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An Inside Look into the Luxury Handbag World with Nordstrom Top Seller Peggy Urban

There is lots of chatter these days around luxury handbags.  What are the hot bags?  How do I get them?  Why are they so expensive? What do I look for? How do I store them? Who better to answer these questions than Peggy Urban, Nordstrom’s Luxury Specialist and TOP SELLER of luxury handbags!

Peggy lives and breathes Nordstrom and luxury, and she’s done so for 42 years. She’s opened Nordstrom stores across the country, managed the Faconnable line of clothing, outfitted women in THE top designers, and in 1990 started her illustrious handbag career in the Bellevue (across the lake from Seattle) store, back when the big purse brands were Dooney & Bourke, Bally, Coach, and HCL.  She was even on the front line when Kate Spade launched her famous boxy, black nylon tote in 1992.  Do you remember that?!

When Nordstrom opened its new flagship store in Seattle in 1998, Peggy was tapped to be Nordstrom’s first-ever designer specialist in handbags. Since then, she has sold millions of dollars of handbags to tens of thousands of customers across the world. She has a legendary client base, as well as a fun social media presence on Facebook (Peggy Urban Nordstrom Seattle Designer Handbags), Instagram (Peggyurban_nordstrom_seattle), and TikTok (peggy_nordstrom) where she keeps her fans posted on all the latest luxury finds as well as some super special deals, only available through her.

I (Jo) was lucky enough to spend a morning with Peggy, dishing on designer handbags. She even used her special skills to pick out the perfect handbag for me (read on for the big reveal). Peggy’s contact info is at the end of the interview and she would love to help you find your perfect bags!


OK, I have to ask.  What’s the most expensive handbag you’ve ever sold?

$65,000!  It was a Chanel Exotic.  It was 15 years ago. (Note: in December 2018, Chanel announced that they planned to no longer create products made from snakes, crocodiles, lizards, and stingrays because of ethical issues).

What are your favorite bags?

Bottega Veneta:  No labels, no hardware, handmade in a small atelier.  They are elevated and truly luxurious.  You can use them for the office or for travel.  They are made from one piece of leather!

The Row:  The Margaux, available in 4 sizes – 10, 12, 15, 17. They never hit the floor – they are sold before the store opens.

Loewe:  These bags are unique. They are art.  They are huge in Europe and Asia and are going nuts in the US.

And I think the most stunning bags in the luxury world are the Lady Dior collections from Christian Dior.

How do you know what handbag to recommend to a customer?

I start by asking questions.  What are you looking for?  Do you need a bag for travel?  Are you a mom?  Do you work and need to carry a laptop?  Do you need the bag to zip?  Do you want a cross-body? Do you want a logo?  Are you a minimalist? Are you looking for understated luxury?  Louis Vuitton and Celine both offer bold branding or logo-less luxury, respectively. And if you are looking for “quiet luxury” I would refer you to The Row, Bottega, and Loewe – virtually no branding, but their craftsmanship and art is their logo, which stands alone.

Why do people buy luxury bags?  

Some people buy them as an investment – they know the value of the Chanel classic flap bag and know it will increase in value every year. Some customers buy pieces to hand down – they are heirloom pieces.  Some people even buy bags and don’t wear them!

How do you balance offering classic, timeless pieces with more trendy pieces?

I think it really depends on what the customer wants. I think if you are going to spend money on a handbag, you should get something unique. I look at handbags as art. I call them wedding cakes. Look for beautiful leather, and unique designs – not mainstream. Look for beautiful hardware, bling, rhinestones, or studding.

What details are important in a luxury handbag?

I look for craftsmanship.  I look for finished edges.  I look at the lining – the bag should be luxe inside and out.  Look at the hardware – it needs to be solid brass or gunmetal – you don’t want the hardware to change color. I look at the leather – Celine uses full-grain hide leather which is amazing.

How can you spot a fake?

I can usually tell at a glance, just by the silhouette, design, faux leather, color, hardware, and quality.

How do you stay in the know about trends?

I work very closely with the head handbag buyer. I’m one text away. I follow trends on social media. I have the Vogue app downloaded on my phone. I stay updated on changes in the fashion world and follow the creative directors and learn what their inspirations are with each collection as they’re launched.  And I watch the runway shows – those are really fun!

What do you think about BIG bags? And really small bags?

There is something for everyone.  If you are commuting or traveling you need a big bag.  Everything is a lifestyle choice!

What do you think about black bags?  

I feel like black is a dime a dozen, always available, and utilitarian.  If you’re going to spend money on a black bag, it should be a showstopping piece or one that fills a hole in your handbag wardrobe.  If you’re going to spend on luxury goods, buy a color that you absolutely love, that’s unique, and sparks joy when you look at it.  Usually if you buy a color that you love, it will be timeless, and incorporate nicely into your wardrobe.

What bag would you suggest for the first-time luxury handbag buyer?

The Chloe Marci is your tried and true weekend wear, durable luxury, great stepping stone for getting started into luxury.  It’s for daughters in college, travelers, and busy moms. Jacquemas has soft and easy entry level price points with elevated fashion.

What are the hot brands?

My number one request is The RowCelineLoewe is through the roof.  Christian Louboutin. Tom Ford – can’t keep him in stock! The Row and others (Hermes) limit production – they want the bags to be hard to get.

What bags do you carry?

I change my bag daily.  Today I’m carrying a vintage Gucci in anthracite silver. If I see a photo in a magazine of a bag I have, I cut it out and keep it in the bag. I also like YSL and I travel with Chloe.

What length strap is good for a handbag?:

26” is good for a crossbody so it fits over a winter coat. Your handbag should land above or below the hip, and it should be shorter for evening.

What is the best way to store a handbag?

I keep mine stuffed.  I put stuffing inside a dust bag and put that inside the bag when I’m not using it.  That makes it easy to switch out the stuffing when I switch bags.  And then I always put a dust bag around a bag when not in use.

What is the best way to maintain a handbag?

Leather is a skin.  You need to clean, hydrate, and restore it just as you would your own skin!  I recommend Cadillac Boot & Shoe Leather Lotion from Amazon.  You can use it on any leather bags or shoes (don’t use it on suede or nubuck) and you can’t overuse it.  It is water-based, not oil-based.  Oil would be bad.  Spend 5 minutes in front of the tv and maintain your leather goods!

 

What are your TOP 5 Iconic handbags?

Chanel Classic Flap

Celine 16

YSL Loulou

Prada Galleria: 

Christian Dior Lady Dior:

Louis Vuitton Capucine:

Bottega Veneta Cassette:

What are your Top 5 Current Handbags?

The Row Margaux:


Celine Conti Tote:


Loewe Puzzle:

Louis Vuitton On the Go Tote:

Tom Ford:

What are the key handbags by occasion:

Daytime:

Chanel Classic Flap in Caviar:

Gucci Marmont:


YSL Lou Camera:Nighttime:

Bottega Knot:
Tote:

The Row Margaux:

Valentino Rockstud Tote:Christian Louboutin Cabata:

Travel:

Prada Nylon:

From here I asked Peggy to pick a bag for me!  I was carrying a square tote because I was working and had file folders and a notebook.  Peggy asked me what items I carry with me when I’m not working and I showed her my phone and my wallet.  I told her I like a cross-body.  She marched me over to the YSL boutique and showed me the YSL Lou Camera bag in dark beige.  She said I should not get black.  I tried it on and she was correct – it was the perfect bag for me! Now I just need to save my pennies!

Looking for help to find the perfect handbag?  Contact Peggy through text (425-246-0347), email (Peggy.Urban@Nordstrom.com), social media (Facebook: Peggy Urban Nordstrom Seattle Designer Handbags, Instagram: Peggyurban_nordstrom_seattle, and TikTok: peggy_nordstrom), or calling her department at 206-628-1255. Her hours are Monday through Friday 10 to 5 in the downtown Seattle store.

1 thought on “An Inside Look into the Luxury Handbag World with Nordstrom Top Seller Peggy Urban”

  1. I love the so much! Peggy has been my handbag go to expert for more than 2 decades. I have been a loyal customer all of these years. I love her and always shop with her. I refer her to all of my friends and family. Thanks Peggy.

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Chrissie and Joanne love discovering, curating and creating. They developed FabList as a place to share their favorite finds with you.

1 thought on “An Inside Look into the Luxury Handbag World with Nordstrom Top Seller Peggy Urban”

  1. I love the so much! Peggy has been my handbag go to expert for more than 2 decades. I have been a loyal customer all of these years. I love her and always shop with her. I refer her to all of my friends and family. Thanks Peggy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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