Arden + James offers a fresh, local take on handbags

Unionville native creating stunning handcrafted bags

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

KellyColumn415Newest815You know that I’m a (self proclaimed) accessories connoisseur and have a soft spot for handbags, in particular. Scrolling back through my monthly Super Six picks, it’s pretty much a guarantee that a purse (or two) will be featured.

And, it just so happens that I think the change of season is the perfect excuse to freshen your wardrobe with a new bag. Now, anyone can run into a department store and pick up a “designer” piece from off the shelf and, hey, I’m not saying that it doesn’t have a certain appeal. HOWEVER, if you are going to spend money on a handbag (and I’m saying YES, you should be spending money on one) then I suggest you purchase something as well made as it is stylish.

Let’s face it, the mass produced options that everyone covets because of a recognizable pattern or prominent insignia does not necessarily translate to quality. Personally, I would much rather carry a bag that is beautifully constructed than one noticed simply because of the brand.

ArdenJamesI am always inspired by people who can take raw materials and turn them into works of art. I had the pleasure of meeting with Briana Brant, owner of Arden+James, and let me assure you…she does exactly that. Briana is an Industrial Degree holding, Chadds Ford living, married, mother of two boys who also happens to make the most gorgeous, handcrafted, handbags right here under our noses. She is a Unionville grad who lived for a time in Boulder, Colorado where she honed her ability to make beeswax candles. (This woman is crazy talented). Coming back to her roots, Bri decided to focus her creative efforts more intently on making bags and has been full steam ahead ever since.

Linen, waxed canvas, and locally sourced, vegetable tanned leathers are her textiles of choice. Pure copper rivets adorn each bag, as well as, her signature, stamped logo. An inspiration board, hanging in her workshop, contains a variety of objects lovingly pinned to enhance her creative juices.

We chatted about the struggles of being a mom of two boys and the balancing act of work and motherhood. Bri has a refreshing approach to her business in that she has let it grow as organically as the materials she loves to use. Her husband and family have been essential support systems. With her bags available online through her website and at places like Urban Outfitters, Moon + Arrow, and Terrain, Bri dreams of opening her own retail/workshop space in the future.

Ladies, this weekend is your opportunity to invest in an Arden + James bag of your own! Click this link to purchase a piece from the popular “Arden Line” (I’m getting the Carryall!) on SALE through today:

Share the photos of your purchases on the Arden + James instagram account:

@arden_and_james and use the hashtag #ardenandjames.

Happy Weekend!

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment