As Long as I can remember, I have loved design and sewing. While I learned a lot about sewing from my Mother, my formal introduction to art began during my High School years in Southwestern Michigan. The technical aspects of sewing were learned in Home Economics and color composition in the Art classes. I continued my education and interest in design while attending Hope College (Holland, Michigan) and Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo).
For the next twenty years I worked in the Investment Group at Continental Bank (Chicago, IL). During this period I continued to design clothes for myself and my family (which included custom made suits for my husband). While working in the Loop District of Chicago, I became acutely aware of the various bags that women needed in their busy schedules. I had to design something that was lightweight and could be used for casual or dress wear. After leaving the bank, I worked for Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL. I gained hands-on experience working with all kinds of fabrics. It was wonderful to help with the store displays and actually design my own style of bags for the company's national trade shows. I also helped the customers with their creative projects. I finally realized how important it was for women to have a small bag for essentials, even though they carry a large bag most of the time.
In 1997 after five years of crafting and selling the Mall Bags, new items were added to the line: Back-packs, carry-all bags, sling bags, Eyeglass cases, Check book covers and key bags. I am especially excited about my latest addition .... the Mini-Bag that can be worn as a Neck-bag or regular purse. Over the last ten years my customer list has included the following: Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago,IL) Brookfield Zoo (Brookfield, IL); Nature of Things (Franklin, WI); Caribbean Gardens (Naples,FL); Lowry Park Zoo (Tampa, FL); Yai Yai's (Tarpon Springs, FL); Miller Park Zoo (Bloomington, IL); Forduns (Kailua-Kon, Hawaii); Elmhurst Art Museum (Elmhurst, IL); The Blueberry Store (South Haven, MI); Mostly Handmade (Evanston, IL); Washington Mercantile (Coldwater, MI); Windy City Weather Co (Chicago, IL); Northbrook Library (Northbrook, IL). I am most proud of the many compliments given to me by my customers thanking me for designing such a uniquely practical product. Even though I've produced and sold thousands of bags, I still get a great feeling when seeing my Mall Bag Products being used and enjoyed.
I am extremely happy to welcome all of you (old & new friends) to my website. I will try to have new and exciting bags for you to view as often as possible. Please check my schedule for upcoming Craft Shows. Looking forward to hearing your comments!
- Juanita Stansberry