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Encinitas designer’s handbag business off to strapping start

The Zaneta Owens Collection, by designer Zaneta Owens (right). “It’s unique because I’m not mass-producing it,” she says.

Since officially launching her name-based handbag line last fall, Encinitas designer Zaneta Owens has quickly become a local name.

“I’m thankful that people in San Diego have supported me,” Owens said. “I’m getting great positive feedback.”

Zaneta Owens

Launched last November, the Zaneta Owens Collection is a high-end luxury lifestyle handbag brand with a beginning in North County San Diego.

A Poway High School alumna, Owens always wanted to own her own business. She just didn’t know what she wanted to sell.

The fashion-focused entrepreneur decided on bags while studying business at San Diego State University. She remembers spotting others holding the same Steve Madden handbag at an event.

“It was so annoying,” recalled Owens, who graduated from SDSU with a bachelor’s degree in business in 2009. “Everybody had the bag.”

Although she came up with the concept, Owens didn’t pull everything together until she beefed up her business resume. After college, she sharpened her skills as a project coordinator at Carlsbad-based online retailer Gunnar Optiks, and later, as an accountant at Adicio.

“I knew I had great taste, but not enough to convince people that they should buy my handbag,” she said.

With a newfound understanding of the manufacturing industry and the business world, Owens designed and produced her brand, debuting the collection with two pieces.

“It’s unique because I’m not mass-producing it,” she said. “I only have a limited number that I’m selling in the United States.”

Not long after the launch, Owens brought Charles Stone on board. The pair met when they were students at SDSU. Both Owens and Stone were a part of a professional business fraternity called Delta Sigma Pi.

A Del Mar native, Stone serves as the company’s chief marketing officer.

“We connected really well,” said Stone, a Torrey Pines High School alum. “We both knew that we wanted to be business people. That’s how our friendship started, and that’s how we began to work together after college.”

Owens previously sold her products solely through word of mouth. With much-needed help, she has since introduced the bags to Encinitas-based Finezza Fine Gifts. They are also available online at zanetaowens.com.

“Zaneta is this brand,” Stone said. “People love her personality. I just saw so much potential and wanted to join that.”

The line now has three bags in eight different colors. Inspired by California culture, every product is proudly labeled “Made in California.”

“The styles and designs that Zaneta created are timeless, classic styles,” Stone said. “It portrays California and costal lifestyle.”

Reflecting on her start, Owens said the logos also stress the support she’s received along the way. After all, she started her business with only $1,100. If not for the support from family, friends, manufacturers, buyers and customers, her dream might not have become a reality.

“I want everybody who supported me to be proud,” she said. “This is because of the fruits of my labor and your support.”


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