Kalsi has something unique: purses with interchangeable "guitar straps," each one handpainted with Kalsi's artwork.
In August, Kalsi showed the purses at WWDMagic, an international women's clothes and accessories trade show in Las Vegas, where they caught the eye of David Neri, executive vice president and general merchandise manager Michael Kors Handbags. for Belk department stores, a Charlotte, N.C.-based chain of 303 stores, most in the South and Southeast.
Neri invited Kalsi and Jennifer Jaudon, who handles marketing and daily operations, to come to Charlotte in October, where they pitched the bags to buyers. A few days later, Belk placed an order. They would take 4,000.
Kalsi's entire stock was no more than 30.
"I was shocked," Kalsi said. "My head was spinning. All I could think about was how am I going to get all this together?" She thought the chain, if it took her bags, would do a small test run first.
Neri, who spoke by phone while traveling, said such a big Michael Kors Outlet. introduction for an unknown designer was unusual. "But we just thought this product looked so good, it warranted a bigger start," he said.
The colors and quality of the leather impressed him, "but the big draw was the interchangeable straps," he said. "She individually designs all those straps. They are handpainted on. There is nothing else like it in the industry."