Today we’d like to introduce you to Dee Hilfiger.
Hi Dee, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started designing handbags at the encouragement of my husband, Tommy Hilfiger. I have always loved accessories and had an idea to design bags with changeable covers. The changeable covers would make it easy to not only customize your own bag but make traveling and packing more efficient if you could pack one bag with different covers to match different looks and outfits. I started selling my bags on HSN and eventually switched to producing a more luxury product manufactured in Italy. The quality was always an important part of my vision and I felt like the Italian craftsmanship was important to my story as well as my brand. Today we manufacture thousands of handbags and shoes, as well as silk scarves and cashmere. We are carried in several European department and specialty stores, online at DeeOcleppo.com and on Farfetch.com.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Absolutely not! I have had to pivot several times with pricing, factories, and product. Of course, most recently, the covid crisis was a huge struggle but made us really step up our digital game which in the end was a blessing in disguise!
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a creative director and part-owner of “Judith Leiber” handbags and founder and creative director of my own namesake brand” Dee Ocleppo”. I am known for reviving the Judith Leiber brand and for instigating some very fun and popular designs as well as collaborations with Ashley Longshore and Iris Apfel to name a few. I am known for mostly my accessories and I am very proud of my determination and hard work over the past ten years. I was also able to sell one of my unique patents to the Kate Spade Company which was a bag with changeable covers.
I am also very proud of our shoe line which has grown exponentially and has been hugely successful throughout Europe and on Farfetch.com. What sets us apart is our commitment to quality.
Our products are made in the EXACT same factories as all the other luxury brands but because we do not spend millions on marketing, we pass that savings to the consumer. Our greatest advertising is word of mouth!
We continue to grow our business and are expanding into cashmere offerings as well as silk pyjamas and scarves. Our Laverne Cashmere collection was inspired by the show LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY and features a large letter monagram on the sweater as well as a scarf/wrap, hat and jogger pants. We recently launched a live stream shopping event which was also a huge success and I think will eventually become a huge part of retail.
- Website: www.deeocleppo.com
- Instagram: @mrshilfiger @deeocleppo @judithleiberny