With a background in painting, Katie Kalsi injects a distinct personality into her handbag designs, making them as collectible as art.
The concept of her line is rethinking the traditional canvas. In this case, the straps become the canvas, creating a “wearable piece of art.” Every strap is unique because each one is hand painted.
“All of the straps are made to be interchangeable, so in a sense you are able to create your own handbag customized to your style! Whether you want a funky colorful strap that fits your personality or a collegiate strap to rep your favorite sports team, there are numerous styles to choose from!” she says.
With all the customizable style, the bags still speak strongly to the root of her style. “I have one rule when I dress: be stylish, but be comfortable. I love jeans with boots or Converses with a great top. I love hats and big, dangly earrings. I make a great modern-day hippie!”
Combined with the quality leather and the “modern-day hippie” vibe of the bag itself, Katie Kalsi bags have become a sought-after brand. Style-savvy celebrities including Faith Hill, Cameron Diaz, Britney Spears, and Lisa Maria Presley own at least one of her bags.
“It’s all about research and planning and whose path you cross. For instance, Faith Hill was a early fan of my bags and still carries them today . Referrals also play a large part growing my brand. Most of the time people know me through word-of-mouth, which I love because that means my bags are marketing themselves. I constantly get compliments about their quality and uniqueness. I've been blessed with a very strong fan base and through that I continue to meet other entertainers and professionals.” - Katie Kalsi about the celebrity clients.
Yet, there is more to the Katie Kalsi brand than just handbags and more to Katie than just being an artist and designer. The future of the brand will embrace more of a designed lifestyle approach by expanding into bedding, jewelry, and shoes. The current collection already includes more specific leather encasements such as iPad covers and the ultimate wallet for organizing.
“I’ve always believed in moving forward slowly and deliberately as the best way to maintain my quality and differentiation. For instance, I'm now designing and producing wallets and iPad covers as part of my line. I'm constantly designing and expanding new styles. My next major project will be footwear. I feel shoes are a natural progression of my line because of my extensive experience with leather goods. My business goal is to be a lifestyle brand within the next three to five years,” she explains.
As important as her role as a designer and artist is her role as a mom to her two daughters — Sophie, age 12 and Sadie, age 7. Though she rarely has spoken so personally on media platforms, she shares a glimpse to how her business and family life balances out and how they interweave.