As my real-life friend Shaina from Post Smith recommended today’s Etsy Monday Seller to me, I thought I’d let Shaina take the reigns and tell us all a little about MS Handbags. So without further ado, I’m going to let Shaina take this over:
I am so happy to be writing a review of my new favorite accessories, my purse and clutch from Michelle at MS Handbags! I first saw one of Michelle’s beautiful clutches on Grey Likes Weddings. She had donated a blue clutch for a giveaway, and despite the fact that I am already married and should have left that giveaway for some deserving bride…I entered anyway. Naturally, I didn’t win, but added Michelle’s blog to my Reader.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I was dying for a pretty blue clutch much like the giveaway clutch, but knew that it was not as practical as it could be, and what I really needed was a nice, small-ish but big-ish spring bag. Enter Michelle’s Etsy store, MS Handbags. We emailed back and forth a few times about a possible custom designed bag, but I ended up going with a floral print bag posted on her Etsy store. I desperately wish I could show you a photo, but…I’m having some technical/camera/computer/internet issues right now.
(Note from Fantabulously Frugal – Luckily Shaina sent me a picture of the bag. So…ta da!)
The bag came in the mail as quickly as mail can arrive from Australia, and I was so excited! I unwrapped the bag and saw that it was so, so perfect. The perfect size, the perfect colors, and it is extremely well-made. I then proceeded to squeal with excitement when I saw that Michelle had made me a little version of the giveaway clutch that I lusted over for so long! I’m sorry, Michelle, I probably shouldn’t have shared that – I don’t want your customers, and potential customers, to think that you automatically give away free stuff. But I just couldn’t resist sharing with the blogland how truly gifted and generous you are!
Bottom line: check out MS Handbags! Michelle frequently offers sales in her Etsy shop, making her bags too good to be true. Tell her I sent you!
Alright, back to Fantabulously Frugal…
Michelle was nice enough to answer a few questions about her store and her designs for all of you fantabulous readers and she lets us all know about how long it takes to receive a package from Australia! Enjoy!
1. When did you create your first handbag and/or when did you first realize you wanted to start making your own handbags?
I made my first handbag in May 2008. I found a pattern for a very unique clutch bag and tried my hand at it. I created one in Navy satin and batik for my sister Jacqui, a red silk clutch as a graduation gift for my friend Marija and a black and white birthday clutch for my friend Lara. These three women are my best friends and their reactions to their bags inspired me to keep sewing!
2. How do you come up with the designs for your handbags & clutches. (Personally I think they’re quite unique! I don’t think I’ve seen any in shapes similar to yours before.)
Trial and error has led me to my current designs! I sketch out different designs constantly and I try to take note of what elements work well when I create a new bag. As such, the bags in my current range are a reflection of what I look for in a bag. They are stylish but very functional.
After creating a handbag it has to pass a rigorous test. In order for a design to make it into my range, my mother has to decide that it’s too beautiful to sell! I have been working on large tote bags for a while, but being mum’s favourite, they never make it to my shop.
3. Do you see yourself branching out into other areas, or do you see yourself sticking with the design of handbags?
I think that MS Handbags will stay true to its name and focus on bags. I find designing and creating my handbags so satisfying that I can’t imagine branching out just yet. At some point I’d like to take a sewing course and learn to make clothes for myself. I’m always finding beautiful fabrics and dreaming of making dresses and coats.
4. Is there any one design that you would call a “favorite”?
I’d say that my favourite design has to be my large pleated shoulder bag. I think it’s an accessory that every woman needs to have. The double straps are easy to wear and the larger size means you can carry just about anything. I use mine to tote my laptop around in. I love the pleating and flower details, which carry this bag from daytime to date-night.
5. It appears that no two bags in your shop even use the same fabric! Do you buy enough fabric to just make one bag?
I love the idea that each bag is unique and that in buying one of my bags you are acquiring something that was meant just for you! As such, I try not to replicate my fabric combinations. Currently I buy just enough for a large pleated shoulder bag and a small clutch.
I’m always coming across new and interesting fabrics so I’ve never wanted to buy in bulk. I know there’ll always be something special around the corner so I’d rather buy smaller quantities as they appear!
On occasion I will find fabric I fall in love with so when I can, I buy an extra metre and put it away for later.
6. As you live in Australia, can you tell me an approximation of how long, after ordering, it would take a bag to arrive in the U.S.?
I only list items in my shop that I have in stock so that I’m able to ship an order immediately after it’s placed. As a serious online shopper I know how exciting it is to receive your package in the mail so I like to send them out right away. I use Australia Post airmail and packages take approximately 7-10 days to reach the U.S.
The items Michelle offers at MS Handbags are so varied and she’s willing to make custom bags that are affordable. Definitely check her out if you’re handbag shopping – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!