Thursday, August 13, 2009
My wife's interview
My wife, Suzanne, has a great business going, called "Sister and Me" making handbags ... well, I will let her tell you about it. Really, they are great bags, beautiful.
But she does a better job explaining. She was interviewed recently on this site and she does a good job talking about her business.
Read it here.
You can buy bags online here at sisterandme.
Here is a bit of the interview:
Suzanne was raised a northern city girl, and is now living with her family (a husband, four daughters, two dogs and one fish) in a town of 700 north of Charlotte, NC. She is a trained teacher and during the school year works as a Title One Teacher in her local public school. She has a shop on Etsy called Sister and Me. You can also find her on Twitter.
How did you get started making handbags?
I am lucky enough to have been raised by parents who believed in letting me try my hand at machine sewing at an early age, somewhere around 9 or 10. Mom always told me to try anything. If it didn’t work out and it couldn’t be fixed, just throw it away—this is an idea I still use today. The first thing I remember sewing was a crazy quilt, which I sewed on an old pump sewing machine that had been left in our attic by the previous owners. I loved that machine–in my child’s mind that machine and I could fashion anything! As I grew the machine was replaced first by borrowing my mom’s machine and later inheriting my grandmother’s sturdy Singer. With four girls there is always stitching to be done, costumes and clothing to be made.
When my daughter Katie had a birthday, I started making my bags because of a simple birthday wish, a secret whispered into my ear: “Mama, Katie really wants this bag for her birthday.” You see the 16th birthday of my oldest was upon us and everyone wanted to make it special. The girls were on high alert to figure out the perfect gift. I was elated to know exactly what she wanted, but sorely disappointed when I saw the bag in the boutique, placed on a shelf full of the same pricey bag. Not only was the price too high, but I also wanted to give her something incredibly unique for this special occasion. I had been involved with making quilts for the local hospice house, so I had upholstery material in my workshop which I used to design and make a bag. My daughters and I pieced the messenger bag together for Katie; the first Sister and Me bag thus emerged, and the birthday wish came true. Each subsequent purse and bag has its beginnings with a similar wish and story.
Tell us a little bit about your bags and purses. What sorts of pieces do you specialize in?
First, I would love to tell you about the fabrics I am lucky enough to work with. Our area of North Carolina has its share of fabric and furniture factories that supply upholstered furniture to the likes of Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and even Earl Spenser’s line of furniture. The fabrics I acquire from the factories and outlets here are the “end bolts,” the leftovers, which means it’s enough fabric to make a bag, but not nearly enough to cover a chair. The gorgeous fabrics I am able to obtain would otherwise end up in the landfill. This being said, all the materials I use are up to date and first run fabrics.
I specialize in using upholstery fabrics to make sturdy bags of all sizes. I have fashioned 7 different styles and continue to create new designs as their popularity surges or wanes. My most popular bag today remains the Katie Messenger Bag, which now comes in 3 sizes. I believe it remains so popular because it is so versatile. I have girls of all ages carry it to school, new moms use it as a diaper bag, busy moms as a tote and travelers as a carry on item. I also have a small evening bag first requested by girlfriend Laura, and a popular Natalie Tote, which I fondly refer to as my “library lady” bag (it works super well for carrying books). These are my most popular.