When Lisa Stewart and her husband, Andrew Hayden, first started a custom leather-goods business in their Raleigh home, they never dreamed that it would grow so popular that they’d soon outgrow their home office.
“So many of our customers wanted to get a peek into our process and continue supporting us after the first purchase,” she says. “So we realized that it was time to open a shop to showcase our work.”
The pair opened Lisa Stewart Designs in City Market last fall. The shop sells handmade leather purses, totes, belts and more, many of which bear designs derived from Stewart’s illustrations, including a signature cat design based on her late pet, Bacchus.
“Knowing that people can hang only so much art on the wall, I felt that there had to be a way to make (my art) portable,” she says. “Since it’s important to walk before you run, Andrew and I started with a simple purse for me that featured an abbreviated version of my Bacchus illustration.”
As she wore the bag around town, Stewart received compliments and inquiries as to where she bought it. Eventually, the two began to hone their leatherworking skills and started creating pieces for other people. The orders multiplied, and soon they realized it was time to move the operation from home to an actual studio and shop.
Each piece is hand-crafted in the downtown studio, and Stewart offers personalization on everything from purses to journals. Stewart also offers a “Test Drive Your Bag” service, which allows customers to rent a bag before buying to be certain it fits their needs.
“The inspiration behind test drive your bag was from watching many customers waffle between two bags, unable to make a decision about which one they wanted,” says Stewart.
Stewart and Hayden will launch a Kickstarter campaign next week to raise money to buy a new sewing machine and other leatherwork equipment. For more information, visit lisa-stewart.com.
What’s hot when it’s hot
Summer’s hottest looks will be on display during Macy’s American Icon Fashion Show Thursday. At 6 p.m. at the Crabtree Valley location, shoppers can check out the latest summer trends on the runway and enjoy refreshments, music, cosmetic makeovers and a free gift with purchases. For more information, call 919-510-8700.
Gowns in town
Traditions by Anna bridal boutique will have romantic silk bridal and debutante gowns by Victoria Rose in store for a trunk show Friday and Saturday. Call for an appointment. Traditions by Anna is at 4209-100 Lassiter Mill Road, Raleigh, 919-783-8652, traditionsbyanna.com.
Survive and thrive
Saks Fifth Avenue at Triangle Town Center will host the American Cancer Society’s Survivors Fashion Show Saturday. Attendees can enjoy light refreshments during the show and a chance to win prizes during a raffle. Tickets are $25, and 10 percent of sales during the event will benefit the American Cancer Society. For more info and to reserve tickets, call 919-334-5241.
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