Interview with Sonia Zarbatany, VP of Sales and Marketing for B. Makowsky

Sonia Zarbatany, VP of Sales and Marketing for B. Makowsky

Since 2006, B. Makowsky has created a name for itself in the fashion industry. Providing handbags and shoes, this brand beautifully represents classic and timeless designs that can appeal to any age group. I was lucky to have Sonia Zarbatany, VP of Sales and Marketing Zarby inc.answer few questions about this brand.

Sarah Velasco: As the VP of Sales and Marketing of B Makowsky Canada what is your role? What types of things do you do? 
Sonia Zarbatany:When managing seven handbag brands and two footwear lines my role is constantly changing. My days consist of building sales, managing major accounts and all sales reps across Canada and the U.S. I must travel to select every new collection, take care of purchases, new brand acquisitions, trade shows, TV appearances and assist in building our e-commerce platform. I have never done the same things two days in a row or spent more than two weeks without booking a plane ticket. I’ve always believed that when you love what you do it never feels like work, every morning I wake up looking forward to the day ahead. I love this industry!

Sarah Velasco: What things happen behind the scenes? Things that shoppers would not know from shopping in a store. (How do you choose the collection every season, what is entailed in buying the collection every season etc)
Sonia Zarbatany: We ship monthly deliveries for each of our handbag brands, our consumers keep going into the stores every month to get the latest handbag. Therefore, we do not do repeat business, once a style is sold-out you will never see the same B.Makowsky bag in the future. For the B.Makowsky brand, I go to New Work for market week every three months to preview and buy the next collection. I forecast what will be sold in Canada and the U.S independents and buy every bag at least six months in advance.
The B.Makowsky collection is on point with the latest trends straight from the runways. This handbag collection is bought and sold to the customer the same way a high end fashion brand launches their runway collection. Every major customer from North America and every distributor around the world meets in our 90,000sq ft showroom in New York to see what the customer will buy six months before it hits the stores

Sarah Velasco: How did you get into this business? And what draws you to B Makowsky?
Sonia Zarbatany: I was raised in this business. My father has been in the distribution and licensing business for over fifty years and he believed I had to learn every step of the business from the ground up. He used to tell me "You can't teach a sweeper how to sweep if you haven't swept yourself". I graduated with a management degree and throughout my school years, from elementary school on, I remember going straight to the office from school. I had to be the first one in and last one out of the office. When I graduated I wanted to explore my own career path and moved to the U.S. for six years. I lived in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York and became a public speaker and life coach. But, the fashion industry, my family business, my family and Montreal were always in my heart, so I moved back to Montreal to build the business and got back into the fashion industry. We first acquired the Kathy Van Zeeland brand then B.Makowsky and now Chinese Laundry and the list of brands keep getting longer. I love the accessories business, shoes and handbags are the perfect commodity for every woman. We have the best team working with us and I surround myself with family, employees and sales reps that all share the same passion and are the very best assets to the success of the business.

Sarah Velasco: How does B Makowsky differ from other brands?
Sonia Zarbatany: B.Makowsky's success stems from the quality and craftsmanship of the handbags. Crafted from supple leathers, sleek hardware and timeless designs, B.Makowsky bags prove that high style and practicality blend together beautifully. The color palette ranges from metallics, pastels, bright beautiful colours and neutrals according to the latest trends of the season.

Sarah Velasco: What are the current trends going into summer, and what will we see fall 2011?
Sonia Zarbatany: COLOUR!!!!! Bright beautiful structured bags are the definite summer trend. Put away your basic black and brown bags and invest in a B.Makowsky metallic, bright color or camel color which accessorises perfectly with anything from a dress to a more casual look. Cross bodies are still the perfect "it" bag as they allow your hands to be free. Whether with a detachable strap or not, your options to be in-style with the latest fashions are almost endless! Structured bags are everywhere, it's a classic that B.Makowsky uses throughout the collection to complete the classic look.
As for what is coming up in fall, the framed bag is a huge trend. The trendy piece: the ladylike, feminine framed bag that is structured and clean. The rectangular form takes on a 70's look. B.Makowsky incorporated this trend into a nice mix of shinny looks and you can also see a few printed bags like leopard and snake-like ones. Animal prints are still very much on trend.

Sarah Velasco: Where can B Makowsky be purchased in Canada?
Sonia Zarbatany:We have our dedicated exclusive space in thirty The Bay stores across Canada; we are available at Browns, Freedmans, LE Locale and countless better independent stores across the country

Sarah Velasco: Can you give our readers tips on keeping their handbags from wear and tear? What should be done, or what products should be used?
Sonia Zarbatany:It's important to put your bag on a table and not on the floor. We provide a felt bag with every B. Makowsky handbag and recommend that you always store your handbag in this protective cover. Another great tip is to never leave your bag in direct sunlight and away from heat sources! If you wish to apply an over the counter leather treatment, it can help to prevent transfer and stains. These tips can help you to keep your B.Makwosky leather bags for a long time and take great care of them.