Retail Tip Sheet: Fairhaven Boutique Make Leather Bags, Wallets


When Nicki Lang’s father made her a leather bag many years ago, she had no idea what impact it would have on her future career.

This bag is now hanging on the wall of his studio Leather goods found, which is at 1000 Harris Ave. on the second floor above Wood art and Bonne Terre Pottery. Lang founded the company six years ago after becoming a mom and looking for a career with flexible hours. It makes handcrafted leather bags and accessories, including wallets, largely from recycled materials.

The bag her father made was originally a leather coat, and this is something she returned to when she sought a new career after being a teacher.

“I don’t think I would have ever thought of starting a business like this,” she said.

The business has grown steadily and about a year ago Leah Macaleer joined Found as a co-owner. Macaleer, who has a background in marketing, was also looking for a career that balances work and family, and both like to call themselves “momtrepreneurs.”

The business continued to grow, allowing owners to launch a new website as well as an expanded fall / winter line. Found has six models of bags and five models of wallets ranging from $ 20 for some wallets to $ 300 for bags. Most of the bags are sold online, but they are also available at Whatcom Museum gift shop and Backcountry essentials as well as at the Found studio.

Lang said she started the business because she felt there was an opportunity to sell bags and wallets that weren’t mass produced and offered personalized features. She describes them as having a rustic elegance and a vintage feel.

“It’s a bag that someone can carry for years,” Macaleer said.

It takes Lang about a day to make a bag, using his hands as well as a few old sewing machines. The name Found refers to the idea that at the start of the company Lang only used “found” second-hand materials, including yarn. Lang is now using new material, but also continues to search for reused material.

Lang started out by selling her products using the Etsy e-commerce site, which she said was a great place to start. Selling a product like a bag or wallet was previously difficult to sell online, as these are items people usually want to touch before they buy. Customers are more than willing to buy the product based on pictures, and they tend to be pleasantly surprised when it arrives and find out what it looks like, Macaleer said.

For more details about the company, call 360-296-0860.


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This story was originally published October 3, 2015 5:29 am.


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