Profiling Alexis Bittar: Street Merchant Turned Global Giant

A quick internet search will reveal just about every detail of Alexis Bittar’s reign as the Lucite King — thus hailed by Dawn Mello, former Bergdorf Goodman president, in a New York Times article. So when I sat down to interview Bittar, I insisted he tell me something that hasn’t already been covered.

“Janet Goldman was my first order.”

Really? Fragment’s Janet Goldman?

“Yes! For 15 years, I had an antique quilt that I would lay out on the street in SoHo, selling my handmade jewelry. This was in the early 80s, back before what you see now in SoHo. No one else was doing it at that time – it was just me and two other vendors,” Bittar recalled.

“I used to set up the quilt on the corner of Prince and Greene [in front of the original Fragments location]. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to sell to stores at that time. But one day, I decided to show Janet and Jimmy my collection. They bought on the spot. Janet was my first order and she put my pieces in Bendel.”

Never in a million years could one imagine any of the jewelry vendors adorning the Lower Manhattan streets of SoHo on any given Sunday would one day build an empire as vast as Bittar’s. But that’s exactly what’s happened. alexis bittar poodle

With presence in all major U.S. department stores (including Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue), as well as hundreds of independent retailers across 40 countries in five continents — not to mention his thirteen Alexis Bittar boutiques up and down both coasts — Bittar is living a dream.

“I never went to fashion school, never learned the traditional ways of building a business. I never even had a real job before. I went from selling on the street to opening my company.”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Which is fitting, really, as Bittar has a profound love of history, and particularly, jewelry with its own history.

Read the rest on The PR Advisor…

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