The Bag Lady - From Shoe Bags to Handbags

I used to dream of becoming a fashion designer. My mother used to tell me that she believed that one day I would have my own boutique. Although I loved fashion and it seemed like a wonderful idea, I really didn't know how it would ever happen - especially since my academic and career choices had carried me so far from the fashion business.

More than ten years ago, my BFF Stephanie and I started offering personalized embroidered shoe bags to close friends and members of an organization we belong to in order to participate in the entrepreneurial program. Stephanie came up with the idea, I had the sewing skills and a computerized embroidery/sewing machine so together we came up with a product to sell - personalized embroidery bags that had inspirational sayings, embroidered high heeled shoes, and anything else they could think of. The bags were popular, especially for personalized gifts.

Many years ago, Stephanie brought an embellished purse to an event. It caught my eye - it had everything on it - beads, ribbons, embroidery, you name it, but it was tastefully done AND fun. With my imagined creativity and ego, I asked to borrow it and set out to make a similarly styled bag. The result was the bag pictured.  It has a brooch on it that my mother gave me decades ago. I treasure it.

And, from there with the continued support of my friends, who encouraged me to pursue the handbag business, my 'sisters' from the organizations I belong to, and many others, I am able to grow my business that specializes in embellished handbags and totes called PORTAGE Embellished Handbags.

(Excerpt from the 2019 S/S LUXE Digital Magazine. For the complete article go to

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