Tell us about your business.I've always loved bags. They are the perfect accessory, giving an element of fashion to everyday life, and a functional necessity, to many, of everyday life. And of course, are a great place to keep your lip balm. In 2009, I made my first bag and was hooked. I have been sewing ever since. Since then, the majority of my time has been spent sewing. I have made countless mistakes, taken out what seems like infinite seams and learned a certain mastery of my craft. I am a self-taught seamstress, but was able to draw from the life-long experience of my mother, who was taught sewing by her mother. Each bag I sell is a meticulously handcrafted item. I am a perfectionist, a characteristic that is a necessity and a frustration for many craftsmen. Stopping at good enough is just not, well, good enough. Care and pride are combined in all of my work. Every item in my shop is designed by me. Every item is cut, ironed, screen printed, sewn by hand or by machine, by me, in my Cleveland studio.
What makes your business stand out?Texture, color and pattern are at the forefront of every bag I sew. The fabrics I use are carefully selected and brought together to create singularly memorable items. Many of my styles are one-of-a-kind creations. This means that the distinctive exterior/interior fabric combinations that I choose are not used in hundreds or thousands of bags, but are used in only single editions, or small editions of under ten. I also understand the importance of practicality in design. For me, good design is not only about what something looks like, but also how it is used. My full-sized bags are thoughtfully crafted to feature multiple pockets, strong closures, well-wearing bottoms, and durable straps that keep pace with everyday use. My shopping totes have long handles, making it easier to carry heavy loads, are fully lined, and are machine washable. High quality craftsmanship is important to me. My bags are made to be used every day, and the materials I choose reflect that.
What's the best business advice you've received?To always strive to be improving and to make your work of a quality that prompts loyalty.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 9, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.Vote now
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now