‘I’m A Maker To The Core’ – Laura Shape, Viv & Edie

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I created the Kuel Shop with the bravest women I know in mind – entrepreneurs. Months ago I approached Laura, having seen her incredible handbags on Instagram. I told her about Kuel Life and my concept for the Kuel Shop – products BY women FOR women. I asked her if she would consider participating – to believe in me and the idea. Laura said ‘Yes!’.

When you buy something from the Kuel Shop you aren’t just acquiring a new ‘widget’; you are participating in a real woman’s story. I am proud and humbled to share Laura’s story, in her own words, with all you amazing women.

Here’s Laura:

“My first career was as a graphic designer. I spent nearly 20 years working mostly for startup internet companies where I learned I enjoy trying to get businesses off the ground. I’m happiest when things aren’t routine and when my efforts really make a difference to the success of a company. Eventually, I got as far as I wanted to go on that career path and was feeling burnt out. Right around then I reconnected with my (now) husband and moved to Denver to be with him. That gave me the opportunity to start fresh on something new.

I’m a maker to the core. My mother is a fine artist and my father an engineer, so I was pretty much born to straddle the line between form and function. I’ve taken classes in jewelry making, shoe making, pottery, sewing, basketweaving, stained glass, woodworking, leatherwork, you name it. I love learning how things are made and trying my hand at it. The only mediums I’ve fallen in love with so far are jewelry and leather, so I tried combining the two into a belt business. I sculpted ornate brass buckles by hand using techniques I learned from jewelry making. I loved doing it, and in the process learned I really like making pretty, wearable art for women. Unfortunately, not a lot of women wear belts right now. And as I was a brand new entrepreneur with no marketing background, turning that into a profitable business was too much of a challenge. I decided to pivot to something women are passionate about: handbags.

I’ve never personally been a bag collector, so I’ve spent a lot of time researching what makes a high quality bag, what women like, what’s already on the market, and who my target audience is. My goal for Viv & Edie is to create limited edition and one of a kind bags that are exquisite art pieces. Beautiful, functional sculptures you can wear.

My bags are top quality, designed and made in the USA. I design each bag and decorate the leather pieces for them myself using several techniques like foiling, hand painting, and airbrushing. They’re then cut and sewn into bags by a luxury bag manufacturer in L.A. The bags I’m selling right now are my first steps in learning the craft, but I’m starting to get the hang of it, so expect to see much more sophisticated styles soon.”