Best of Etsy: Beach totes

Between towels, snacks, sun protection and more, you have a whole lot to carry with you when you head to the beach. Fortunately with these stylish handmade bags, toting around all your necessities will be a cinch.

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Look your best at the beach
Between towels, snacks, sun protection and more, you have a whole lot to carry with you when you head to the beach. Fortunately with these stylish handmade bags, toting around all your necessities will be a cinch.

Canvas market bag

Every woman needs a summer bag that will go with any look, no matter how vibrant or colourful it might be. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with this large canvas market bag by Molly at The Stowe. The neutral colour blocking ensures it’s gorgeous to look at but will still go with any ensemble.

Canvas Market BagSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start creating and to open your Etsy shop?

Molly: My inspiration to open an Etsy shop was out of necessity! I moved to Montreal, and not knowing a word of French, I had to get creative with how I made ends meet. While job-hunting, I started up my Etsy shop to keep me occupied and bring in a little extra cash. It has now turned into a full-time job!

SK: What do you think sets your creations apart from other similar items on Etsy?

M: My bags are cut to order and made entirely by me from start to finish. What sets them apart from all the other bags on Etsy is the attention to detail and quality of materials. I only use the finest Italian leather, solid brass hardware and heavy-duty, 100 per cent cotton canvas. They stand up to daily wear beautifully and only get better as time passes. I really take pride in my design and construction, and my basic design is developed and evolves after using each bag in daily life. They’re meant to make your day-to-day easier, and they truly deliver. These bags are built to last, and buying one means you’ll have a friend for life.

Canvas tote with fabric bird

If you’re tired of structure and want a bag with a more relaxed and whimsical vibe, check out this canvas tote with fabric bird detail from Lauren Damini at Strange Daughter Designs. Want something with a touch more colour for summer? No problem! Simply contact Lauren to have a vibrant version customized just for you. And as a bonus, include the coupon code “SHEKNOWS” to save 20 per cent off everything in her shop!

Unbleached canvas tote bag purse with bird detailSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start creating and to open your shop?

Lauren Damini: I suppose I’ve always loved creating things — anything, with all kinds of materials. My mother taught me to sew while making dozens of Halloween costumes for my siblings and [me] when we were growing up, and it was love at first stitch. When I was young — and far too little to operate a sewing machine — I would hand-stitch different materials together to make “presents” for my family members. Before getting started on Etsy, I designed tote bags, purses and crocheted items for craft shows. When the Christmas craft show season had ended, I wasn’t ready to stop creating! My fiancé encouraged me to get started on Etsy, and so far it has been wonderful.

SK: What types of fabrics and materials do you enjoy working with most, and why?

LD: I love to use unexpected materials in my tote bags. I particularly enjoy the juxtaposition of different materials as linings or accent colours. The cotton bird tote I’ve designed is made almost entirely of this gorgeous unbleached cotton I found at a local fabric mill near my apartment. I love the grain of the fabric — it feels so much more real to me than something mass produced. I like to experiment with adding beads, buttons or painted accents to different fabrics. I think it adds something fun and unexpected!

Chevron brown leather bag

If you’re looking for a bag that has cultural depth and a unique quality, check out the many great options created by Alison Gledhill at Grace Design. This purple and brown print bag, for instance, is made of a vintage Japanese kimono.

Chevron leather hobo bagSheKnows Canada: What inspires you to create?

Alison Gledhill: I gain a lot of inspiration from other cultures — notably Japan, where most of the textiles I source originate from. The diversity of their aesthetic over centuries is astounding, and I love to find a textile — something unlike anything I have ever seen before — and re-imagine it into something contemporary and useful in modern day. I love also looking at First Nations/Native American motifs and their lifestyle of living and working in tandem in nature, which is a guiding principle in my life. Further to that, I love uncovering unusual colour pairings and the thrill of the search (thrift shopping).

SK: What do you think sets your creations apart from other similar products available on Etsy?

AG: Without a doubt, I think it is the textiles I use and my own personal aesthetic that I bring to the table. I love searching for these one-of-a-kind, hidden gems of fabrics. My search takes me all over the world — sometimes virtually — and I don’t think that is easy to replicate.

Pink “Om” flower screen print

A day at the beach is the perfect way to relax and unwind from your hectic week. And thanks to Christine Pensa at Art That Moves, you can take an extra bit of Zen with you when you tote around this pink “Om” flower screen print cotton bag.

Pink Om flower cotton toteSheKnows Canada: What inspired you to start creating?

Christine Pensa: Creating is the one constant thing in my life that brings me joy. For the past few years, printing — especially on textiles — has become a passion. My home is a sanctuary, as I know it is for many others, so the “Om for Your Home” line was created to celebrate the joyful and sacred space of any dwelling.

SK: What do you love most about the pieces you sell?

CP: I love imagining a little piece of my creative spirit has made its way into someone’s home. I imagine they recognize something of their own creative spirit and that the piece in turn sparks them to create something new.

More from Etsy

Best of Etsy: Summer dresses
Best of Etsy: Patio decor
Best of Etsy: Pendant necklaces

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