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How to Become a Brighton Handbags Retailer

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At any given time, a cybershopper can expect to find around 70 of the hottest handbags on the planet when they arrive on the Brighton website. The company started out as a belt retailer in 1991 and added handbags to the product mix two years later. Original designs and purses that are handcrafted by up to 140 individuals have morphed Brighton’s product line from fashion accessory to true collectible. If you’d like to retail this line, you’ll join nearly “6,000 largely family-owned specialty stores” and more than 100 Brighton Collectibles stores worldwide.

Head for the Brighton website to locate the nearest authorized retailer in your part of the state. Add “exclusivity” to your list of reasons for becoming a Brighton retailer if you find that you can own the territory due to no competition. Use the site to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the Brighton brand.

Undertake market research in your target community. Search for statistics (use Census Bureau numbers if you come up empty elsewhere) on young women between the ages of 17 and 30 with some disposable income, as these bags are pricey--a result of using around 40 components to manufacture each handbag design. Line up financing if you haven't the resources to launch a retail store.

Write to Brighton's Consumer Affairs Department:

Brighton Inc. 14022 Nelson Avenue City of Industry, CA 91746

or call their toll-free number, 1-800-628-7687, between 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST Monday through Friday. Alternately, fax your communication to 1-626-961-9380. Explain your desire to open a Brighton handbag shop. Share the results of your research. Learn whether it's permissible to carry other brands while retailing the Brighton handbag line.

Write a business plan with a strong marketing component if Brighton gives you a green light to begin negotiations with them for opening a retail shop. Compile relevant financial data that covers store rents in your area plus build-out costs, utility estimates and insurance coverage. Meet with the head of Brighton sales or franchising in California or on your turf to decide if a relationship is worth pursuing on both sides of the table.

Use the negotiated contract, vetted by your business attorney, as the base from which to launch your shop. Expect to spend time training in California so you understand all aspects of the Brighton philosophy, operation and brand. Schedule visits from Brighton officials as the interior build-out is completed. Expect marketing support in the form of creative services, signage, ads, public relations efforts and other promotional assistance from Brighton headquarters.

Hire handbag fanatics to staff your store—particularly young, fashion-obsessed women who already love the brand so much, you’ll have no problem training them to represent the Brighton name with as much enthusiasm as those who believe that one Brighton bag is never enough. Alternately, go rogue and hire attractive young salesmen for equally obvious reasons.


Based in Chicago, Gail Cohen has been a professional writer for more than 30 years. She has authored and co-authored 14 books and penned hundreds of articles in consumer and trade publications, including the Illinois-based "Daily Herald" newspaper. Her newest book, "The Christmas Quilt," was published in December 2011.