Monica Zwirner & Lucy Wallace Eustice
How your clients refer to you:
Co-founders and designers of MZ Wallace
website: www.mzwallace.com, 93 Crosby Street New York, NY 10012, ph. (212) 431-8252
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
We launched MZ Wallace in 2000 with a store on Crosby Street in SoHo, and it is still our flagship store today.
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
We were inspired by the dynamic lives women lead in New York and the unique energy of the city. When we first launched MZ Wallace, it was the height of logo-mania. We saw an opportunity to cut through all that noise and address the needs of stylish, active women who wanted bags that worked for their life. We filled a gap in the accessories market with bags that were both luxurious and functional, working primarily with nylon and Italian leather.
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
We often reference MZ Wallace as a design company rather than a fashion company. We take a holistic approach to the design of our bags, considering our customers’ feedback and what supports their lifestyles for possible future designs. For example, last year we launched a collection of bags that offer three straps so you can wear on the shoulder, as a crossbody, or carry by the top handle, understanding that our customers love multiple options. The balance of style with function is the core ethos that informs each bag we design. It’s also very exciting to know that our bags are worn by women of all ages, which we feel is very unique in our market.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
Our bags are intended to be “seasonless” and worn for many years to come. We pride ourselves on the quality of our bags. Women often jokingly complain that their bag still looks good after years of daily use and they don’t have an excuse to buy a new one when they want to! Today, we firmly believe customers want to buy from brands that are authentic. We have remained consistent to who we are for the last 16 years; our bags are distinctive, durable, and stylish and we believe that is a winning combination. We have a very large repeat customer business - when women discover MZ Wallace, they don’t look back.
How do you positively impact your clientele?
By listening. Customer feedback is very important to us as it helps inform our design process. We continually seek to create bags that keep our customers organized and serve purpose in their lives without sacrificing style. Our customers recognize that we listen to their feedback and we are proud of the loyalty it has created. You can’t build a brand without the trust of your customer.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Monica Zwirner: I love that design, marketing and sales all happen in our NYC showroom. Working together with these teams to build each collection is amazing!
Lucy Wallace Eustice: Design and strategy.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
MZ: The Reading Room at the New York Public Library is a spectacular place to escape the hectic city – very few people go so it is a true oasis.
LWE: The gardens at the Cloisters Museum is a great location for when you need someplace quiet. If I’m going out with the family, we love Rotisserie Georgette on E 60th Street for roast chicken and French fries – you can actually hear yourself speak and the wait staff doesn’t rush you.
How do you benefit mamas?
Hopefully, by making their lives a little easier with bags that work for them, not against them.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
“Don’t change too much!”
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
MZ: Cynthia Rowley is a friend and colleague. She works incredibly hard, but also spends lots of quality time with her family, which I admire.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
MZ: “Try not to dwell on what might happen in the future and enjoy the moment you’re in.”
LWE: “Regret is worse than failure.”
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
MZ: Don’t let your phone run your life.
LWE: Cooking for ten when we are a family of four and freezing the rest. I have four different pasta sauces in the freezer, all ready to go, for when I get home during the week and it’s too late, and I’m too tired, to spend an hour cooking.