Totes and Handbags by MsKaren

American Made Since 2009

Karen Thiess

Manlius, New York
Truly Handmade by local artist. Many one of a kind creations with beautiful quality fabrics. Designs are inspired out of necessity and beauty.
New York

Tell us about your business.

I've always had a passion for fabrics and enjoyed sewing new creations. I love to sew whether it was clothing or toys for my children, curtains to pillows for my house. My friends started to ask me to sew items for them too. I began creating handbags to match outfits and this too peaked interest with my friends and their friends. Eventually, I needed to charge for the fabric. And so a hobby began. Most items are premade and sold on line but the most fun is when someone asks for a custom order. They pick out their fabric, style of bag, pockets, zipper or flap handles and closure ( magnetic snap, button, latch or other ideas). My business is a real hands on one. I don't have anyone helping....I think I'm too picky!

What makes your business stand out?

I enjoy working on a custom order. The process of decisions and ideas back and forth brings the customer closer and make me real in their eyes. I'm a local handbag designer working from home giving the customer exactly what they envision. The perfect bag.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Enjoy your work and the rest will follow.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 8, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.