I know I’ve said it before, but I absolutely love meeting with and getting the word out about talented Cleveland makers. And I’m constantly blown away by how many creative people doing awesome work there are in this town! Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with Nina Kocan, the handbag designer at Freddy Hill Design, as well as Freddy himself.
Freddy Hill Design was producing gorgeous woodwork when Nina joined as an apprentice. When the shop began experimenting with leather upholstery, creativity was sparked to move into creating handbags. In fact, I got to see the very first handbag, which Freddy hand stitched.
From hand stitching to creating handbags out of locally-sourced leather on a machine, Nina quickly found herself at the helm of the line of Freddy Hill Designs handbags. And what a beautiful line it is!
From raw, unlined totes featuring a single inner pocket to lined totes with fun liner designs and three inner pockets to wallets to clutches, there is a style, size, and design for everyone. The large bags take about five to six hours to make, while the wallets and clutches take about two hours. You can easily tell from talking to Nina and from checking out the bags how much love and pride go into each one.
My absolute favorite detail on the bags is the “F” emblem, which Freddy told me is based on the way his grandfather (also named Freddy) would write his name. For a girl who is a total sucker for tradition, that just put these bags over the top for me!
Nina was generous enough to offer me my choice of bag to take home. I chose this black leather tote, with pink striped lining and very subtle pink stitching.
The tote is large enough to carry all the essentials for a busy day, but not so large that I feel like I’m hauling a suitcase on my shoulder. The craftsmanship is outstanding and the new leather smell is something I wish would never wear off!
Freddy Hill Designs has been known for their gorgeous furniture, but will certainly also be making a name for themselves with these beautiful bags. Not only is the product lovely, but the time, effort, and care that goes into them shines through, too.
You can check out the entire line of bags online. Freddy Hill Designs handbags have also been carried at Lingg, The Susie Frazier Gallery, NOTO, and Studio Le Beau. I can’t wait to see more and more of these fabulous bags made in CLE being carried around our hometown!
***Disclosure: I was invited to check out Freddy Hill Designs and to select a handbag to keep. All opinions, as well as my choice of bag and to write about my experience, are 100% my own.***