

If you would like to donate one of your designs, please send them to:

Bottomless Closet
545 Eighth Avenue, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10018


Nish said...

Hi FashionCEO,

This is a GREAT website - extremely informative! Thank you for your hard work.

I have a question for you about patents and copyrights, and when is the right time to get a patent. I'm beginning a venture, and I'm trying to jump over some hurdles - they being answers regarding patents, etc.

-- Is it safe to have a manufacturer develop your prototype handbag(s) without a patent?

-- Or do you need a prototype to even be able to apply for a patent?

Another question I have is about pitching a product to department stores:

-- Do they typically place orders with the designer, or do they instead offer to purchase your product so that they'll have exclusive ownership of it?

I hope you're able to help with any or all of these questions! I'm just not quite sure how to get these answers.


Susan Osborne said...

Hi Nish,
Thank you for the comment. I'm glad you enjoy the site.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think it would be hard, if not impossible (and a waste of money in my opinion unless you have a completely new spin on the handbag) to get a patent on a handbag design. It would be very expensive and timeconsuming too. I would put your money into your product instead. But consult a lawyer if you are unsure. You might be able to copywright your handbag design/sketch, but I'm not really sure that's worth pursuing either.

-Don't worry about approaching a manufacturer without a patent. A reputable manufacturer is not going to rip off your idea. The more successful you are, the more money they make. They are in the business of making YOUR product. I would spend your energy making sure the quality of their work is up to your standards, not whether they will steal your designs.

-Typically a department store will place an order for your product through you or your sales rep. I don't know of any that purchase your product for exclusive ownership, unless you get into licensing deals (maybe another reader can comment on this...I'm don't know much about licensing).

Good luck with your new venture! Keep us posted!!


Nish said...


Thank you for your detailed and helpful response! You're like a lighthouse in a storm. :)

Here's another question for you... when designing/manufacturing a handbag, is it necessary to do a patent search before even starting?

My concern is about paying a lot of money for prototypes/designs, and then finding out later that that one by the same measurements is already patented.

Do you have any experience/insight into this?


Nish said...

Hi Susan,

How was the quality of the bags you had manufactured by Manolucci? I read your July 22 post where you found some problems with your bags, and I was wondering who manufactured them, and what U.S. manufacturer you highly recommend.


Susan Osborne said...

Hi Nish,
Manolucci does very good quality work. They specialize in leather handbags, so they have all the equipment and experience to do them right. They are a little challenging to deal with at times. I had to repeat things several times because they would forget. Sometimes it would take too long to get things done. Just scattered. I did get frustrated at the process. But nice people. It was a smaller operation in LA that did a less than great job. His specialty was clothing, not handbags. I would work with someone who knows handbags!
If you would be open to manufacturing overseas, I highly recommend contacting Joanna at International Bag. She's wonderful and can help guide you with next steps. If you email her, tell her I sent you! joanna AT internationalbag DOT com.