With the right skills and an eye for sustainability, Lisa Crick transforms old leather couches into stylish handbags. The large pieces of furniture—still with life left—become the raw materials for her purses. The shiny blues and soft browns of her bags show the power of upcycling and highlight how we don’t need to produce more to have more; we need to get creative with what’s already available. You'd never realize these bags were once chairs.
Crick had the upcycling idea four years ago when she decided to make bags from old curtains. “Since then,” she tells My Modern Met, “I’ve been honing my craft and teaching myself to sew with anything that I could get a needle through. After all, just how much waste material and clothing do we have?” She created a business called New Baginnings to sell the things she’s made.
While perfecting her skills, a friend gave her a well-worn leather chair to use. “The leather was so beautiful,” Crick recalls, “where age and time had given it a patina of life. I made a bag.” She then logged onto Facebook Marketplace and saw just how many “free to collector” chairs and couches were available. If they weren’t taken, then they were headed to the landfill.
Crick has taken advantage of this free raw material, but it’s not without a lot of work. “The first sofa I stripped and turned into bags had a big water stain on the seat but was a stunner nonetheless,” she explains. “I stripped it and repurposed the leather into a ToteBag to start, sent a pic back to the sofa owner who asked to buy it! At that point, I knew I had something good—if you're prepared to give me something for free and then I sell it back to you…”
Beyond making things that are beautiful, Crick finds it very rewarding and satisfying to create something out of an object that was once considered waste. “I make a beautiful bag from something that was ugly—it was never ugly just needed a new approach to its beauty. We’re quick to accept a rip or a tear or a mark of an imperfection as something that is no longer wanted, needed, or even accepted, so by repurposing it and showing you it in a different light.”
Crick sells her bags through Facebook. Visit her New Baginnings shop there to see what she’s got on sale next.