in the Bag
ID magazine, January 2002
Kate Spade looks positively prosaic compared to Brandi Shigley, the ebullient 26-year-old handbag designer behind b. shigley designs. A one-woman factory, Shigley hauls fabric, pins, needles, favorite music, and her dog into her dining room and goes to work, materials sprawling to the four walls. From this creative tornado, a handbag is born. But not just any bag. These are handmade statements of personal style, brimming with personality and panache.
Shigley launched her company in 1999, after deciding (with considerable cajoling) that there might be a bigger market for her designs than just friends. From here, she set to work designing her line, and thus the personality of b.shigley handbags. There's Izabella Intern (her grey wool exterior says professional, while the satin pink interior betrays a feminine sensiblity), Crazy Uncle Harry (wild, brushable green fur accented with pink chiffon handles), and Lucille (cute, but one tough cookie--denim through and through).
It's surprising to discover that the extent of Shigley's relevant experience before launching her business consisted of crafting paper purses in the second grade. In fact, Shigley only learned to sew the year earlier upon receiving a sewing machine as a gift. Now, she's selling 30-60 bags per month between her Web site and boutiques. As demand grows, she hopes her business will, too, allowing her to hire others to assist in the creative tornado, allowing her time more time for designing. But most notably, talking with Shigley reminds you why you got into design in the first place. "When I create my handbags, I kind of glance down at the mess and the colors and textures come to life."
b.shigley bags range in price between $40-60 and can be ordered from: www.bshigley.com. Custom bags are also available.