Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

In the Bag

AE-2-1Terry McInerney’s strong, fashionable handbags make a dent in Santa Cruz
There are days in life when fate waits around the corner for you. For Terry McInerney, that is how success manifested in her life. Early last year, McInerney, a married Santa Cruzan with two children, was out shopping with her young daughter. They stepped into a local store and her daughter started chatting up a patron, someone she recognized from swimming lessons. “She told her, ‘My mom makes bags,’” McInerney says of her daughter, who turned out to be quite a marketing genius.

And indeed that’s exactly what McInerney had been doing for the last few years—refining her leather-crafting skills and designing gorgeous utilitarian fashion-forward handbags. Fortunately for McInerney, her daughter had decided to make this announcement to a woman who was on the cusp of opening up what would become a successful downtown clothing and housewares store. The woman was Suna Lock, the owner of Stripe. She invited McInerney to the store before it opened to take a look at her work and Lock quickly ordered several bags for the store. Since then, McInerney’s bags have been selling pretty well at Stripe, and she recently opened up an Etsy store as well (nualaleather.etsy.com). Lock explains that McInerney has become one of their favorite vendors, “no ego, easy, and real,” she says of the designer.

AE-2-2Her line of richly colored leather handbags, clutches, and cuffs is called Nuala. It’s an old, classic Irish name, and an ode to McInerney’s roots—she is originally from Ireland and moved to the United States when she was 21. Her speech still holds elements of her Irish accent when she talks about the leather that she has become a master at transforming into popular, modern, functional bags for women. (Her line will also soon include messenger bags as well.)

She’s always been a creative person, making scarves, crocheting things, etc. A few years ago, she happened upon a store called Leatherwise in Santa Cruz. Intrigued, she considered trying to make a bag out of leather, so someone at Leatherwise gave her instructions and there began McInerney’s self-taught journey into making handbags, which has included even dying the leather herself. “The leather is a byproduct of the food industry; it would be considered waste,” she says about the medium that she works in, which “encourages creativity.”

AE-2-3Her bags are hand cut, hand sewn, and constructed entirely by McInerney, whose living room on the Westside of Santa Cruz looks like an elaborate showroom, with bags hanging from chairs, a plate of cuffs nearby, and an ample display of clutches sitting on a table. Everything is tidy and clean, just like her work. The bags come in various colors, and the bulk of them come in shades of natural brown, with a rectangular shape, and a comfortable strap to sling over the shoulder. Likewise, the clutches can slip easily into one hand, and have a hardware clasp to keep things hidden inside the small carryall. The cuffs have a very bohemian influence—they’re made out of old, used belts.

As for inspiration in creating her bags, McInerney finds her muse in the most unique of places—hardware stores. While some women might roam clothing stores for hours, this designer is more likely to find herself enticed by tools and hardware aisles.

Getting her work out there has been a new and thrilling experience for McInerney. Recently, she had her first public sighting of one of her bags. “I was dropping my kids off at a theater day camp, and saw a woman who had [one of my] bags,” McInerney says of the surprising and serendipitous moment. She better get used to it, because this trés chic lady has it in the bag.


Terry McInerney’s bags, clutches, and cuffs can be seen at Stripe, 107 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz, 421-9252, stripedesigngroup.com, or nualaleather.etsy.com. Cuffs sell for $14, clutches sell for $65-$80, and handbags sell for $165-$180.
Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by laamsha, May 05, 2010
wow! another great article about another great local talent! ; )
Terry, i love your work! i'm so happy to have met you! yeahy! what a nice write up!
Christa, i love your work too!
WE HEART NUALA
written by Dana Norrell, May 05, 2010
Hands down, best purse ever. I see it daily that a woman walks in, falls in love and instantly NEEDS her Nuala. The more beat up and worn in, the better they become. Look forward to new designs by Terry hitting Stripe Soon!

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”