As MZ Wallace grew, so did his sense of purpose. Woman. Zwirner is married to German art dealer and gallery owner David Zwirner and in 2011, together with Ms. Wallace Eustice, launched a special edition bag designed by artist Raymond Pettibon to raise money for Artists For Haiti, a non-profit organization founded by Mr. Zwirner and the actor Ben Stiller. Since then they have collaborated with artists and organizations such as Kerry James Marshall, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Glenn Ligon and others to produce special edition bags – with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to a chosen charitable organization.
“I love carrying my Glenn Ligon bag because it often sparks conversations about what’s most important to me, which is art and artists,” Thelma Golden, 57, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, told MZ Wallace raised close to $100,000 with Mr. Ligon in 2014 for his art education programs. “It gives me the chance to be the museum curator that I am.”
“For me, the bag is the canvas,” said 64-year-old artist Nick Cave, who most recently designed a colorful MZ Wallace tote bag, all proceeds of which supported educational programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Facility Foundation. “It’s this extension of an art practice. And I love the idea that it’s out there in the world, seen and acknowledged.”
Today, MZ Wallace employs 40 people and offers over 400 different styles. Much of the manufacturing now takes place in China and Vietnam. 60 percent of their sales are online through their website, which launched in 2004. Woman. Zwirner and Ms. Wallace Eustice said the brand has grown 20 percent over the past three years and has only seen year-on-year growth aside from the year it opened.
Woman. Eustice and Ms. Zwirner have been approached on several occasions about selling the company, which is still privately held. You are open to the idea. But they also like where they are. The two eat lunch at the office every day. They remain close friends. “We have a laugh,” said Mrs. Wallace Eustice. “You have to have fun on the road. Otherwise what’s the point?