Making a scene: Casselton woman makes 'funky' handbags
CASSELTON, N.D. - Tanya Kahl didn't used to carry a purse around. Then she started making them, and now the wood-bottomed, eye-catching handbags branded with TK3 are like her calling card."This style, having the hard bottom and the cable handle, ...
CASSELTON, N.D. - Tanya Kahl didn't used to carry a purse around. Then she started making them, and now the wood-bottomed, eye-catching handbags branded with TK3 are like her calling card. "This style, having the hard bottom and the cable handle, it gives you that traditional look, but at the same time, it funks it up a little bit," Kahl said. "It's just a funky design, and that's me. I'm more colorful and always have been, it's just my style. I like the fun and different." She makes the purses under the business name TK3 Designs. She started selling them in August 2014. She has a crafter's license to sell North Dakota State University merchandise and started with Bison-themed purses before branching out into different colors, patterns and materials like hair-on hides and leathers. She also makes wine bags and said the hard bottoms make them great for carrying wine bottles. What inspired you to make and sell purses? My mom had found a similar purse at a boutique in Colorado. I thought it was really cute. It's kind of funky, but I made a lot of changes. I tweaked them to make them my own style. I took a picture of it after I gave it to her for her birthday and then it just went nuts. As soon as I had posted it (on Facebook), I had a number of likes on the picture. After that, I probably had eight orders right away. I hadn't intended on selling them. Some of the tools are pretty specialized, and I craft a lot. I do a lot of sewing. So, I put the investment in, but wasn't really anticipating that anybody would want to buy them. Where do you sell your handbags? Facebook is my main marketing, I suppose. My first vendor show was the Big Iron Ladies Luncheon, and that went very well. That was fun. I did four shows in November, and it's just been word of mouth other than that. It keeps me busy enough where I'm making money at it but, at the same time, I'm not so busy that I can't do it anymore.
Do you have a favorite style? Not really. I suppose maybe the leathers and then using some of the hides. There's a couple in there that I really like. The problem that I have is when I do find a favorite, and I have found quite a few of them, I'll use them instead of selling them. There's a point when I have to just say enough is enough because I cannot house all of them. How many do you have? I have six of them. My kids are in sports, so during the football season I have an all-black one that says, "Central Cass football." How do you feel when you're creating a handbag? It's fun. I like creating it myself, coming up with the design, being open to doing it how I want to. I take custom orders. I do a lot for schools. Some will want embroidery on there. I'll randomly be thinking while I'm doing dishes or working on a different purse, just trying to come up with a different design. What are your hopes for your business? I would like to see it continue to grow. It would be fun to see them in boutiques, but I don't know how to price it so we can both make money. Connect with Kahl To contact Kahl or find out about her upcoming vendor fairs, visit her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/tk3designs.