Over the Past 20-plus years, 28-time Grammy winner Beyoncé has had the golden touch. Almost anything she co-signs, from music to movies to businesses to fashion, when she says something is hot — the beehive swarms and brands benefit.
Just ask Black-owned brand Telfar.
Already an exclusive rite of passage for “It” fashionistas across the world, Telfar got a mega boost by Beyoncé’s mere mention of the designer pocketbook on her new project, “Renaissance.”
Telfar Clemens, the Queens, New York, native and Liberian-American company owner and designer couldn’t have asked for a more impactful endorsement. Clemens is already a smart business owner with a net worth estimated at $9 million, having turned his handbag brand into a must-have and exclusive fashion statement.
According to Vogue Business, Queen Bey uttered the line “This Telfar bag imported, Birkins, them sh-t’s in storage,” in the “Summer Renaissance” lyrics, she created a buying frenzy for people of all races for the independent Black-owned business.
Telfar bags seemed to become instantly in demand.
Vogue noted, “views of Telfar items on resale platform TheRealReal spiked 85 percent globally on the day Beyoncé’s album was released, compared with the day before.”
“Similarly, on luxury resale site Fashionphile, Telfar searches, page views and ‘add to bag’ jumped 47 percent,” Fashionphile’s data analyst Rachel Koenig said.
In fact, it stated searches for “Telfar” peaked over “Birkin bag” for five hours straight on Saturday, July 30, the day after “Renaissance” dropped on all major streaming platforms.
This is not the first nod that the “Dangerously in Love ” singer put her fans up on Teflar. On Thursday, July 8, 2021, she posted a series of images of herself rocking a white Telfar’s Shopping Bag — which retails for $150 to $300 — on her Instagram to her 271 million followers.
Boosting a Black-Owned Business
Brandice Daniel, CEO of Harlem’s Fashion Row, an advocacy agency for designers of color that connects them with retailers, shared that what Beyoncé did speaks to a larger movement in the Black community of owning and recirculating their fashion dollars.
Daniel said, “It’s not [just] a trend. In my own community, my friends and family place more value on Black-owned brands than mainstream brands. The events of 2020 made us realize [that] if we want to win as a culture, we have to support each other.”
“[Beyoncé is] one of the few celebrities that’s always used her platform to promote Black designers from Sammy B to Christopher John Rogers to Telfar,” she said.
The Telfar Story
With less than 15 years on the market, experts commend Telfar for its rise, adding one of the attractions is that it is presented as a unisex bag, according to theFashionLaw.com.
Clemens, a winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2017, said creating “the bag was actually the first thing we did with the money [we received] from winning” the prestigious award, originally focusing on the vegan bag.
“It sold out immediately. Then we made more, and they sold out in a weekend. And again, a third time,” Clemens said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that between 2018 and 2019, the brand made over half a million just by selling 5,000 bags with only 28 brick-and-mortar stores selling it. The website was also the main distribution channel for the emerging bag brand. Now, the annual sales over the past two years are over $1.6 million.
The “It” Bag
WSJ’s Ray Alex Smith said, “How Telfar stood out in a market awash in designer bags reveals the evolution of the concept of the ‘It’ bag.”
One thing that makes it an “It” bag is how difficult it is to get.
Its exclusivity, which is ironic since the tagline for the company is “not for you — for everyone,” is linked to a few factors: influencer chatter, and supply & demand.
Celebrities before Beyoncé tagged it as a must-have. In 2020, Oprah Winfrey named it one of her “favorite things,” leading to a rush in sales on the site.
The “Today” show covered the phenomenon around the bags’ release dates and noted, despite the luxury bag being very affordable, certain bags are only available on the site during the initial drop. The brand once tried working with Amazon, but when it placed a few bags on the largest retailer in the world, they sold out immediately.
How to Get Your ‘Bushwick Birkin‘
Dubbed the “Bushwick Birkin,” there are tips on how to get your hands on the bag — even if you’re not Beyoncé, Oprah, or the other elite pocketbook rockers:
- Clemen’s team has developed the next Bag Security Program, a limited-time event in which those who want a Shopping Bag are guaranteed to get one in any size, color, and quantity and the brand will custom-make them based on their budget. The catch? You have to wait about 6 months for your order The last one happened on AprIl 14 from 9 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., and so many are waiting for the next time the BSP becomes available.
- The other way is to subscribe to the website, the Instagram page, or the Telfar TV app to get the announcements regarding restocks, upcoming Bag Security Program events, or regular drops.
- The next drop is Monday, Aug. 8 starting at noon. If you want the bag that is on the lips of the coolest of the cool, click here, and good luck!