Meet Vickie, the Maker behind Lovely Little Bags in Long Beach
Vickie has always loved to sew and create. She went to fashion school and then started working in the garment industry as a pattern maker. She’s been in this industry for the last 36 years. She started teaching fashion design about 19 years ago and still does freelance pattern work for startup companies and young designers.
Read her story below
What inspired you to start your creative enterprise? How did you get into making leather bags?
About 8 years ago I went to a street fair and I saw a lady that was selling these little square bags that pinned to your jeans. They were made of all kinds of fabric and the pins had antique buttons attached to them. They were so cute I bought one. A few of my friends said you should make these and sell them.
One day I got a piece of scrap leather. The leather had the raw edge from the skin, and it was so beautiful I made a bag. I used an antique button for the closure and added a strap and sold it on Etsy. By then I wanted to just make leather bags.
Most of my bags you can wear two ways. I love a hands-free bag, but I don’t like the old-style fanny pack. I added lobster claw hooks on a bag that will attach to your belt loops of your jeans & I added a strap to wear it as a crossbody bag as well. This bag was a hit!
"I found a place in downtown LA that sells leather scrap by the pound. This leather comes from large coat and purse manufacturers. They use the center of the skins and throw away the edges. It will go into a landfill if not for the shop that collects the scrap and sells it."
What gets your creative juices flowing?
The leather inspires the design I want to make with it. When I am out and about looking for leather and hardware, I shop downtown LA. I buy my hardware from the same store I get my leather from and some from little roadside shops in the garment district.
I wish I had more time to create my bags, but teaching keeps the lights on. I am happiest when I am making bags.
How does your work march us to a better future?
I know people are moving towards vegan leather, but I am not ready to make all my bags from that yet. I want to use what might go into a landfill before I buy another material. Being sustainable is recycling and up-cycling. We are a society that buys, wears, and wastes. When I buy, I make and keep making smaller and smaller types of bags until there is very little left of a piece of leather. What is left over I make my own labels and then put other scraps up for sale by the pound on Etsy. What goes in the trash is only a handful.
"MADE has been a great fit for me. I love the store and the people that work there."
If you could move to any other place in this or any universe where would you go?
Where would I want to be if not in Long Beach, California? I would love to be in the 1800s kind of old west. I love the dresses and how everything was handmade. I love to see the open land. The California Redwoods is a place where I want to live and maybe even have my ashes placed after I die.