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Innovation & Startups

Pittsburgh designer launches a line of luxury leather bags handmade in Colombia


Beautiful leather tells its own story, Sandra Reiman explains. 

Reiman is the founder and designer of Sandra Cadavid, a Pittsburgh-based startup that is making handcrafted leather satchels, clutches and handbags inspired by the 500 year-old fortress city of Cartagena, Colombia.
 
Reiman lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband and two daughters, but a part of her has always been with her beloved homeland of Colombia where she was born and lived until the age of seven. 
 
Her interest in fashion began as a child when she would design concepts for luxury fashion products. Believing a career in the world of fashion to be a difficult and impractical undertaking, she worked at PNC for nine years. But her dream to design never waned.

With encouragement from her husband, and an MBA from Pitt's Katz School of Business, Sandra Cadavid was born.
 
All the handbags were designed in Pittsburgh and made by local artisans in Colombia, cut from custom-dyed alta gamma leather in shades of brown, black, cognac and white. She named two of the handbags for her daughters Sofia and Isabella.  
 
Reiman is surprised by how quickly the bags have been selling. After meeting several celebrity stylists and posting a few pictures on Facebook earlier this year, she received 200 orders. 
 
“Doors just started opening left and right and its been a whirlwind ever since,” says Reiman. “Friends kept sharing it with others and soon I was getting orders across the country. We haven’t had to do any marketing.”
 
The line will be sold in high-end boutiques across the country, as well as online on the website Boticca.com. The Asian market is next. 
 
Reiman also hopes to hire several people in product design and web development—with an emphasis on social media—who preferably speak Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, Portuguese (Brazil) and French.
 
“I'm trying to build a global brand and feel strongly I can do that right here in Pittsburgh,” she says.
 
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Sandra Reiman, Sandra Cadavid

Image of Sandra Reiman by Natalie Morris
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