A note from owner/designer Megan DeSmidt:
Welcome to St.Clair Designs! We are a small company located in Woodland Park, CO (West of Colorado Springs). All of our beautiful bags are made by myself and a handful of home sewers in my little mountain town. Currently selling at a number of art fairs and festivals in Colorado and continually expanding to include more and more retail locations (see the Where to Buy page), I am happy to see my passion for fabrics and color being embraced by more and more people as my company continues to grow!
The endless variety of fabrics, incorporating vast amounts of different patterns, colors, and textures all pieced together with an artistic eye, is what sets our products apart. I could never buy an entire bolt of one fabric because I would get tired of working with the same thing over and over! Instead, I find my fabrics from a variety of different places, including online companies, retail fabric stores (when they have good sales) and from several interior design manufactures who send along their “left-overs”. The more different fabrics I can incorporate into a pattern the better! This adds to the uniqueness and aesthetic of my bags and purses. Each pattern goes through a process of “testing” during the design process, to include alterations like adding a pocket here or there, changing a regular strap to an adjustable one, and so on. Each design is also given a name, often named after the woman who inspired the design, or after an important person in my life! (The “Barbie”, for example, is my amazing mother who is also an artist).
Beginning with selling my designs in higher-end art/craft shows and at the Estes Park Wool Market in 2010, I have slowly and carefully expanded my line and sales venues to include wholesaling to boutique, museum and other retail stores. And I am still always happy to oblige custom orders!
MORE OF THE STORY: If we go back farther in time…….I started making carpet bags (our largest product, completed with oak handles) after I spent the first two years out of college helping a friend of the family start and manage a stitchery/knitting shop in Colorado Springs (Needleworks By Holly Berry in Old Colorado City). We were in need of knitting/project bags to sell in our shop, and I thought, "well I could do that". After playing around with patterns, I settled on the current carpet bag design with oak handles. Though only a 23-year-old at the time, I have always had some great nostalgia associated with carpet bags, and other beautifully made bags without such modern things as black, plastic-type linings, faux quilted material or Velcro.
Though I continued to make Carpet Bags after leaving the knitting shop in the summer of 2001, I got started in the field I went to school for, Human Services. I started my career as an in-home social worker, working with families who had been referred to the Department of Social Services through the Child Welfare Hotline. It was a hard job to say the least, and the stress of worrying about other people’s children took its toll on me. After just over two years, still making and selling knitting bags all the while, I started working for a local Department of Labor Program as a case manager/employment consultant for 14—21 year olds. After two years of this, I finally got to start my own youth employment program in my own mountain community. The program is called the School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) where I get to counsel help find employment for 16-25 year-olds with mild/moderate disabilities. I have now been managing this program for over 12 years now (and still continue to do so!) but chose to go down to working part-time to expand my business in 2009. Since this time I have added a slew of new designs to my line, have hired helpers, and am having a wonderful time seeing where this creative adventure takes me!