Newly minted accessories designer Luciana Rozenberg knows how to pivot. A Covid-related layoff from her job at eveningwear and bridal brand THEIA in March meant Rozenberg could finally pursue her years-in-the-making goal of designing and manufacturing sustainable, functional and stylish accessories. Rozenberg launched Naissant out of her apartment in October 2020, with a view towards designing attractive and highly organized pieces to make women’s lives easier - and men’s too, as it turns out.
What made you want to start Naissant?
The idea behind Naissant started after a conversation with my roommate Kelly a few years ago. As she headed off to work with her worn-out simple, basic black tote and a reusable tote she got with a purchase from a store I realized that there was a niche in the market that wasn’t being fulfilled: functional and stylish accessories. I could only find one or the other; there was nothing that would combine both. As a very organized person that is always looking to get the most out of the products I buy, I set out to create a line of accessories that was going to set a new standard in handbags, and be highly functional but also stylish and consciously produced.
What is your fashion background?
Upon graduating from FIT in 2015, I landed an internship at Zac Posen. I then went on to work for the luxury eveningwear brand Marchesa as an Embroidery and Textile Designer followed by a position at the eveningwear and bridal brand THEIA, where I worked until the pandemic hit in March. Naissant officially launched in October 2020, 7 months after I got laid off from my fashion design job.
How did you choose the name?
The word Naissant in French means “rebirth” as well as “evolution”. I wanted my collection to evolve with the user and give the customer the opportunity to customize the ways in which the bags can be worn. In an effort to be more sustainable as a brand, I also wanted my products to have a long life meaning that you can take one bag (such as my Paloma Box Bag) and combine it with our wallet to create a whole new look. Many of the styles are meant to be mixed, matched and interchanged so you can continue using them in new ways and expanding your collection as new products launch. I imagine Naissant as a brand that will be adjusting itself according to how the world and our customers change; I want the brand to be always moving forward.
The eco-friendly practices start initially from the design of the products. All the leathers we use are by-product, vegetable tanned and certified by the Leather Working Group, a group that ensures that the tanneries are compliant with sustainable practices. Our dust bags, hang tags strings and the linings of the bags are made out of 100% organic cotton. All our hardware is nickel free and is coated with 12 kt gold. Our packaging is made out of recycled materials and is 100% recyclable. We also partnered with Carbon Fund Organizationin order to be 100% carbon Neutral.
What are your price points?
We have wallets that start at $95, and our most expensive bag is our Mina, a multifunctional tote, for $485. (Despite its full size, the Mina tote weighs a comfortable 2.1 pounds.)
Where do you sell?
At the moment we are direct-to-consumer sold exclusively on our website, but we are exploring the idea of partnering with online retailers as well as department stores. Even though there's been a huge uptick in online sale for the past several years, competition is also stronger than ever. Thus, brick and mortar and well-known online retailers would help with brand awareness and customer trust.
What are the unique challenges of launching an accessories line during a pandemic?
People’s lives, priorities and interests shifted and their disposable income has decreased. Spending has shifted towards home furnishings, loungewear and other categories that came as a result of always staying home. But when I was designing Naissant’s collection I was fully conscious of the fact that more than ever people need less products that are high quality and more functional, items that will last longer and are versatile. Naissant’s mission is to continue evolving together with the macro trends and our customers' needs.
You donate a portion of your sales to Care.org. Why did you choose this charity? Will this be ongoing?
I was determined to find a partner that shared my values and vision about women’s education, and Care.org was the perfect fit. I wanted an organization that was dedicated to helping girls and women around the world to get out of poverty or unfavorable situations. I saw first-hand how education can help with that. One of the biggest impediments for women to learn is that they have to work in order to support their families, and without education their opportunities are limited.
I strongly believe that women can do anything they set their minds to, and I want Naissant to be a part of that.