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HERE’S What Happened to B. Makowsky Handbags (2023 update)

There was a time when you couldn’t go around hanging a Louis Vuitton bag down your shoulders. Because the brand didn’t exist. 

The fashion industry birthed along with the rise of civilizations. Our perception of fashion changes every decade. But for what it’s worth, people always love to adorn themselves with the best.

But what was the best, most reliable brand for handbags before the modern trend-setters took to the stage? For those of you who don’t know, there is much to learn about B. Makowsky. 

But what is B Makowsky? Truth be told, the answer isn’t as simple as the question. It could be a person or a brand; depends on the context of the question. 

For this article, let’s just assume it’s both – people and brand. 

The Holy Fashion Trinity

The Makowsky family built a fashion empire in New York City by selling luxurious and designer handbags. The brand started with Bruce Makowsky and his wife, Kathy Van Zeeland. 

Together, they set up a vast business, selling handbags and shoes for more than three decades through 3 separate flagship labels – B. Makowsky, Kathy Van Zeeland Handbags, and Tignanello. 

With this new information, you must be better equipped to understand the ultimate question – is B. Makowsky a person or a thing?

Well, it’s both. Bruce Makowsky started a brand after his name and shortened it to B Makowsky. 

Over time, it became one of the hottest chains in the United States, selling handbags and other fashion items through 1,300 of its own departmental stores as well as QVC.

People loved the brand, the products it offered, the services it rendered, and the quality it promised. 

For the younger generation, imagine the kind of power that Apple has when it comes to laptops and smartphones. In that era, B Makowsky, Kathy Van Zeeland Handbags, and Tignanello were the Apple of the fashion industry. 

You must be wondering – why would the same people need three different labels to operate. Firstly, Kathy Van Zeeland, Bruce’s wife, operated her own brand, while the latter wanted complete independence over his business. 

Both of them ran their brands to diversify and ease the workload. So what about the third brand, what is the Tignanello handbag?

The third label basically allowed them to expand their product line and reach more customers. It also enabled them to experiment. 

The three brands worked together in harmony, setting up a monopoly in the handbag industry. For years, it flourished. Let’s find out why it stood out from the rest of the competition.

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What Made B Makowsky Bags Stand Out? 

We’ve talked about how successful B Makowsky handbags were during the company’s initial years.

It was almost synonymous with the kind of appeal and market pull that brands like Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and Gucci have today. 

The foremost reason for this kind of domination was that Makowsky was virtually a pioneer for luxurious, comfortable, and premium handbags in the market.

At that time, people didn’t view handbags as something that would define fashion statement. 

But with the advent of Makowsky bags, more and more people became interested. Another reason why the crowd was mad after the brand was the material used in making the handbags.

Makowsky used a unique, handsomely smooth natural leather for maximum comfort.

Moreover, the texture of the handbags, coupled with premium designs, made the handbags stand out. People walking on the streets could just recognize a Makowsky handbag from a mile away. 

In the era when everyone wanted to show off their wealth, purchasing a B Makowsky handbag was the best way to do so subtly.

Husbands would purchase said handbags for their wives, employees would gift one to their bosses, and so on.

Pretty soon, the handbag company wasn’t just a brand – it was a name that lived on the streets of New York, as well as other parts of the United States of America. 

B Makowsky also ensured that it had handbags of all sorts and sizes. You could get budget alternatives as well as the most premium option in the same retail store.

The diversification of the product enabled them to capture the entire market, rather than targeting just the elites. 

With simple but elegant designs, unique textures, and comfortable material, the brand thrived and performed exceptionally well in the market. 

But there was another reason why the handbags were so popular – and that was Bruce Makowsky himself. 

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Bruce Makowsky – The Man Behind the Brands

Apart from the quality of its products, B Makowsky also became the market’s most popular brand because of its founder and owner. 

We’ve already answered some basic questions about the man – like who is Bruce Makowsky married to, and how you pronounce Tignanello bag. Wait, we haven’t answered the second one? 

Honestly, we’re just not too sure. It is an Italian label and we can pronounce it as “Tee-Nya-Ne-Llo”. Now that we are past that, let’s move on to the man of the hour. 

Bruce Makowsky was a hardworking entrepreneur. He was born in 1956 and initially made a fortune with his fashion brands. It was evident that he put his heart and soul into making and developing his products. 

The quality of his fashion brands – B Makowsky, Kathy Van Jean Handbags, and Tignanello, never wavered. They offered a luxurious and premium selection of products from the start till the end. 

He also ensured that his brand offered top-notch customer service to the fans.

As a result, the community was delighted with how the company acted, both in terms of the quality of products offered and the goodwill of services rendered. 

Makowsky was an entrepreneur by heart. He wanted to build empires and always remain on top of every industry. When he achieved that in the fashion niche, he perhaps wanted to move elsewhere. 

Makowsky’s Real Estate Venture

It was in 2008 that Bruce Makowsky left the fashion world for good. His next destination? The real estate industry. 

There could be multiple reasons why Makowsky chose to make this switch, even though his fashion businesses were doing pretty well.

Perhaps he felt that the real estate niche is where the real money is. Or maybe he just realized that he had achieved practically everything in the fashion industry. 

Whatever the reason was, it was time for the world of handbags to bid a teary farewell to Bruce Makowsky. And boy, was the world not ready for that. 

But we’ll come back to that later. For now, let’s talk about our real estate mogul’s entrepreneurial detour. 

After signing off from the fashion industry, Bruce got into the buying, remodeling, and reselling of luxurious properties in Los Angeles.

Despite his enormous success in the previous business, people nowadays know him as a real estate agent instead of a fashion designer. 

He launched his company called BAM Luxury Development which operates within a 10-mile radius in Westside, Los Angeles. 

The company did so well that it allowed Bruce to make some hefty investments. The most prized of his possessions, however, was a real estate property itself.

In 2017, he became the owner of the most expensive home in the United States, listed at around $250 million. 

Unfortunately, it sold for a lot less than that. But who bought the Bruce Makowsky house, erstwhile known as the Billionaire House?

An American businessman by the name of Charles Cohen made that investment for himself, paying $94 million for the property.

The current Bruce Makowsky net worth is about $100 billion, all thanks to his fashion brands and real estate success. He’s still into that business, but no longer the popular figure he once was. 

Some say that he’s looking to quit the real estate industry as well after being in debt to multiple people and not having enough cash. 

All rumors, though. But all this does take us back to an important question – what happened to B Makowsky when the owner left to buy and sell properties? 

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Were B Makowsky Handbags Discontinued?

In 2008, the owner of the company sold B Makowsky fashion house completely to Li & Fung Limited, a company based in Hong Kong involved primarily in logistics and trading. 

Fortunately, they didn’t discontinue the handbags, or anything else. You can still purchase all kinds of B Makowsky products on online platforms like Amazon, Thredup, Etsy, and Walmart.

But there’s bad news as well. The quality of the products dropped significantly. While the designs and patterns of the handbags remained the same, Li & Fung started using cheaper materials for manufacturing the products. 

It wasn’t as comfortable or textured as before. Moreover, many customers reported problems with stitching, zippers, and other things that were never a problem when Bruce Makowsky was in charge. 

The ultimate consequence? People started averting their gazes whenever they saw a B Makowsky handbag. It was once a fashion statement, as well as an icon of luxury.

Nowadays, however, shopping from the brand is nothing more than walking into a normal fashion store. 

Another kick in the gut was the quality of customer service. Earlier, B Makowsky was popular for its great consumer satisfaction scores. Not that their older clients had any complaints or queries – the business was in flawless shape.

But after selling the company, issues started arising. People received damaged products, handbags that had their mouths open, shoes with defects, and so on.

When customers went to the store to return or repair the products, they didn’t get the right treatment.

Ultimately, the brand lost all its credibility. The once popular B Makowsky was now an ordinary handbag store with bad reviews and low customer satisfaction points.

Is Purchasing a B Makowsky Handbag Worth It?

Another important question is – should you consider buying a B Makowsky handbag if you find a good one at the store? 

If you are an old-timer and want to make this investment for the sake of nostalgia, go for it. Doing so will serve as a worthy tribute to a brand that served the country for multiple decades. 

Also, some original B Makowsky handbags are still in circulation. Their quality, design, and comfort are unparalleled, fit to compete with modern alternatives. You can surely purchase them.

But the more recent productions of the company can be a bad investment for you. If you want to buy one, however, you can take some precautions.

Do all the basic things, like checking for the quality of the materials, the strength of the stitching, and the efficiency of the zippers. 

Nevertheless, the good thing about B Makowsky is that the brand is not that expensive. You can easily get some nice handbags for under $100. So, shop your wallet off. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Are Tignanello bags made in China?

Even though the name and origin of the brand are in Italy, they do have several manufacturing plants in China, where they produce their handbags and other products.

2. Is Kathy Van Zeeland still married to Bruce Makowsky?

Bruce Makowsky and Kathy Van Zeeland are still married to each other, living a happy and quiet life together.

3. Are Kathy Van Zeeland handbags still around?

Yes, you can get their premium collections of handbags on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Walmart.


A couple of fashion designers got together and gave the world a huge gift. B Makowsky handbags are a thing of beauty, the reason why so many people are still looking to get one for themselves.

Even though Bruce is no longer a part of the brand, his name will forever be etched in the leather-textured greys of his handbags.