Kathy Van Zeeland is mostly known for designing her range of self-titled handbag ranges, but also for her marriage to real estate mogul Bruce Makowsky.
Early Life, Parents & Family :
- Kathy grew up in a family being one of the four girls.
- She has said that although she often thought that her father would have liked to have a son, he never said anything to make his daughters feel that way.
- In her teenage years, her father tragically passed away, and she has described that as one of the most difficult things that she has ever gone through.
- When she married her husband, Bruce Makowsky, in her early 20’s, she chose to keep her maiden name as she did not want to see her father’s name die off. She made the decision after her three sisters had already married and changed their names.
- Her husband has worked in real estate throughout their marriage, and is said to have a net worth of over $400 million.
Education & College :
- Kathy had a keen interest in design from a young age that was encouraged by her grandmother who was a dressmaker by trade.
- Van Zeeland used her grandmother’s training to secure her in a New York Design School.
Career Timeline : Profession & Net Worth
- After her graduation, Kathy interned for various fashion houses, before landing the role of an assistant in a private fashion house.
- It was from this role that she eventually went on to become their Vice President. She was responsible for overseeing the $200 million sales peak of that design company.
- Although she loved that job, however, not being the “big boss” meant that her creative was not allowed to run as free as she would have liked.
- With that said, in 2004 she made the decision to launch her own handbag business & set up her headquarters in the grand ballroom of the newly acquired Beverley Hills property that her husband had purchased.
- Within four years of operation the firm had sold over 60 million handbags, and later decided to sell her company to a Hong Kong based firm.
Kathy Van Zeeland Handbags : Design & Reputation
- Kathy launched her handbag empire with three original bags. They were titled “Nine West,” “Easy Spirit,” and “Angiol,” and although they sold well – they were met with mixed reviews.
- Fans loved the touch of bling that she brought to her bags, and she regularly sold out on QVC and across department stores.
- Critics, however, labeled her designs as gaudy and somewhat tacky. She responded to that criticism that she wanted to please her target audience, which was not them.
- In 2009, after the first release of new bags after selling her label was released, she came under fire with many people saying that the bags were of considerably lower quality. She denied this and encouraged people to take up their warranties if they had any issues.