Inside The Square With Maggie Hansdorfer
There's never a quiet moment here at The Brand Assembly Square, and truth be told that's one of the things we love the most about what we do.
The energy here at our New York office is always busy, endlessly creative, and above all fun. Our tenants truly make our day-to-day all the more inspiring - take our nook tenant Maggie Hansdorfer for example. We featured her here on The Assemblist earlier this year but between her constant travels and growing roster of contemporary designers, we thought it was necessary to check in and see what she's been up to. Here's a little look at our visit with Maggie where she brought us up to speed on her latest happenings in and around The Brand Assembly Square...
As a seasoned sales veteran, what do you personally believe are the biggest benefits of being in the Square?
I think in general, everyone here is so well-versed in the fashion industry, so if you’re a quick learner or have a "sponge" personality, you in turn, grow as a fashion professional as a result of being surrounded by people that are driven and passionate. Especially together as a community - being in the office is a huge part of this. I could never do what I do at home. I know a lot of young brands that come here and they don't get it or don't know much about it. Then they join and three days in they can't believe they weren’t here sooner. It fast tracks your whole business process.
Since we last talked you've added some amazing new designers to your roster. Tell us about them!
Yeah I have five brands at the moment! I have Joey Wölffer handbags - Joey comes from a trail-blazing family, her great-grandfather started Marks & Spencer, and her father started the Wölffer Winery in the Hamptons. She now is co-running that. She has a store called Styleliner, a luxury truck that also rides around the Hamptons and sells different products. She launched a handbag line in 2014, she imports the Italian leather and has the bags hand-made and hand-embroidered here in New York. We just started Resort and everyone is going crazy over it, so it's really fun to be a part of that and to see the reaction from the market and individuals.
I have Leilani Bishop, who is a Hawaiian model who also lives in the Hamptons and has natural scented oils that are really small - you can just throw them in your bag, everyone loves them! Then I have Pared Eyewear out of Australia. It’s a husband and wife team, they just got married out of Melbourne and they have these unique and fun glasses that are quickly spreading throughout the States in cool, fun stores. I have Katherine Kidd, who I’m collaborating with for the new season, her Spring/Summer season is going to be really great. Then I have Sass + Bide who I represent and consult with.
Such a great and diverse group! They all obviously have their unique point of view, but is there any one element that you believe ties their collections/brands together?
This is going to sound weird but I think the element is me. I think because of my background, I’ve always been traveling/torn between two different lifestyles: the city and the beach. I’m very much torn in that capacity as a person, I’m also torn in that capacity as a fashion person. Half of me loves Resort, the other half of me is very city, urban, and structured. So while I try to do one or the other to make it cohesive, I always gravitate towards brands that I really love and I want to work with. It’s kind of split but it works because I can sell them both pretty easily because I get them all. It’s kind of a representation of who I am as a person.
So how has being in the space inspired your style? Do you have a go-to Brand Assembly Square look?
I think it's again, that I'm split! I like to wear overalls and jeans, but with a cool top. I’ve now completely abandoned heels. I’m wearing them now for the first time in three months! It's so nice because everyone here wears (cool) sneakers, so it's great because there’s no pressure. That’s pretty much the standard. If I have buying meetings I like to wear my brands. I wear my clients' pieces all outside of Brand Assembly quite frequently. It's such a good way to get it all out there!
Why do you think it makes sense for fashion designers to be in the Flatiron area?
I think that it's good because, first off, it's very accessible. Fashion used to be all in Midtown, Uptown, the Garment District... now a lot of designers are doing their own thing. So being in the middle, especially during market, it's so easy to call buyers to get to us. Location-wise it’s key. When you get to market and people overbook their schedules with appointments, they start cancelling outliers they can't get to. Obviously with Brand Assembly they’re going to see multiple brands, so they’re not going to cancel. Generally, it's great being here. There are a lot of restaurants opening, and there is so much fashion around here now. When you walk down the street it's kind of comparable to Soho and you can tell there are more fashion brands around here. I think it's because of the convenience factor of the train and also everything you would need is here!
What are a few things you would recommend for those seeking out a co-working space and how does Brand Assembly service those needs?
I think the most important thing is to be in a space with like-minded people who are open to working together. A lot of people are so competitive in nature and you’re not going to benefit in a space that’s collaborative if the people there are keeping to themselves. You need to find a space that’s collaborative and everyone is nice and works together. The other thing is to surround yourself with the right brands. Other spaces will try to get your rent to just fill spots, but I know that Hillary and Alex knock back people all the time because their energy is not right for the office. It needs to be curated and it needs to make sense, or else what’s the point? I think if you’re looking for a space like that, you find an environment that the brands are going to mesh well with. They’re going to elevate you and you’re going to elevate them.