Happy New Year from Wickedly Chic! We’ve been spending some time with Lesia Griffin of 144 Collection who designs handbags. You may have seen some of her gorgeous handcrafted bags from NYC on Instagram or in our gift guide.

Do tell us how 144 Collection got into making vibrant handbags, totes, & more and the story of how it became a business.

144 Collection started as a hobby for me. I was looking for a fun way to express my creative side. I began taking sewing lessons and purchased my first sewing machine from Target. I always loved handbags and pouches so I naturally gravitated toward making them. When people ask who designs handbags, I am the first to raise my hand.

I wanted to create handcrafted handbags and accessories that no one else had. 144 Collection was born from that desire. The name comes from my old apartment building number where I first learned how to sew. Three sewing machines later, countless handbags and a wonderful seamstress Mary Sue Lee; I’m still amazed about how it all came to be.

Someone on your design team apparently loves bold, brave, bright colors. What is your inspiration behind designing a new handbag, tote or wristlet?

That would be me! I love retro prints, bright and rich colors. I’m always looking for that fabric or accent that will make handbag, clutch bag or pouch pop. I usually create a design based on necessity for myself, family or friend.

For example, I created the Dorothy wristlet because I needed extra compartments to carry my Metrocard, credit card, and essentials without having to bring a big bag with me everywhere. My Angela clutch bag came about from my cousin’s prom. I was tasked with making three designs for her prom and that clutch bag was the one she loved.

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What is your hottest seller and why do so many people love it?

I have two top sellers: my Courtney coin purses and the Dorothy wristlet. Both are great when you are on the go and need to travel light. They both have extra pockets which I am very much into. As a woman, you can never have enough pockets to hold all of your stuff.

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It looks like you have some amazing cross body bags. Why are these handcrafted bags so popular and handy?

Cross body bags are just so convenient which is why I think they are so popular. You don’t necessarily have worry about handbag straps digging in to your arms. Your hands are free since you don’t have to worry about carrying around a bag. They come in all shapes and sizes. I love my cross body bag for all of those reasons though I’m often guilty of over filling my bag.

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What gifts will any woman love for Valentine’s Day?

Definitely the Dorothy wristlet, zipper pouches and cosmetic bags.

What can shoppers expect for the spring? Will you have new designs on board?

There will definitely be more handbags, vibrant prints and baby accessories. I’m always adding and trying out new things. Also customers, family and friends are always telling me what they would like to see.

Lesia would love to have Wickedly Chic readers stay connected with 144 Collection. Find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.