In 2005--fifteen-plus years
and hundreds of handmade tote bags and purses ago--my mom and I did something
that surprised even us. We became business partners.
We started buying fabrics and designing and sewing simple, lightweight tote bags. We gave
them as gifts to family and friends. Again and again.
When the fabrics started piling up and it dawned on us how much money we were spending, we started selling our tote bags.
People heard of us by word of mouth. They
discovered us at craft shows.
asked for more sophisticated bags, we added new styles and fabrics and features--pockets, closures, beads, fluff, interfacing.
Whatever purse or tote bag our customers
asked us to create, we were eager for the challenge.
My mom--Arlene Gresham--and I still get excited about sewing and fabrics. When we get a new fabric, we're eager to transform
it into something beautiful and useful.
Over time, we added a sideline of aprons, decorative pillows, pillow cases, face masks and more to our repertoire.
"When I go to bed, I can hardly wait to get up and start
sewing again," says Arlene.
perfectionists. If something is not just right, we rip it out and start over.
We stay up too late sewing together. My mom cuts out, and I sew by the lamp light because
my eyes are better.
We have fun together
and spark creativity. We've come to know and respect each other in new ways.
My mom designs and sews in Michigan. I sew in California and on summer retreats with her
Our bags? They are toting
stuff all over the world.
Where next will
one of our bags go, we wonder? Who will be our next customer?
How about you?