This week, Emirates Woman spoke to Elza Wandler, founder of the incredibly luxe leather bag and accessory brand, Wandler.

Welcome to the Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and business women both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

Elza Wandler’s namesake brand, Wandler has solidified its status as an A-lister favourite, street style staple and innovative newcomer in the fashion industry.

THE OUTNET now has an exclusive, upcycled capsule in partnership luxury leather goods brand, Wandler. This exclusive 16-piece collection focuses on beautifully crafted leather handbags and shoes. Her namesake brand is committed to redefining craftsmanship, with an expertise and passion in leather, with the capsule being a true reflection of Wandler’s visual identity and message.

From playful mini and crossbody bags made with responsibly sourced leather of the highest quality,
the collection will be available globally on The Outnet from today, June 25, 2024.

To delve into her journey more, Emirates Woman understood how it all began and learned about how Wandler innovates season after season.

What was your first job?

My very first job, when I was about 14-15 years old, was working in the blueberry fields in my town. It taught me the value of hard work from an early age. During high school, I worked at a fashion boutique, which sparked my interest in the fashion industry. However, it was through my official first job after my studies that I really learned what it took to build a brand. As a designer for the ‘Made & Crafted’ line at Levi’s, I saw the entire spectrum from sourcing materials and branding to marketing and sales. It was an invaluable learning experience that provided me with the right tools to understand what is needed to build a fashion brand.



What inspired you to launch Wandler?

I always wanted to have my own brand. I started with handbags because I love their sculptural and architectural qualities. Their bold shapes and colours are my canvas to play with.

What are the key elements of your role?

As the founder and creative director, I am involved in every aspect of the brand. I work closely with my team on designing the collections, branding, and content creation, overseeing production, managing business operations, and ensuring that our brand vision is consistently represented.

Talk us through your daily routine.

I start my morning by waking up and drinking lemon water with sea salt. Then, I practice mindfulness and write half a page of notes in my notebook. After that, I get my daily coffee from a place around the corner and walk to the office, which is just a five-minute walk from my home. I love that I can walk to work. No day is the same in the office, and since I travel a lot for work, I try to savour the moments when I’m there. I begin the day with meetings with my team, including content brainstorms and planning sessions, working on new designs, and doing research for upcoming collections. In between, I walk my dogs, which is the perfect excuse to go outside and get some fresh air. To wind down, I love to cook if I have time, take a yin yoga class, read a book before bed, and go to bed early to prepare for the next day.

What are some of the pieces the brand sells?

Wandler is known for its high-quality Italian-made handbags, bold in shape and colour, each named after people who inspire me, including family and friends. The Hortensia bag, named after my mother-in-law in honour of her, is the first and most recognizable shape for the brand. It gained recognition when Lady Gaga wore it during Pride, it was just 3 months after launching the brand in stores. That was an insane moment. Other popular styles include the Carly Mini, named after my best friend in high school, and the Georgia, named after stylist and friend Georgia Tall. These two styles will be reintroduced in THE OUTNET capsule, which I am very excited about. Handbags are the core of our business, but we have also expanded into the footwear category. The most popular style in this category is the Isa family, which has been worn by celebrities like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, and Beyoncé.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

My advice would be to stay true to your vision and not be afraid to take risks. The fashion industry is very competitive, so it’s important to differentiate yourself and offer something unique. Also, be prepared to work hard and stay resilient, as there will be challenges along the way.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? And what is the worst?

The best piece of advice I ever received was to trust my instincts and believe in my creative vision. On the other hand, the worst advice was to play it safe and stick to conventional designs. Authenticity and creativity are what drive the fashion industry forward.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

One of the biggest challenges was establishing the brand in a crowded market. It took a lot of persistence and hard work to get our name out there and build a loyal customer base. Managing the rapid growth of the company while maintaining our quality and vision has been a challenge, but it’s also very rewarding if you keep fighting for the best outcome possible. In the end, my drive to create my own world is the reason why I do this, and that passion has helped me overcome many obstacles along the way.

Wandler brand

How does it feel to have launched on THE OUTNET – tell us more.

It feels incredible to have launched on THE OUTNET. This partnership allows us to bring our beloved styles back to life and offer them to a wider audience. THE OUTNET’s platform gives customers the freedom to explore and appreciate our designs at their own pace. I’m thrilled to see our archived styles reimagined in new colours and to continue our commitment to sustainability by utilizing stock leather. We’re excited about the opportunities this collaboration brings.

What are your goals for the future?

Looking ahead, we aim to continue growing the brand while staying true to our core values of quality, craftsmanship, and with a strong emphasis on colour. Accessories will always be at the core of what we do, but we want to continue to build the Wandler world beyond that. We envision crossovers with interior design and the art world, something I can’t wait to explore more in the coming years.

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Images: Supplied