An Insider's Look at InsidersNY

comments (3) June 26th, 2008     

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MichaelaMurphy Michaela Murphy, contributor
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InsidersNY has a a wide assortment of bag styles and a catalogue of image choices (good luck choosing.)
Sigal de-Mayo and Fabio Otalora show off the hot bags and accessories from their company InsidersNY.
This mini-skirt changed my life.
This messenger bag is a knockout in Italian leather.
Here are two bags from the Insiders Paris line.
InsidersNY has a a wide assortment of bag styles and a catalogue of image choices (good luck choosing.)

InsidersNY has a a wide assortment of bag styles and a catalogue of image choices (good luck choosing.)

Photo: Gregg Snodgrass

A few years back I lived above Sammy's Deli in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. One night I was in there trying to decide what to get for dinner when I saw this beautiful woman standing by the juice cooler and she was wearing the coolest mini skirt that I had ever seen. It was not as if I had been thinking about how I needed a leather mini skirt, yet the instant I laid eyes on this one it felt as if the end to my unconscious quest had ended here at last—the mini skirt of my dreams. This skirt had a red leather back panel and the front panel was a collage of NYC images. It was amazing and I just had to have it. So I went up to this woman and gushingly asked her where she got it. When she smiled and told me that she made it, I practically begged her to please make one for me too and that's when she told me that she made bags, gloves, belts, and journals all featuring the wildly fantastic urban imagery of NYC. I was so excited I was practically shaking—I love discovering things like this. The woman introduced herself as Sigal and told me that she lived right across the street. I introduced myself and we talked for a long until like two six-year-olds we decided: "Let's be friends!"

A few days later I was in her at-home studio (her business has since grown and she now has a studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard) where she and her fab husband, Fabio, produced the entire line for their company, InsidersNY. I was fascinated. Not only did their line have a bold and hip visual appeal, but each beautifully made item had an extraordinary high quality given the range of products and two-person production team.

Sigal explained that when she first came to New York from her homeland, Israel, she applied her graphics design degree toward a career in advertising. Feeling a little creatively stiffled, she started a company called InsidersNY, which was originally a New York City tour guide service, helping tourists to discover the underground, offbeat, insider's New York. The company was instantly successful, and Sigal began taking pictures of her adopted city to use for advertisement. From there Sigal began making T-shirts with heat transfers of her images, and then seeking a more upscale product to offer her clientele she started to experiment with processes to tranfer her images onto leather bags. The InsidersNY product line took off, and Sigal was making bags and accessories while the touring business fell to the wayside.

It was during this time that Sigal met her love, Fabio, and they were married. Fabio discovered that he was a natural for business management and production and while he took over that side of things, Sigal was free to create. Production grew so quickly that InsidersNY began to turn over some production to overseas manufacture, however quality control became an issue. This was resolved with the decision to move all production to Fort Greene and the beautiful Brooklyn Navy Yard.

InsidersNY's main line of bags and accessories features the witty and wonderful landscape of urban New York, however the customized line is gaining steam with Insiders Paris, Las Vegas, and Italy, and huge conglomerates like Coca-Cola have ordered special images and products to hip up their brand. Personally, I am waiting to hear about the possibility of a shoe line (keep your fingers crossed).

Just two weeks ago I was in Seattle and I wandered into some store and there was an InsidersNY bag hanging up on display. I immediately called my boyfriend, who, it just so happens, Sigal fixed me up with (he has done a lot of the photography for Insiders). Who knew that the gorgeous mini-skirt-wearing woman in the deli would prove to be my matchmaker? Or that a fashion rush in a deli would change my life? By really, isn't that what we all love about NYC?

posted in: accessories, bags, insidersny

Comments (3)

mesehr writes: Hi,

Love these designs. In 2006 I purchased a Italian leather belt with silver round buckles, with the Imagine new york image. It is so amazing. Unfortunately, I've never worn it. I'd love to know its value and possibly sell it to a collector of this art. It seems the company is not offering the belts any longer.

Let me know if you or anyone you know may be interested.

[email protected]
Posted: 11:34 pm on January 2nd
MichaelaMurphy writes: Yes, you can get those gloves at they are available in several incredible styles. Have fun!
Posted: 9:38 pm on June 26th
MaeveQ writes: Wow! This stuff is so cool. I love those gloves. Can I get this stuff on their site? Can I pick out which image too? Beautiful work.
Posted: 3:35 pm on June 26th
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