Gretchen Bauer


“You’re trying to produce the most beautiful products possible, the most beautiful quality possible. If you’re doing that, then you can’t worry about how many you’re going to sell, and ‘is it going to make enough profits to make the shareholders happy?’ You will have to just make something great, and know it will sell, and you will make a perfectly fine amount of money, as opposed to bazillions.”

- Dana Thomas

Gretchen Bauer is a local woman with global dreams to shake up the fashion industry.  After moving to Sarasota from Philadelphia six years ago, Gretchen made a home for herself and her family on the Suncoast.  While working as an interior designer, a business she had twenty-six years, a colleague exposed Gretchen to the disturbing reality behind the United States garment industry.  She decided to take a risk and make a difference by improving the lives of women in the industry and change the way goods are manufactured in America.

Shortly after, she launched her business, BSWANKY, with a mission to B The Difference — giving women opportunity to create responsibly-made, trendy handbags through ethical practices.  BSWANKY handbags are proudly designed and happily manufactured out of their Sarasota factory, where Gretchen and her team are committed to providing an atmosphere with joy and inspiration.  The collection includes designs made with python skins ethically and environmentally sourced from the Florida Everglades, as well as hair oncowhide,which has made quite an imprint in the equestrian world and celebrity scene.  By creating transformational products responsibly, Gretchen aims to contribute to a global effort to revolutionize the fashion industry right here in Sarasota.

(Adapted from Mommy Magazine, June 2019).