From the moment I first discovered the leather purse handles, I really haven't wanted to make a purse without them. And I'm not alone. At RUG on the weekend, my friend Dorinda was sporting her hooked purse that she had made a few years ago. It looked smashing – and I told her as much. She smiled and said that she had recently replaced her fabric handle with a leather handle, and ever since she is frequently the recipient of compliments. Before, there was the odd one, but now (with the leather strap) there are noticeably more. A leather handle IMHO really elevates a hand-hooked handbag like nothing else - taking it from the handmade realm to finely handcrafted. Who knew that a simple handle could make such a difference?!
But the back story is that it hasn't been quite so rosy. Liking something, wanting something and getting something doesn't always happen in unison, don't you know....and from the beginning it's been a real roller-coaster ride for me. From purchasing them retail, to buying from the Canadian supplier, to months-long waits for product to arrive, to dealing directly with the US distributor, to more long waits for certain colours and styles, to the manufacturer suddenly ceasing operations and the discontinuation of all of the handles, to sourcing a suitable replacement and dealing directly with a leather-worker, to having her say it was too much of a hassle and she didn't want to make any more, to finding and working with another leather-worker to make more, to being very restricted in available colours, to happily discovering that the original manufacturer was restarting with a limited selection of styles, to the devastating news that she was closing up for good.....and finally to a phone call a couple of months ago with the good news that the distributor was going to start making their own. Sigh.
Now the distributor is finally in complete control, and I am looking forward to having reliable access to the handles for the very first time. No longer will I have to place an order in January to hopefully have enough handles for May. No longer will I have to request an inventory before I order, so that I don't bother ordering TOS items, and end up with half (or less!) of the number of handles I was expecting. No longer do I need to feel nervous about anyone placing a large order and wiping me out – I can reorder with confidence!
So here are the details....the leather is the same saddle-leather of the original handles, so it's a bit stiffer, but it's dyed by hand and the slight mottling really complements the texture of the wool IMHO. The handles are still hand-made and hand-stitched in the USA. Colours (shown above) are limited to the better sellers: black, brown, red, olive and amber (golden orange)...but I am hoping that they will add more to the mix going forward (and I will keep requesting a nice dark blue or navy! :-D). The only downside is that the prices have increased - the new Single Urbans will sell for $38 each and the Long Rolled pairs are $54.
I still have a good selection of the other handles (with the softer drum-dyed, more solid-coloured leather) that will be sold at their original prices....but once they're gone, they're gone. Here is some photos of my recent inventory. At the moment, I think I still have all of the colours available, but I suggest you order early, to avoid disappointment.