Be Your Own Brand with Laudi Vidni

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Launch of Empowers Women to Think Outside the Logo and Design Their Own Perfect Leather Handbag

Empowering women to be their own brand and think outside the logo, the launch of Laudi Vidni, and its online hub, allows women to design a high-quality leather handbag that reflects their own tastes and needs, not those of someone else or a brand name.

"We believe fashion is limitless and the only 'rule' that should be followed is one that says, 'do what you like,'" said Laudi Vidni co-founder Laura Kofoid. "Since a handbag is such a personal expression of a woman, we wondered why so many would let that message be limited by design choices someone else has made. So we created Laudi Vidni."

Changing the way women select a handbag and offering a new and unique fashion option with a sense of exploration,, an innovative Web-based shopping experience, recently launched with eight customizable handbag silhouettes, including a wristlet, clutch, hobo, satchel, two shoulder bags and two generous totes.

After selecting a silhouette, customers choose from 40 imported Italian leathers, ranging from style essentials like patent leather or classic croc, to more daring choices such as "floral velvet," a metallic blue calfskin with a subtle floral pattern of faded gold, greens and purple. Luxurious sateen linings are available in six different colors. Hand-brushed Italian hardware is available in silver and gold. Overall, there are more than 10,000 possible style combinations. To help shoppers in the selection of their handbag, up to six leather and/or lining swatches can be delivered to their home, with the cost taken off the final purchased handbag.

With a sleek and easy-to-use Web site design, showcases every handbag in life-like imagery that can be rotated, magnified and even tried on a mannequin scaled to the customer's height. The unique technology guides shoppers through the process of selecting their desired bag type, exterior leather, lining and hardware. Each step allows them to see what they are designing in detail and, at any point in the process, to save their bag to complete later. Customers can even share their designs with family and friends via a link that can be e-mailed or posted on their social networking pages.

Depending on the silhouette and materials chosen, Laudi Vidni handbags range in price from $85 - $850, with most bags ranging from $225 - $495. Due to the custom nature of the Laudi Vidni handbag, each piece takes three to four weeks for delivery. Laudi Vidni ships anywhere in the world.

With the power of design in the hands of the consumer, Laudi Vidni hopes to inspire women to create a handbag that reflects their own style, not someone else's brand. Co-founder Grace Tsao-Wu believes that "designer labels aren't always a sign of good design. Good design comes from a combination of strong styling and functionality -- as defined by each individual woman."

--Bringing Laudi Vidni to Life--

Prior to forming Laudi Vidni, both founders had a long history of business and personal success. Together, these Harvard Business School graduates bring to the company a unique combination of business know-how, fashion savvy and personal style.

Inspiring the company name, a take on the word "individual," both women have made their own paths in life. Tsao-Wu left Colorado to attend the University of California at Berkeley, and went on to be a successful CPA with Price Waterhouse. After receiving her MBA, she worked in brand management at Kraft Foods. In 1994 she founded Tabula Tua, Chicago's premier tabletop store, which also has a successful wholesale and e-commerce division.

Kofoid graduated from the University of Illinois and then went on to a career in brand management at Proctor & Gamble. Following business school, she set her sights on the retail industry. Her retail track record includes building businesses across a variety of companies including Dayton Hudson Department Stores, Sears, Chiasso and Baker Furniture.

Five years ago, in search of new opportunities and a business to build, the duo came together to leverage their mutual passion for retail and good design. In time, the right option came along when another entrepreneur shared his idea for a customized leather handbag business -- and agreed to sell his plan to them for $1. "We immediately fell in love with the spirit of the idea, which evolved much further under our influence before becoming Laudi Vidni," said Kofoid.

The concept of allowing women to create a fine handbag that reflects their own personal style and functionality received great feedback from everyone Tsao-Wu and Kofoid reached out to in their mission to launch the company. However, after talking with more than 40 manufacturers around the world, they were told that it simply could not be done. Manufacturing a handbag with numerous customizable options -- essentially making one bag at a time -- was too great a logistical challenge. After receiving over 40 "no's," the team persisted and eventually formed a partnership with a Chicago-based manufacturer, and Laudi Vidni began to come to life.

"We believe the idea that a 'logo is status' is nonsense," said Tsao-Wu. "We invite women to design a handbag that announces themselves. If you like it, go for it. That's fashion, and that's what Laudi Vidni is all about."


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Laura Kofoid
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