bye bye bendel's...

8 years ago I started a hair accessory line...mila rose designs...never thinking that one day it might end up being sold in New York City, on 5th Ave, at one of the most iconic accessory stores in the world.  To be honest, I didn't really know that much about Henri Bendel except that Blair kept going there on Gossip Girl so obvi it had to be a big deal.  Little did I know that Bendel's was where many designers got their start...including Coco Chanel...and soon...me.

So one day, a few months after I started making headbands at my kitchen table in hopes that maybe someone would buy one on etsy that wasn't my mom...thanks mom by the way...I got a message from a girl named Chanel...yes that was really her name...who worked at Bendel's and asked if I would be interested in coming to NYC to do a trunk show with my line.  And I literally just laughed because at this point I had only sold a handful of headbands, had only been on a plane once in my life, and had no clue if this girl was even real or not.  So what did I do?  I put together some over the top hair accessories, hopped on a plane, and off to New York I went.  
It honestly was such a surreal experience.  To be in this city so full of life and to have a chance to share my designs with people from all over the world was just crazy!  Now before Bendel's carried just their own brand name, they were known for bringing in new designers.  Twice a year they would have an event where new designers had the opportunity to stand in line and meet with the buyers for a chance to have a trunk show, with the hopes of the store someday carrying their line.  Well somehow the HB gods were looking down on me because after my first trunk show the store ended up carrying my line for several years.  
I mean seriously how insane is that?  Never in a million years did I think my hair accessories would be sold next to Jennifer Behr or Colette Malouf and people would actually be buying them!  To this day I still don't think it has fully sunk it that that actually happened.  I still remember that very first trunk show when HB still had a "hair room"...you guys it was a huge room dedicated to hair accessories and all I could think was holy shit, why would anyone want anything that I made when they could have their choice of all of these pretty things....but they did...and it was such an amazing feeling.  So I continued to get wholesale orders while making yearly trips to NYC to do more trunk shows.  



And then Bendel's decided to just carry it's own brand of accessories...but my that didn't slow down my love for the store.  It had given me such a sense of pride and pushed me to create more pretty pieces that would end up in various magazines and on several seasons of Hart of Dixie on the CW.  And even though I was no longer doing trunk shows I still made yearly trips to my new fave city and my first stop was always Henri Bendel.  So when I got back from NYC this past September, I found out that this iconic store was closing after 123 years and my heart broke.  This was the place that helped me create some of the most amazing memories.  It gave me permission to be over the top and embrace it!  It showed me that you can follow your dreams and they can come true and be even better than you imagined.  It introduced me to so many amazing people.  It made me fearless.  It made me brave.  It made me, me...and for that I will forever be thankful.  
So once I found out the sad news I did what any Bendel Girl would do...I packed my bags and hopped back on that plane to say goodbye to the place that will always hold a special place in my heart.  I mean, I named my dog after this store so of course I had to go back one last time!  And it was so bittersweet...to see this place that was once so full of some of the most beautiful things, practically empty.  But I got to say my final farewell and thank the store for all that it did for me.  And I managed to snag two HB hat boxes which was the perfect farewell present to myself.
So thank you Henri Bendel.  Thank you for giving me a home in NYC.  Thank you for embracing my creativity.  Thank you for letting me sparkle.  Thank you for opening your doors and showing me a world I didn't know I needed but now can't live without.  Thank you for letting me dream big.  Thank you for letting me be me...a #bendelgirl.  










 photo 6ecd2016-a0b2-4779-91c9-7ab27737b07b_zpsa031f7e1.jpg

No comments