{so Canadian, eh?: Lisa Roy Handbags}

I had such an overwhelming response to my new series via twitter and the comments last week, glad you all liked my first feature, Lindsay from Little House Blog and Penny People Designs. There are so many talented Canadians out there that I am having so much fun lining up great talent for the weeks to come!

This week's feature is another fabulous Canadian whose blog I stumbled across a month ago, she not only has a beautifully decorated home but is an entrepreneur selling her amazing handbags that she designs and painstakingly makes. 

My favourite:

{Bienvenue - since Canada is bilingual!}

Lisa Roy of

 1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background. 

    I grew up in Northern Ontario in a small town named South Porcupine! I've always been creative - I drew a lot and learned to sew as a child (I made doll clothes, then my prom dress and later my wedding dress). I would also rearrange my bedroom and my parents' living room furniture often (I guess I caught the decor bug early too). After being yearbook editor in high school, and obsessed with magazines, I always had it in the back of my mind that I would love to work for a magazine one day.

2. What is your education background? Do you have any formal training in design or are you self-taught? From reading your blog I noticed you mentioned you were a former art director for a magazine but are now designing and sewing beautiful handbags. How long were you an art director for and what made you decide to change career paths?

    I originally went to university for Biological Science (after much coaxing by guidance counsellors) but quickly realized my mistake and switched to Sheridan College for Graphic Design. After graduating, I worked in various design jobs until my guy and I (high school sweethearts) had to leave the city and relocate for his work to a smaller town where design jobs were scarce. I ended up opening my own home decor/accessories shop (this is where decor popped back into my life). Over the years we moved around a fair bit for his work and eventually I ended up back in Toronto where I finally landed my first magazine design position. Since then I've art directed a variety of magazines from lifestyle to golf to food to business but my all-time favourite position was art directing the food section of Chatelaine. After about 8 years in magazines and faced with yet another relocation, this time to Ireland, I had to give up my art directing career and find a new career path. I decided to fall back on my sewing skills and create something I'm equally obsessed about: handbags.

3. What are you most proud of? 

There are a couple of things I'm really proud of: my work at Chatelaine and most recently selling one of my handbags to Shania Twain.  {Isn't that fantastic??}

4. What made you decided to venture into the world of blogging? Is there anything that surprised you or you didn't expect while blogging?

   I started blogging exactly one year ago (Feb 1st) after reading so many fun blogs and wanting a place to share my other interests like decor, travel, shopping and creating. Little did I know that I would develop so many great blog friends and would feel so fulfilled each day connecting with virtual strangers! I'm still awestruck that so many people follow my little blog!

5. Where do you do your design work? 

    I travel back and forth to Ireland since my guy is still working there so my design space there consists of the kitchen table in our apartment (not ideal). When I'm in Canada, I'm at our place in Muskoka and have a room designated as my studio, complete with a big working island and wall to wall drawer units to hold my fabrics and supplies. It's a lovely set-up and I'm so productive there (it's always nice to not have to clear a spot for eating dinner!)

6. Other than designing and sewing original handbags is there anything else that occupies your time? What do you enjoy to do on your downtime?

   I love decorating and always seem to have a project on the go. My favourite thing is sewing things like slipcovers and toss cushions {me too!} to switch things up but have always loved flea markets, auctions and thrifting at places like the Habitat for Humanity Restore and giving old pieces a new life. My guy shares my interest in DIY projects and he's very handy at construction, plumbing, electrical and finishing. He's always open to tackling a new project which makes things fun (we spend a lot of time roaming the aisles at Home Depot). {I am not the only one?}

7. How do you balance blogging, work and family life?

    A year ago I decided to give up all freelance design work I had been doing and it was the best decision I could have made. No more deadlines meant more time for other pursuits like my handbags, blogging and actually getting a home-cooked dinner on the table. I admit that I have a bad habit of becoming so consumed in what I'm doing (be it sewing or blogging) that I forget what time it is.

8. What tips could you share for anyone who may want to venture into the world of designing and creating a product for sale?

   Don't be afraid to try something new and be original. You don't have to be like everyone else. And create a good quality product! I'm very fussy about my handbags - I obsess over quality and double stitch everything and hand-tie my threads - the last thing I would want is to have one of my products fall apart, especially when my name is right on it! Take pride in your work and don't settle for second-best - your customers will thank you for it and you'll sleep better at night.

9. Where do you find your inspiration for your designs? For your blog?

   I love to look through fashion magazines to see what the new trends are and I visit a lot of handbag stores. And just browsing through a fabric store can inspire new handbag styles. For my blog, I tend to read a lot of decor magazines and visit other blogs. But I also like to include a lot of my own makeover projects, cute shop discoveries, recipes and photography from travels - it's definitely a peek into my life and not just a decor blog.

10. If you were to have the opportunity to go for lunch with anyone, who would it be? 

   Definitely Martha Stewart.  I named my dog after her and she's an incredible inspiration for what you can achieve if you work hard. She can cook, sew, decorate, garden and has created an empire with these skills - now that's what I call an inspiration!

11. What are you goals/hopes for 2011?

   For 2011, I hope to continue growing my business and keep introducing new items to meet the needs of what's hot (iPad and Kindles cases are top-sellers right now). And I'll definitely be blogging up a storm - there may be yet another relocation overseas so I'll be sharing my adventures and discoveries as they happen.

Thanks Lisa for giving us a peek into your life! 

Make sure you check out both her sites - she is having a sale on select items. Wouldn't you just love to show up at the same event as Shania with the same handbag!

Come back next Sunday as we showcase another amazingly talented Canadian!

XO Barbara


  1. This is great! Love to get to know Lisa better (hi Lisa)...we're practically neighbours here in Muskoka! I love her blog and her work and I wish her much success in 2011

  2. This was such a fabulous interview with the amazingly talented Lisa! Loved reading about how she started out and what she finds inspiring... You're right Barbara, this little/big country of ours is certainly filled with talent and I am so enjoying this series!! xo

  3. What a great series. I love Lisa's blog and found out a little more about her.

  4. What a great interview. I follow Lisa's blog and was interested to know more about her. I love that she has a foot in two such interesting areas of the world - Muskoka and Ireland. I guess we have a bit in common as I was born in New Liskeard (right near South Porcupine).

  5. What a great feature! Lisa's blog has been inspiring me for almost a year now, it is one of my regular stops!

  6. Great feature!
    I loved the interview and learning more about Lisa.
    She's so lovely -- and how about that kitchen?! ;)

  7. Thanks so much Barbara for including me in your series! I'm so honoured and excited to be a part of it! xo Lisa

  8. Another great post Barbara! I follow Lisa's blog - it was fun reading more about her here. Martha is the one person I'd want to have lunch with too!

  9. I've been following Lisa's blog for awhile, but I learned a lot more about her and her work in this great interview! Thanks and looking forward to more in this series, (what is in the water up there, such talent!)

  10. Great interview! I love her blog and Etsy shop! Her handbags and all her wares are beautiful and such good quality!

  11. I only "know" Lisa through our comments to each other on our blogs. It was nice to learn more about her. She is so talented and so sweet. Hope to meet her someday!

    Glad to visit your blog, too. I think I'll go poke around for awhile :)

  12. Lovely interview Barbara! Lisa's handbags look so pretty I will definitely be checking them out. I have a little purse collection that keeps growing....

  13. Another awesome installment of your series Barbara! And so good to get to know you better Lisa :)) I adore your kitchen!! Happy V-Day to you both! :)
    Nancy xo

  14. I've been reading Lisa's blog for quite a while. she has a great eye, doesn't she?


  15. Love Lisa and her blog. It was a pleasure to read more about her and see her beautiful kitchen!!

  16. I love this series! LOVE Lisa's work! The iPad bags are so cute, and am in love with every single clutch.

  17. I love this series Barbara. It's great to highlight all the awesome Canadian talent and I love discovering new talent. The bags are to die for!!...Carol


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