Kalsi’s bags are nationwide, worn by celebs
By Hillary Houston, Staff Writer, HottyToddy.com
Sometimes the artist isn’t always starving. For one Ole Miss art grad, her bread and butter has become straps and leather as she makes a name for herself in designer handbags.
Now sold in 69 stores throughout 16 states, Katie Kalsi’s name is sweeping department stores across the country.
“There are so many ways to express yourself with art, and you can make money from it,” said Kalsi.
During her time at University of Mississippi, Kalsi studied art and excelled in her talents in oil painting. After graduation, the native Memphian, moved home to embark on her career of moving her art from the wall to designer fashion.
“To be able to take a piece of art that probably not many people will see on your wall, and put it out for people to see, is a whole other way of looking at fashion,” said Kalsi.
Working out of her parents’ barn, Kalsi’s company concept all started by designing and assembling her first handbag for herself. Kalsi said she had never carried a handbag, because she had not found one that worked for her.
The bag was a hit. Kalsi knew she was on to something big and made 23 more for friends and family members. Overwhelmed with compliments and new orders, the self-made designer realized the business she had just created.
Since the first batch of 24, Kalsi has established her own trademark of bags by painting her original designs to removable leather straps that coordinate with multiple bag styles. Kalsi customer’s can pick their style bag and switch out straps depending on how a woman wants to accessorize. Kalsi hopes her line encourages others to express themselves through their own personalized handbag.
“With my bags, you’re picking your strap with whatever color bag you want,” said Kalsi. “You can change the whole look of your outfit or style for the day by just changing your strap in and out.”
Today, Katie Kalsi handbags are carried in Belk department stores and have been spotted on the arms of celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Priscilla Presley.
“A lot of us like to collect art, so for you to be able to pick a piece of art that suits you or fits your personality and make your own bag is pretty special,” said Kalsi.