The reason? Sally Peek's delightful Nana by Sally handbags. Handmade from a selection of playful, colorful upholstery weight fabrics, Sally's bags are versatile, feminine and anything but cookie-cutter. I recently got a chance to chat with Sally about her work and her history.
Q: My first question is ... why handbags?
A: I love the versatility of a handbag. Someone who may not have an adventurous clothing style can really step out of their comfort zone with a wildly printed handbag. Also, clutch bags are fun to carry because they make us feel more feminine. Anything goes with handbags, and I like being a creator in that realm. Plus, they are fun to make!
Q: What were you doing before you started your own business? Have you always been artistic and crafty?
A: I was actually a paralegal right before I started my business. My degree is in anthropology, but it was not something I wanted to pursue academically so I have always known that my career would be a bit unconventional. I have been artistic ever since I was a little girl. I used to make friendship bracelets and sell them at school. I never approached a craft lightly -- it always evolved into a little business opportunity!
Q: I understand your label is named after your great-grandmother. What was she like?
A: Nana was a wonderfully unique woman and was an enormous part of my childhood and early adulthood. Nana had a very quirky and sweet approach to life. She did not take herself too seriously, and everyone who knew her fell in love with her. Because of my great respect for Nana, I named my business after her. Since I have started my business, though, I have met so many other fantastic women who either have a "Nana" in their lives or are called "Nana" by their family members. I like that I am connected to all of these special women through my creations. It makes my job so much more fulfilling than I ever expected it to be.
Q: How would you describe the type of woman you imagine carrying a Nana bag?
A: The Nana woman is independent and unique and respects these qualities in her friends. She often also holds a special connection to the women in her family. Nana women span several generations and I love that.
Q: Where can people find your work?
A: I sell my work right out of my home studio in Columbia, S.C., and at various craft fairs in the Southeast. I set up most Saturdays at the All Local Farmers' Market at 701 Whaley Street in Columbia. This market is a real gem ... I also sell to several retail stores and these can be found on my website.
Q: I love that your bags are all "100 percent unique." Are there any "100 percent unique" places in South Carolina that you love and can suggest to our readers?
A: Here are three of my favorite places in Columbia, S.C.:
All Local Farmers' Market -- 701 Whaley St. -- there are tons of fantastic food and craft vendors and it runs every Wednesday and Saturday all year round! There is always wonderful food served, often live music to enjoy and the best group of locals around!
Bohemian -- 707 Saluda Ave. -- one of the best clothing boutiques around. The ladies that run this operation are the absolute coolest and genuinely nice stylists in town.
Blue Cactus Cafe -- 2002 Greene St. -- The absolute best restaurant in the world. I am not kidding. A combination of Korean and Southwestern fare. Family-run and this family is a true gem. Slow food at its finest.
To see more of Sally Peek's creations or to score a Nana bag for yourself (or your stylish Nana!) visit her website.