Paige Davidson studied to be a painter, but started a handbag business with her mom creating one-of-a-kind bags from vintage textiles — Cahoots Handbags.
Tell us a little bit about you and what you do.
I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000 with my BFA in Studio Art. I moved back to my hometown of Gainesville, Texas, in 2002 to focus on painting full-time without distractions and started making handbags with my mom and sister as a way to utilize the vintage fabrics we’d been collecting. Almost immediately, a magazine showed them off and turned a part-time project into a business.
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What made you interested in vintage fabrics and handbags?
My grandparents were antique dealers in their retired lives, and our whole family has always had an interest in collecting things with history and character. Vintage fabrics have a quality that contemporary fabrics don’t. They also carry with them a nostalgia that sparks a set of memories in each of the people that carries our bags. Every day we hear, “That looks just like my grandmother’s couch!” It is a different fabric for each person who says it, and we believe that reminding you of childhood moments at your grandmother’s house is the sweetest gift we could give you.
What inspires you?
Everything! I love to travel and am always inspired by the colors and textures and traditional craft of the countries I visit. I am constantly inspired by the people around me, like my family. My husband is a prosthetist at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and makes hands and feet and legs and arms for kids who need them, and he’s constantly working through creative projects for his little friends there that are hugely inspirational. I’m inspired by movies and music and always have something playing in the studio while I work.
What other hobbies do you have?
Work doesn’t leave much time for hobbies, but I do have a diversity of projects and jobs within the studio. The handbags are actually the hobby that turned into a business. My real “job” is painting and I love that more than anything else I could be doing.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve started hand-illustrating cards (ink and watercolor originals) for our customers. They began as just Valentine cards, but I loved doing them so much as a way to loosen myself up between “real paintings” that I have been spending a good chunk of my time working on those alone. I take them to the little indie markets we do in addition to our bags and the response has been great. I love the idea of people giving some little something I made as a gift to someone they love. People don’t take the time to write as often as they should.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
“If it were easy, then everyone would do it.”
Learn more about Paige and Cahoots Handbags at these websites.
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