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Katie Kalsi Handbags

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Katie Kalsi Handbags

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Katie Kalsi

Many of my readers may not know that I lived in Memphis, TN before moving to Shelby, NC. Katie Kalsi and I were friends and played together during my early school years at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis. Our mothers have remained good friends, and I have enjoyed getting back in touch with her and getting to know her again as an adult.

kalsi-5Katie Kalsi began her career as an artist painting contemporary works on canvas using oils and acrylics.  In the summer of 2006, Katie saw an untapped opening in the handbag market and decided to explore it.  She knew that combining her passion for painting and her love of stylish handbags would be nothing short of a winning combination.

With no previous sewing experience, Katie hand-stitched 24 hobo-style bags in her art room at her house.  She bought skins of leather and meticulously cut the leather into shoulder straps.  She then took designs from her signature paintings and painted those same designs onto her straps.  Attaching the shoulder straps to the bags with fabulous hardware, Katie Kalsi Handbags was born.

Katie gave 23 of those first bags to friends and family members and asked them to carry them kalsi-6around Memphis.  The last bag she carried herself.  It didn’t take long before the fashion forward women of Memphis were stopping everyone they saw carrying one of Katie’s bags and asked where they could get one.  In the meantime, Katie took a sewing class to further her handbag-making skills and to learn all aspects of production.  Converting an old barn into a studio, Katie makes all her own prototypes. Things began to happen quickly for Katie and her business rapidly grew as word got out.  Katie expanded into totes, cosmetic bags, and clutches with more sketches waiting to be produced into terrific bags waiting in her sketch book.  

katie-kalsi-2One of Katie’s greatest honors came in 2008 when she was contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  A 15-year old cancer patient had dreamed of becoming a fashion designer since she was a little girl.  While a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, the young designer told Make-A-Wish of her aspirations.  With her design in hand, Katie made the young patient a one-of-a-kind handbag.  The memory of seeing the joy on her face as one of her designs came off the drawing paper and into reality will stay with Katie forever.

Recently, Katie was chosen to participate in the annual Mother’s Day in Hollywood Celebrity Gift Boxes 2009.  Katie made customized bags for 30 famous mothers, including Angelina Jolie, Rebecca Romijn, Jennifer Garner, Angie Harmon, and Allison Sweeny, star of the daytime drama, Days of Our Lives.

In less than three years, Katie’s bags can be seen on kalsi-4the arm of Cameron Diaz, Faith Hill (who personally contacted Katie about her love for Katie’s bags), Nicole Kidman, Lisa Marie Presley (who affectionately calls Katie the “Guitar Strap Girl”), rocker Pat Benatar, Sandra Bullock, American Idol’s Katherine McPhee, January Jones (star of the critically acclaimed television show Mad Men), country singing sensation Julie Roberts, Marlo Thomas and her sister-in-law Annie Thomas, who commissioned Katie to make her a one-of-a-kind clutch for Jennifer Aniston’s 40th birthday party.

Katie’s most recent honor was being asked to design a bag for Women Heart; The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease to be sold on their website with proceeds going to educate women through education on the #1 killer of women in America – heart disease. Katie’s career as a handbag designer and manufacturer has taken off in a very short time.  Her bags are in line to be sold at upscale stores all over the country and Katie is already busy at work on her next collection.

Take a look at Katie’s Website! I think you’ll really like her unique designs.

– Miss A

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In 2008, I launched AskMissA.com which grew from my personal blog into a site with 700 writers, covering the intersection of charity & lifestyle in 20 U.S. cities. With Charity + Life, I am going back to a personal blog where I can share my favorite things, and continue to shine a light on nonprofits, and cause marketing campaigns to inspire others to give as they live.

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