Making straw bags is fast becoming a national pastime in The Bahamas. Tourists flock the world-renowned straw market in The Bahamas to purchase a variety of handbags and baskets every day of the year. Some come looking for the basic sack while others take home assorted designer styles.
At one time it was only the straw sacks visitors found in the local market but now with a fresh breed of artisans on the rise, bags are becoming less sack-like and more designer-like. Straw bags come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes; some with handmade straps while others flaunt their outrageously good-looking professional handles.
With the increased demand for custom-made handbags, and simple techniques used to make them, many persons are seeking to learn the trade for themselves as a way to supplement their income. As some more mature bag making students have stated, it’s a way to nurture their retirement nest egg.
While many find it difficult to sit in a live class for an extended period to learn how to make a handbag, others have seen the value of investing in online training to get them started in the market. This has proven convenient for those unable to travel or leave young children to pursue their dream. This is a noticeable trend that is also captivating the full-time worker who has on a tight schedule with limited resources.
While the straw is unique to the islands there is certainly no shortage of it as straw is sold ready-to-ship or custom plaited and dyed in any color imaginable. Sometime ago straw bags were strictly for function and sold for next to nothing. Today that has changed as the Bahamian straw bags are purchased from $50.00 to well over $2,500.00.
Because the desire for straw is on the rise, artisans are finding the need to stand out in the crowd with their original designer bags as customers are not settling for one or two bags but are known to often collect them. Bags are being baubled an beaded, mixed with fabrics and of course integrated with custom painted fabrics as on the Teri Monique handbags.
Now the handbag making skill has grown beyond the borders of The Bahamas as designers are learning the craft to create their stylish purses in different parts of the world. A rising trend is new handbag designers making and selling their products in their country of residence outside of the Bahama Islands. So if you see a uniquely made straw handbag in your neighborhood, chances are it was made in your city.