Danielle DiFerdinando made sure she was waiting at the doors of the Tribeca Barnes & Nobles store that Sunday morning in January. Her stomach was in knots with anticipation over whether or not she was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List for Art & Style in 2015.
When she spotted the magazine, the 27-year-old found the nearest table, where she sat and scoured the pages to see if she made it. She did.
“Of course I cried,” she recalls. “I wasn’t hysterical. I was just still. I was so happy and excited. This was so emotional. To be from Maryland and come to New York. …This was for everybody — the people in Howard County, River Hill, my team. All of them.”
DiFerdinando was chosen by a judging panel that included fashion and design icons Isaac Mizrahi and Jonathan Adler.
“The panel of judges are people I looked up to growing up,” she says. “I remember being in high school watching a film about how Isaac Mizrahi made it.”
DiFerdinando’s Danielle Nicole bags have been carried by celebrity stylists like Rachel Zoe and stocked in stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom and Macy’s. Oprah Winfrey purchased 5,500 of her bags in 2011. The line, which made $11.5 million in 2014, even has a Blake bag named for Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
DiFerdinando isn’t done making her mark.
She recently debuted The Danielle Nicole x Capwell collection in Japan, where seven department stores picked it up. The 180-piece jewelry collection comprising necklaces, rings and bracelets comes stateside in March. People Style Watch just promoted the line on Instagram. And DiFerdinando was scheduled to make another appearance on HSN at the end of January.
“This is amazing for the brand and where I come from,” she says. “It shows the kids back home that they can do this if they follow their dreams and are passionate.”