23rd annual Pizzazz to be held at Fox Chapel Golf Club to offer unique merchandise
Daniella Ortiz would spend most of her paycheck as director of development and fundraising at Nova Southeastern University in Florida on handbags.
Her co-workers and friends and family members often noticed the designer purses on her arm. So when she traveled to her home country of Argentina she would come back with several styles for them.
On one return trip, an idea came to her.
Why not design and sell a handbag collection?
So that’s what she did. She and her husband Alfredo Ortiz, who was a manager of one of the largest advertising companies in Argentina, teamed to start the Daniella Ortiz collection 14 years ago. Based in Palm Beach, Fla., it’s a luxury handbag and accessories company that uses the finest leathers, including ostrich, crocodile, lizard and genuine skins, catering to the high-end market.
“I invested most of my salary in good bags,” Ortiz says. “I would go to an event or a gala and women would love my bags. I believe when a woman finds the right bag it will make her happy. ”
Daniella Ortiz Design will be one of 34 vendors -- 19 new ones -- at the 23rd annual Pizzazz, an annual shopping event Oct. 24-26 at the Fox Chapel Golf Club.
“They are all hand-crafted from Grade-A exotic skins and the best leather like those Hermes and Chanel bags,” Ortiz says. “We do very high-end work, and our customers love all the colors we offer. They identify us in the luxury market.”
What is Pizzazz?
Pizzazz offers a unique assortment of merchandise not otherwise available in Pittsburgh. These exclusive boutiques encompass the east coast, Midwest and California, offering items such as handbags, jewelry, clothing, footwear, holiday ornaments, and eyewear at various price points.
Pizzazz is presented by the Garden Club of Allegheny County and has raised more than $1.2 million since its inception, with proceeds supporting conservation, environmental, preservation and horticultural projects throughout Allegheny County.
“I am really looking forward to Pizzazz,” says Ortiz, who does 58 shows between October and May and also has stores in Palm Beach, Fla. and inside the renowned Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. “I have heard about Pizzazz and what a wonderful show it is.”
Vendor co-chair Wendy Mitchell says Ortiz’s purses are beautifully made using different and exotic leathers that will definitely please the Pizzazz customers.
“She is an exciting addition to Pizzazz,” says Mitchell.
Vendor co-chair Mary Alice Hennessey agrees.
“I have seen her things,” Hennessey says. “I am at a loss for what to say -- Daniella has a fabulous selection of bags. There are all different styles and sizes. They are beautifully made and quite unique.”
About the line
Ortiz describes the collection as “colorful and fun.” She named one of the bags after their 6-year-old daughter, Delsina. The couple, who live in Palm Beach, Fla., also has a son Lucas, 9.
“Our bags sell well, so we are asked to come back,” Ortiz says. “We were invited to Pizzazz and we were able to come this year. This will be my first time in Pittsburgh so I can’t wait to be there.”
She says there are times she sells $30,000 to $70,000 at a show and gives 15 to 20 percent of the proceeds to charity. She is involved with 40 charities from the ballet to the heart ball. She says while she enjoys designing handbags and it’s been an amazing business, being able to support those in need is the most rewarding.
“It feels so good to give back,” she says. “And I really love to do shows which benefit others. I love meeting all of the people and talking to them about my bags. It’s a joy to help them find the bag that they love, because if they don’t love it, it will end up in the closet. We want them to carry it, because a fun handbag adds to an outfit. It becomes a conversation piece.”
She says the handbag business is more than a job. It’s been an amazing journey where she’s met some amazing customers, who become friends, including former First Lady Laura Bush.
She wrote a thank you to Ortiz.
“I have the prettiest purse in Dallas thanks to you! You’re a generous friend and I am sincerely grateful. Come see us if you’re ever in Dallas. In the meantime I send lots of love and thanks.”
Most leather bags cost between $295 and $595, while the exotics run $695 to $1,400. She also creates sterling silver jewelry in the $255 to $500 range.
“People will invest in a bag if it’s well made because it will stand the test of time,” says Ortiz. “It’s like diamonds but not at the price of diamonds. These are bags you can pass on to your daughter and granddaughter. They are timeless and classic and elegant. These bags are not for everyone, but once they own one they become addicted.”