By Miriam Landru
Photography by: Ben Applebaum, http://www.applebaumphotography.com/
One of the hottest new Southern designers on the scene hails from Fayetteville. Regina Cristina White, a Seventy-First High School graduate was one of the winners of the 2013 Belk Southern Designer contest.
White’s handbag line, Cristina Bijou will be featured in select high grossing Belk department stores in March.
How did your parents encourage you along the way?
My dad has always encouraged me to think ahead, be strategic and always have a plan for the future. This is something that has stuck with me and definitely helped me get to this point in my career. He is an entrepreneur, so watching him over the years be successful at what he does definitely motivated me to start my own business. My mom helped me get a start early on. She bought me my first sewing machine at age 12.
When did you start designing your handbags?
I started in 2005 while I was living in Charlotte attending The Art Institute. I had a huge industrial sewing machine that literally took up half the space of my living room.
What inspires your style?
I’m very inspired by color. I really love to create designs that stand out through silhouette and color… not so much embellishment.
Why did you enter the Belk Southern Designer contest?
A friend of mine sent me an e-mail and told me I should consider entering. It was really a no brainer for me. I felt like it would be the opportunity of a lifetime!
How do you balance family and your design career?
Well, it’s definitely not easy! I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I just try to ease work into my daily schedule whenever I can. I’m still learning to manage it all.
So…what’s in your Cristina Bijou bag?
Everything under the sun! Make-up, money, my kids stuff, a back-up charter, work materials…you name it…I got it!
Where do you see your brand going in the future?
I would like to see my brand continue to grow and expand my business. I’d also like to help other like-minded individuals in the fashion industry bring their dreams to light. It was not an easy process and I went through a lot of trial and error. I’d love to help others so that they can see that it actually can happen if you stick with and never give up on your vision!