Every brand and every professional has an origin story. Have you ever thought about yours?
The Carry Courage story began several years ago, yet it feels like a lifetime. Fast forward to today, and I am living my dream of creating beautiful, sustainable purses and handbags for intentional women who care about the environment.
But it was a long, winding journey to get here.
It occured to me that I’ve never taken the time to compose the story of Carry Courage in written form, so that is what I aim to do, briefly, with this post.
Sustainable handbags in Portland, OR - The Carry Courage story
As I mentioned in my Looking Back at 2021 blog post, I’ve been blessed with some great opportunities for interviews, partnerships and press coverage for my sustainable fashion handbags.
Here it is, straight from me, because I thought it was time to tell my story directly.
As you read, I hope you’ll think about what your passions are, and examine your current situation – maybe you’ll find that there is room to follow your dreams to a greater, and more profitable extent.
I started sewing in 2014, and immediately fell in love with it. I was constantly doing crafts and making clothes for my daughter, who was quite young at the time.
When my daughter got older and became more interested in clothes that fit her developing style, I started thinking about other items I could sew.
I realized that I was lacking the right bag. I knew exactly what type of bag I wanted, down to the precise features. So I made it!
Step 1: Seeing an opportunity, filling a need
I was pleased to have solved my own problem, but it was someone else taking notice that moved this story to the next phase.
One day, a woman complimented me on the bag I had made. Without much thought, I said, “Thank you; I made it!”
Turned out that the woman was organizing vendors for a local women's conference. She invited me to sell my bags there – an opportunity I was pleased to take.
While at the conference, I got a lot of positive feedback on my bags! I was so grateful, and it gave me a major “AHA!” moment: this could be more than just a hobby. This could be a full-time business.
Step 2: Listen to your intuition
For a little background, while all this was happening, I was working full time for a family business, in a situation that was growing less ideal as time went on. As my excitement began growing for my newfound hobby with potential to be a business, I realized I had to make a tough choice.
After a lot of thought, I made the decision to quit my office job at the family company and pursue my handbag company.
In the midst of all that, we moved from California to the Pacific Northwest to make a clean break and start fresh.
Step 3: Build your dreams
With a new state and a blank slate, Carry Courage was born as a sustainable handbag and purse company.
I knew that I wanted my products to be eco-friendly, sustainable, and yet, durable and high-quality. Discovering cork fabric was a breakthrough in making all the pieces fit together.
From there, I got busy building a website, creating more products, and fine-tuning the best way to get those products to market. I can’t say that it was easy. Or that I’ve arrived at some kind of destination where “I’ve made it.”
But what I have done is identified a passion, pursued opportunity, and relentlessly honed my craft and the ethics that frame how I do business.
Owning a one-woman shop is a SIGNIFICANT undertaking, as you might know. But I love what I do, how it's done, and that I get to call the shots making my dreams a reality that puts food on the table for my family.
I couldn’t do it without your support, so I will forever be thankful to each of you who have purchased my products. I’ll continue to show up, making sustainable bags for women who are looking for them.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope to inspire women who have a dream in their hearts – to let them know that anything is possible.
I’d love to hear what dream you’re thinking of launching! Please leave a comment below if you have something to share.