When the new television series The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show debuted last week, Bobby Schandra had a good reason to tune in. And it wasn't just be to see what Sarah Michelle Gellar looks like these days.
“I don’t watch TV, so I didn’t even know she had a new show coming out,” Schandra says. In fact, the first he heard of the The Crazy Ones, which also stars Robin Williams, was when one of the show’s producers called and asked to use some of the handbags and jewelry Schandra designs.
“They had to tell me what the show was about,” the Dallas designer says with a laugh. “I had no idea.”
“Everyone knows everybody in that business, so when you’re in with one show, you start getting contacted by others,” Schandra says.
He also had no idea that Michael J. Fox had a new show airing, but Schandra soon got a call from them as well, asking to feature some of his handbags. “Everyone knows everybody in that business, so when you’re in with one show, you start getting contacted by others.”
The Dallas-born Schandra says he has “always been into fashion,” but it wasn’t until he was laid off from his job as a pharmaceutical rep about 15 years ago that he toyed with making a career out of it. Working with his parents, who opened the wholesale store Schandra at Dallas Market Center, he started creating and selling belts. The product offering just grew from there.
In 2010, eager to do higher-fashion items at reasonable prices, he launched the Bobby Schandra line. His selection of Italian bags, cross-body bags, Swarovski crystal clutches and signature “Rockstar” bags have sold well and landed on the fashion pages of local and regional publications.
The Rockstar bags also opened the door to television after they were discovered by a producer at HBO’s hit show Entourage. Almost immediately, Schandra’s bags also appeared on The Vampire Diaries, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Jane by Design.
The TBS series Are We There Yet? even aired “The Expensive Purse Episode” in 2012, in which the entire plot revolved around one of the characters trying to buy a Bobby Schandra purse.
“It’s great because a show will call and say, ‘We want something for this character’ and describe the character to me,” he says. “I put together some handbags and jewelry and send it off to them. Most of the time, they use it.”
Shortly after learning his bags would appear on The Crazy Ones and The Michael J. Fox Show, Schandra met with producers from TNT’s Dallas, who took some of his pieces for use later this season, including his antelope and blue python bags.
“It’s really pretty humbling,” he says. “They have people like David Yurman and Versace and Louis Vuitton sending them stuff to use. That’s my competition.
“To just be this one guy in Dallas who’s making this stuff that they want to use — it’s pretty amazing. I’m glad they think it’s a good fit.”