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December 06, 2019 3 min read

There’s busy, and then there is “dashing in heels” busy.

We know our founder, D’Andra Simmons, would agree with Gretchen Bauer, founder of BSWANKY, when she says that every day running your own business is an adventure...an adventure that absolutely requires dashing in heels.

D’Andra and Gretchen are kindred spirits: they both saw a need in their respective industries and they sought to fill that need. For D’Andra, her passion is laser focused on fulfilling the need for a simple skincare regimen that serves ambitious lady-bosses and overwhelmed soccer moms during all of their hard nights and good mornings. For Gretchen, her passion also lies with the working woman: she launched BSWANKY to give women the opportunity to create responsibly-made, trendy handbags with ethical practices.

Gretchen Bauer

When Gretchen discovered the disturbing realities behind the United States garment industry, she felt moved to change the way women in this industry are treated. She founded BSWANKY in 2016. The “B” in BSWANKY stands for “Be the Difference” – a motto that Gretchen implements into every single part of the handbag design and manufacturing process. 

Since its inception, BSWANKY has been a transformational brand. The bag designs are multifunctional to reflect the multifaceted nature of the ambitious woman’s life, accommodating every need from the workplace to the nursery to the outdoors to date night...and beyond! And don’t get us started on quality: BSWANKY bags are crafted with only the highest quality leathers and hardware. 

There’s the Sophie: a convertible tote-to-backpack with striking nickel hardware. There’s the Magnabel, designed, crafted by and named after the BSWANKY lead seamstress from Venezuela. The bag is luxurious, yet practical. And, let us not forget the Everglades Python Collection, a set of bags sourced from a local invasive species, helping to restore the natural balance to the ecosystem of the Florida Everglades. 

Our favorite, though, has to be the Unreal Pink. This bag was specially designed to recognize the tremendous strength and tenacity of women battling, surviving and overcoming breast cancer. BSWANKY donates 10% of earnings on the bag and 20% during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Gretchen’s mission orientation to “be the difference” extends from the stitches on the bags to the seamstresses, themselves. BSWANKY employs immigrant women with the goal of giving them the opportunity for upward economic mobility as well as to teach them marketable skills. Gretchen could not be more proud of her team: “Our seamstresses truly inspire me. They are resilient, resourceful and come from a position of, ‘it might be difficult, but not impossible.” 

Gretchen’s passion was always to empower her fellow woman. The beautiful, ethically sourced and crafted handbags are the high-end product of that passion. Of course, no success comes without its share of hard nights. Grechen shared that just a few weeks ago, she spent four hours in the emergency room with her daughter who suffered an allergic reaction. They made it home in the early hours of the morning, just in time for Gretchen to catch a cat nap, throw on those heels and dash to deliver a keynote address to over 100 community leaders at the “Women Empowering Women” Luncheon.

Despite lack of sleep and the stresses of the night prior, Gretchen enthused about the “absolute best time” she had getting to interact with women in her community. Gretchen knows that no woman is an island, and seeks to surround herself with people who are not only extremely talented, but who care deeply. “I believe in what I am doing,” Gretchen says, “And when I show people how passionate I am, it is amazing how many doors open.” We applaud you, Gretchen, for everything you do, and for the change you are making every day. You bet we’re adding a BSWANKY bag or two to our Christmas’ lists.


Gretchen Bauerhas global dreams to shake up the fashion industry. While working as an interior designer, a business she had for twenty-six years, a colleague exposed Gretchen to the disturbing reality behind the United States’ garment industry. Shortly after, she launched her business, BSWANKY, with a mission to B The Difference — giving women the opportunity to create responsibly-made, trendy handbags through ethical practices. BSWANKY handbags are proudly designed and happily manufactured out of their Sarasota, FL, factory, where Gretchen and her team are committed to providing an atmosphere of joy and inspiration. By creating transformational products responsibly, Gretchen aims to contribute to a global effort to revolutionize the fashion industry from her own factory in Sarasota, making a difference with each bag she inspires!


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