WAY BACK: The event that led to me making handbags all day every day, starting a company that sells handbags, and eventually opening a store that offers more than handbags, was my love-at-first-sight meeting of Steve, at a party at Roche Harbor Resort, circa 1985. Back then, a summer beach fire at Roche was a regular occurrence. We met up with friends on the Fourth of July. Steve and I both carried fanny packs. Side note: Steve is the most fantastic male human on the planet (Seriously! We marry what we need!). With his sense of humor and front teeth that don’t quite line up, he was/is irresistible. Women go nuts for him but I don’t mind; he’s going home with me:
ENTER, HANDBAGS (by way of a confession): A few years later, and now Steve’s wife and (an immature) mother of three, handbags helped keep me from losing it completely. Back then I thought I would go crazy as mother unless I could find something of “value” to do (!). What a false idea! Reader, please understand: I had no concept of the importance of my role as mom, did NOT step happily out of my career to do right by these little ones. I’m a Baby Boomer, trained from infancy to have a career and juggle all aspects of life perfectly. I entered parenthood selfishly believing that we should put them into daycare and call it good. After baby three, my convictions got the best of me and we decided to keep me/us home. It led to days when I most literally laid my forehead down on the cold kitchen floor, praying: “HELP! I don’t know how to do this! Get me out of here!” Poor Steve; he would (EXAGGERATION! Kinda…) come home to kids as happy as clams and me frazzled in my robe, a dripping whisk in my hand, eyes spinning like pinwheels… (SO kidding! OK still JUST KINDA the self dies hard…)! Now our oldest son is gone – tall, hungry, hairy. The little girl in the picture is about life (and make-up), and the youngest is getting a social life of his own.
OF COURSE the kids are the best people that ever happened to me, with the exception of my husband. But before handbags. So, life in that order: Steve, Kids, Handbags. I exaggerate only a little by saying that making handbags saved my marriage and my life from complete and utter breakdown. I would have gone crazy at home without something to focus my energy. I sold my first bag while standing at the Little League field. She paid $85 for a fabric bag, at which point I stopped giving them away to people on street corners, started sewing all the time, and attending craft shows and church bazaars. What do they say, “If you develop a habit bad enough, sooner or later you have to become a dealer?” Not funny, TRUE.
RECAP: Between then and now, we: 1) Got lost in evangelical legalism; 2) Got out of that and into relationship; and 3) Got some freedom-teaching and read some pivotal books. One was True Faced by John Lynch, WOW. (If you need some freedom, click that link.) Another, the book that super-ultra changed my life, is The Good News About Injustice, by International Justice Mission founder Gary Haugen. This book, as well as The Hole in Our Gospel by the director of World Vision, Richard Stearns – among others – basically shattered my safe and unrealistic, ridiculously self-centered world view for good.
WORK BEGINS: All those years of sewing and yearning to create have melded into Momentum Handbag & Accessories, essentially our offering. The story about Momentum Handbag, and how I landed an awesome professional relationship with Saddleback Leather takes a little longer to tell – click here for THAT story.
A few years later in 2011, we opened a retail store in Friday Harbor on First Street. Who knew that a fanny-pack-wearing, love-at-first sight meeting, three kids, a nutty Baby Boomer, plenty of real change in religion and relationship, and “chance happenings” (ha!) would turn into a life?
We definitely did not.