Meaningful Purchase - Handmade Purse - madebyhank

A few years ago, I was browsing Etsy for a new handbag and came across this purse from burgeoning designer Katie Henry, whose line is called madebyhank. (At the time I purchased this bag, she was still an up-and-comer, but I believe her stuff is so popular now that she often sells out of new merchandise the day she releases it. Yes, I'm a trend-setter... what can I say!) She calls this line of bags 'tough ruffles' and uses lots of reclaimed materials in production, including a vintage belt for the strap! I was enamored and convinced my husband that I would use it all the time and he should allow me to splurge on the slightly-higher-than-I-normally-pay-for-handbags price. Well, I was right. I still use it almost every day. I also continue to get compliments on it almost everywhere I go. The only problem was that after a few years of heavy use, it was starting to look a little worse-for-wear. The fabric was looking dirty and the belt was coming un-stitched. I brought it to the dry cleaners, but they wouldn't touch it because of the leather and I don't sew, so I wasn't sure how to fix the belt. So, I decided to just email Katie and see if she had any advice for me. Well, she replied promptly and kindly offered to have me ship the bag back to her so that she could clean it all up for me... at no charge! Not only did she clean up the fabric and sew the belt back together, but she also re-positioned the inside pockets and added a magnet closure! Then, as if that wasn't enough, she included a free tough ruffles zipper purse to reimburse me for the shipping I paid! Above and beyond.
(As you can see, Katie has such great style when it comes to packaging and branding, too. I actually kept the original tag that came with the purse all these years because I thought the little plastic dinosaur attached to it was so clever and quirky. Love.)

This is exactly the kind of customer service and personal attention that I wish would accompany all of the products I buy. If you've ever seen the videos in the Story of Stuff series, you have heard the term 'designed for the dump.' One of the things that makes our current method of consumerism so unsustainable is that the stuff we buy is designed not to last. So, when something does break or start to look worn out, unless we have the skills to fix it ourselves, it's usually cheaper to just trash it and buy new. How long can we really keep that up?

I love my madebyhank purse for many reasons, the first of which is that it's rad, but also because it was designed and made by a person who has passion for what she does and cares about her products and her customers. So, go check out her site and find something you love. It won't be hard. Thanks again, Katie!

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