Don't beat yourself up if you haven't heard of Samantha Thavasa. The luxury-cute handbag line only has one store in the United States (965 Madison Avenue, NYC). Their market? Japan, where they have over 160 stores.
Samantha Thavasa was founded in 1994 by its CEO and president Kazumasa Terada, and Tinsley Mortimer designs a subcollection of bags for them. It's a smart move on both parts -- Tinsley certainly knows fashion, and Samantha Thavasa's target audience, young Japanese girls, love American socialites and celebrities. Previous ad campaigns have featured the Hilton sisters, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Solange, and Brit social queen Victoria Beckham.
Last Wednesday night, Mortimer hosted a benefit at Samantha Thavasa for Shiba Inu Rescue. NYC Shiba Rescue is a two-year-old non profit which provides foster homes for abused Shibas (a trendy Japanese breed) and finds them new owners across the tri-state area. We asked NYCSR president Zennia Barahona how the benefit came about:
Zennia Barahona: [Samantha Thavasana] contacted us. They wanted to do a fundraiser for a New York based organization, but on the other hand, they wanted to be able to do something that also coincided with their Japanese roots. We're able to get the word out about Shiba and other pure bred rescue, and people get to shop, so it's a great thing!
Luxist: Why pure breds?
ZB: When most people want a specific pure-bred dog, they think to go to a pet store, and we want to discourage people from doing that. We're really trying to educate people about puppy mills, and the dangers of that. But we also take in shiba mixes. We love them as well. If you want to get a dog, especially a pure-bred, definitely look at rescue and see if there's a dog that fits your lifestyle.
L: And what are Shiba Inus like?
ZB: Shibas can be quite aloof. They're very loyal to their humans but they can be aloof. They can be stubborn. They're very intelligent, very sweet -- their intelligence can lend itself to a great relationship, but it can also lead to training problems.
Ha! We love dogs with a little spirit. Click here if you're interested in adopting or becoming a foster home. Next we chatted with Ms. Mortimer about her designs, dogs, Japan, and how she feels like she's working for Disneyworld! Click through the gallery for photos of the fete, the bags, and the dogs, and to read our exclusive interview.