Commissioning a bespoke bag

I have discovered that there is an art to successful commissioning a bespoke bag! It is so easy to get bogged down if there are too many options and that can consume valuable time on both sides. But when people ask me to make a special gift for a special person it’s great to hear the backstory, and I find it personally very satisfying to know that my work is bringing real joy to someone.

I think it really helps when the customer brings an initial idea of what they would like – shape, colours, size, style, pockets etc. We can start getting inspiration by reviewing the website shop and catalogue of examples. If possible I like to meet clients in person and that way I can show examples of designs and the client can see the fabrics available – all side by side to judge how different combinations work. I will use drawings, photos, words and patterns to confirm my understanding. I also like to show work-in-progress pictures and it’s exciting for everyone to see a piece taking shape!

Finally, it’s important to be realistic about the price for a bespoke bag. So, once the specification or options are reasonably agreed I will make sure you know the estimated price and lead time so there are no surprises. Inevitably bespoke work takes longer to make and that has to be reflected in the price which will be somewhat higher than a similar stock bag. To recognise the commitment I will ask for a 50% deposit which is refundable unless you cancel after I have purchased or cut the material. The balance is payable on collection/despatch.

Handmade round shoulder bag in Harris Tweed showing an embroidered picture of Cookworthy Knap

This handmade round shoulder bag in Harris Tweed shows an embroidered picture of Cookworthy Knap – the “nearly there” or “coming home” trees.

My unique Harris Tweed bee bag! The front panel was a challenge requiring precision sewing to get the honeycomb effect. The bumble bee itself is a combination of embroidery & appliqué.

Made to celebrate UN World Bees Day 2020.