It’s in the bagg
What goods or services do you offer?
I design, make and sell women’s handbags. I assist women in the best way to organize the contents of their bags.
What makes you different from others who may do the same thing?
All my designs were inspired by my own needs. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that couldn’t be more true with my purses. Originally my goal was to be able to get all the things I need to carry in a small bag. Once I realized it was impossible – my wallet alone took up too much space – I designed the Wallet Purse. With the wallet compartments constructed on the outside, it was amazing how much more I could carry inside the main compartment.
And I don’t like changing purses, so I design my bags to be worn in several different ways, including shoulder bag, fanny pack, back pack, tote and clutch.
I use unique, top quality upholstery fabrics called ultra-suede and ultra-leather. When I started making purses I used canvas and corduroy. Then I discovered these fabrics that look and feel like suede and leather, but weigh half as much and are machine washable and dry-able.
I’ve been making my bags for over 25 years. My customers are used to the organization of my purses, and actually like the fact that my bags don’t change much, except to evolve with the times. For instance, when I first started, we didn’t have cell phones. Now all my bags have a place for the cell phone.
What do you love about your work?
I love hearing from my customers about how much they love their bag, how it’s changed their life for the better, and how they’d be lost without it. Also, how much they appreciate the quality and that the bags are made locally. I’ve even sold some bags to people in Australia and England. It’s fun to think my bags are in another part of the world.
What do you find most challenging?
Especially in these economic times, price is a factor. But making a bag of this quality comes with some extra costs. Considering the longevity of my bags, you’re money-ahead in the long run.
What is your background?
While I majored in art at San Jose State University, my education came from the school of hard knocks.
I come from a family that had their own business, and I learned by example. I started in the craft business doing copper enamel, which honed my salesmanship skills. I could probably write a book on selling techniques. Most importantly, you have to believe in what you’re selling.
I moved to Grass Valley from the Bay Area because, aside from being beautiful, it was within three hours driving distance from the Bay Area where I did most of my craft shows.
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