March 08, 2017
Mandala - a symbol of wholeness and sacred geometry, a cosmic diagram reminding us of our relationship with infinity, existing within our bodies and minds and beyond.
Have you ever noticed the similarities of the mandala design and a peacock’s feathers? Just look how cute they are together in this beautifully stitched embroidery on genuine electric blue leather and peacock print fabric handbag.
These doctor bag style purses, also known as Mary Poppins bags, are so very popular. The reason is convenience and function with an easy open and shut spring frame design which gives you a full view of contents. This bag also sports a secure zipper pocket on the back side for your cell phone.
That voluminous interior lining is a heavy duty, natural cotton canvas, so durable! Two generous slip pockets to stash keys, lipstick or other small accessories. Those soft, cord style handles slip easily and comfortably over your arm.
Shop this handbag and more at BeautifulBagsEtc
March 01, 2017
“Why can’t you make the bag the way I want it?” As a designer and maker of handmade, one-of-a-kind handbags, I’ve been asked this question many times over the past 5 years. Each time, I try to explain why you can’t have it all because I want my customers to understand what and why there are limitations to all the designs and features of a handbag.
Each request is as individual as you, the basic bag design, the features, the embroidery and the leathers. So, let’s start with the very basic shape and size. This is the adjustment that is requested the most. Some styles of handbags, such as a tote, the adjustment size and sometimes shape is easily accommodated. However, making size or shape changes to satchels and doctor bags means more than simply adjusting a pattern. Since these styles are more sophisticated, they require starting from the beginning with sketches and prototypes.
Features, such as those all-important pockets, handles, straps and hardware also have limitations. Pocket size is dictated by the size of hands and items that will be stored in them. So, small cross body bags mean fewer pockets while a large weekender bag means plenty of room for several.
We all have a personal preference for straps and handle style because of the way we typically carry our bags. Width of strap is assigned by hooks and rings which come in sizes from ½” to two inches wide. Sometimes straps are limited by the thickness and size of the particular hide of leather. Handles are made either flat or cord style. Do you carry your bag on your shoulder, over your arm or cross body? Many of my designs allow you to adjust a strap to do all three however there are some styles that simply don’t allow for these options.
This brings me to the most unique feature of BeautifulBagsEtc – embroidery on leather. Understanding and working with leather has its own set of techniques and advantages. There are things you can do with leather that can’t be done or isn’t practical to do with fabric and vice-versa. This is where the confusion starts with leather embroidery. Large and dense embroidery designs will distort leather, making it pucker and protrude, not a good look! So, most of the embroidery that you see on my handbags have open spaces between the stitching. I also must determine which embroidery design will work with a particular leather since each hide has its own unique characteristics.
See how complicated it all gets? What seems like a simple request affects much more than what you might have thought. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means we might have to make some compromises.
August 10, 2015
How often do you purchase a handbag online? Like, seldom, right? Why would you when there are so many choices in stores? You can compare them all by size, color, material, style, virtually by any criteria. The biggest advantage over shopping online is that you can hold the bag in your hands, look inside, check out the features and options. Shopping out here on the web? Not so much .
But wait, why are there so many websites selling handbags then? Well, for one, all of the big name designers obviously want to make sure they are reaching their customers via all sources of advertising. That makes it very convenient for shoppers to check out a bag in the store and then purchase online and vice-versa. Secondly, not having a website, even for individual entreprenuers, is like not having a cell phone. Inconceivable!
That's pretty tough competition for small fries like me who design and create unique handmade bags and have few resources other than the web to advertise. It seems fairly risky to make a purchase from an unknown artist, right? But what if you decided to find out more about an independent artist or crafter, their materials, methods of operations and their policies that would make that purchase less of a gamble? Would it make a difference if you knew more about the person that was actually doing the work? Does it matter to you what country a handbag is create in? Is it important that you could make a phone call to talk to the owner of a small business about one of their products?
All of these questions and more are excellent reasons to reject the mass produced products which are mostly made in third world countries and profit only large corporations. Yes, they make it convenient. Yes, the well known designers offer attractive bags. Yes, there is the investment and prestige factor.
Now let me tell you about the advantages of making a purchase from BeautifulBagsEtc. You can click over to my About the Artist page and read my story if you want to take the time. If not, the short story is that I've been sewing on industrial machines most of my life, mostly earning a living doing custom furniture upholstery work from my home workshop and now, for the past five years, making leather handbags. I've had the opportunity, throughout the years, to experience working with the best of leather hides and tapestries. I've also seen the result and disappointment of imported products made with questionable goods. There is surely merit to the phrase "garbage in - garbage out".
This is why the descriptions of my bags are long and wordy. This is why there are big clear photos of the actual bag available, not one that "kind of, sort of" looks like it. I want you to know what to expect. I want you to understand that there is a real difference and alternative to imported, over-priced, functionally inferior, mass produced handbags.
I could go on and on about how the women's accessories industry fabricates half truths about their products but I'm pretty sure you know something about that already. What you may not realize is how much power you have when making a purchase from a small business owner, the cyclical effect it has on the American economy which, when you think about it, includes even your own job security. It's one of the best trades you can make!!
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want."
Anna Lappe, O Magazine, June 2003