The industry as seen by top designers.
It's In The Bag
Why making purses is so hot.
by Ellie Joos (December, 2003)
Whether you are a fashionista or not, you may have noticed that
the classic black or brown handbag looks tote-ally out of place in
the sea of colorful, unique handbags that are currently the rage.
From the high fashion designer boutiques and runways to mass
merchandisers such as Target, handbags are it.
Making/decorating handbags has particular potential for retailers
because almost every product in their current inventory can be used.
Even scrapbook retailers can get involved by attaching/fusing photos
to canvas purses and totes. Which products? How about paint, decals,
fabric, bows, feathers, beads, pleated and ruffled trims, D-rings,
zippers, and grommets, to name just a few. This accessory item is
appearing in all shapes and sizes from purses to totes to clutches
But craft retailers won't have the market to themselves. The
November issue of Gifts and Decorative Accessories reported
on this trend and encouraged gift store retailers to capitalize on
it by adding bags to their product mix.
Now is the time for craft stores as well to pull out all the
stops and merchandise embellishments, faux fur, hardware, paint,
beads, handles, and other decorative items with patterns and fabrics
that lend themselves to making these creative, artful accessories.
It's not too late to create a display from products already on
hand, make a great model or two, and suggest this idea to your
customers as a great Christmas present. You may also want to contact
the following companies who have new products or expanded their
product lines to include all the creative elements you'll need for
(Comment: Below is just a sampling of the suppliers
involved in the category. We suspect there will be many more at the
winter trade shows.)
Amy Butler, Art of the Midwest www.artofthemidwest.com:
Unique shapes and styles, lovely in Amyís fabrics designed for FreeSpirit
Ornate brass and plated steel, books, patterns, and kits.
Totes, purses, backpacks, and the Additions line which has
handles, straps, embellishments, fringe, eyelets, and studs.
Clover Needlecraft www.clover-usa.com:
Great handles, decorative zipper pulls, D-rings, buckles, and Wood
Create a Button, as well as a line of attractive patterns for
making bags and totes.
Cigar boxes, wood boxes, beads, handles, hinges.
Embellishment Village www.embellishmentvillage.com:
Charms, beads, yarns, and two bag pattern kits that include all the
embellishments to complete each bag.
Indygo Junction www.indygojunctioninc.com:
Lovely bag and tote patterns for soft fabrics, including wool felt.
Lazy Girl Designs www.lazygirldesigns.com:
Totes, bags, and backpacks in interesting shapes and sizes.
And last but not least, Simplicity and McCall Pattern have
patterns for bags and totes in all shapes and sizes.
While you are at it, donít forget shoes! Now called
"jewelry for the feet", shoes have never looked prettier
or more adorned with beads, flowers, ribbons, crystals, and other
embellishments. Decemberís IN STYLE magazine featured the
most gorgeous evening sandals ranging in price from $85 to $640! All
it takes is a glue gun and some sparkling and colorful
embellishments and you can create exciting holiday shoes (and sales)
in no time!
(Note: Ellie is president of Ellis Joos & Associates,
a marketing consulting firm. To read previous Designing Perspective
columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)