If you’re of a certain age and you’re a fan of luxury handbags, you probably know the name, B Makowsky.
The “B” stands for Bruce, and Makowsky was a handbag designer who was responsible for one of the highest-quality handbag brands ever made.
So why were they so popular? Makowsky handbags were made from superbly smooth natural leather, and the texture was to die for.
When Makowsky introduced his unique handbags there were very few luxury handbags on the market, so he was something of a pioneer as well.
Quality aside, another big reason these bags were so popular was Makowsky himself.
The design of his bags was elegant and simple, and it was obvious to both fans and critics alike that Makowsky put his soul into the product he built his business around.
All good things must come to an end, though. And that was true of Makowsky’s business as well.
He also did well with real estate investments, and he founded and grew a successful fashion business with his wife, Kathy van Zeeland, who also designed her own handbags.
As a result, Makowsky eventually sold the business, and that’s where the story takes a sad turn.
It’s an intriguing tale that’s definitely worth retelling, and we’ll also answer the question of what happened to B Makowsky handbags.
The Fate of the Makowsky Brand
When Makowski sold his business, his brand was bought by a Hong Kong logistics and trading company, Li & Fung, in 2008. Li & Fung Ltd has been on a purchasing spree since then.
This company made other purchases in the handbag world around that same time, and it’s safe to say that the results weren’t always pretty.
The company later purchased Rosetti and a few other well-known handbag makers in the industry. The result is similar to what happened to Makowsky, which you’ll learn more about as you scroll through this article.
Probably the reason why you never heard of certain brands you’re used to, after they were purchased by other bigger firm. That’s an aside though.
Makowsky’s handbags remained on the market after his fashion business was sold, but they weren’t the same.
There are customers and experts who believe that Li & Fung ruined the brand, and based on some of the reviews, it’s hard to dispute that opinion.
On the plus side, pricing definitely hasn’t been the issue with the Li & Fung version of Makowsky handbags. You can find many for under $100, and appearance-wise they’re similar to the original Makowsky purses.
The quality, however, is another story entirely. A review of user forums reveals complaints about leather fraying, poor workmanship, and terrible customer service experiences for the women who tried to get them repaired.
The irony of this is that one of the things that made the original Makowsky handbags so exceptional was that the fine materials used to manufacture them also made them amazingly durable.
Given that set of circumstances, it’s entirely possible that many of the original Makowsky bags have outlasted their updated cousins, even though they’re far older.
The Purchase Question
Given all the twists and turns in the Makowsky story, it’s fair to ask the question: Should you consider buying a Makowsky handbag?
It’s not a simple question, and there are actually two parts to the answer.
The first pertains to the original Makowsky handbags—if you find one you like that’s been taken care of and the price isn’t exorbitant, you should probably jump all over it.
You’d be getting a quality handbag that’s stood the test of time, and the odds are good that it will continue to do so.
The question shifts if you’re considering a more recent Makowsky handbag. The price may be right, but you definitely need to think about the potential quality issues.
Old vs New Makowsky Handbags
Design-wise, the common thread between the older and newer bags is that many of the basic design elements remain the same.
Makowsky bags are larger, so they’re excellent if you’re looking for plenty of room for whatever you’re carrying, so it should be easy to check that off your wishlist.
The bags also tend to be a little heavier, in part because Makowsky often favored flourishes like gold rings that added weight to some of his trademark bags.
As for the quality issue, the best way to address this is to do some homework about potential problems with any handbag, then apply what you’ve learned specifically to the current Makowsky bags.
That means you should look carefully for things like the quality of the stitching and the linings, whether the hardware lines up and fits right, and the integrity of the pockets.
Factor in the price when you make this assessment and make your decision accordingly.
If it all checks out to your satisfaction you can buy the product, but make sure you have at least one or two good backup purses. This isn’t a problem for most women, and in this case it’s an essential part of the purchase.