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Vince Is ‘Hitting Pause’ On Its Handbag Business

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Less than two years after Vince launched its handbag collection, the brand is "hitting pause" on that category, company executives said on a webcast Tuesday afternoon while reporting 2015's financial results.

Why the freeze? Execs explained that the simple leather bags just didn't represent the ready-to-wear side of the brand, which has been in the midst of its own creative overhaul ever since Vince re-hired its previously departed co-founders, Rea Laccone and Christopher LaPolice, as product and merchandising consultants this November. And it was undoubtedly more than just an aesthetic incongruity: Vince's sales dropped 11.1 percent in 2015, from $340.4 million during 2014 to $302.5 million. One might suppose that bag sales factored into that slump.

Vince isn't giving up on the category, though. The team is currently looking to hire a dedicated handbag designer and is rethinking its price point, which currently ranges from $75 for a "croc key pouch" to $225 for a little leather crossbody with a notched closure and $595 for a larger tote. That's actually a slight revision of its handbags' pricing when they originally launched in November 2014. At that time they slid all the way up to $845.

Unlike that repositioning, the move this time is to stop marketing, revamp the thing, and relaunch. Here's to new beginnings.