Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
May 06th
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

 

Mountain Mystic

When Cora Evans died in Boulder Creek in 1957, her thousands of pages of religious writings hadn’t yet been published. More than a half a century later, Evans’ fiery visions and spiritual devotion have inspired a crusade within Catholicism to make her the Santa Cruz Mountains’ first saint

 

Wesak (Water) Taurus Solar Festival, Buddha Blesses the Earth

A most important celebration occurs Sunday, May 3—the Wesak Taurus Buddha Solar Festival/full moon. At the moment of the full moon the Buddha’s presence enters the Earth plane for eight minutes. He brings the Will-to-Good from the Father, which, when reaching humanity becomes goodwill (Mother Principle). Held yearly in a valley hidden deep within the Himalayas, the Wesak festival is prepared for for months in advance (beginning at Winter Solstice). On festival day, amidst pilgrims, disciples and Holy Ones gathered in the valley, the Buddha is invoked through movement, symbols and mantrams. At the moment of the full moon, hearing the words, “We are ready, Buddha, come,” the Lord of Illumination (brother of the Christ) appears in the clouds above the altar to emanate forth the will and purpose of God to earth. The blessing of the father is then held in safekeeping for distribution at the June full moon Goodwill Festival. The day of Wesak (May 3, 8:42 p.m. West Coast) all disciples (east and west) place crystal vessels filled with pure water outside (in gardens, on rooftops, porches and steps) under the heavens. As the Buddha blesses the world, all waters, including waters within our bodies, are blessed. The Buddha is accompanied by the Forces of Enlightenment to illuminate humanity’s minds. Humanity then begins to express new constructive, productive and beneficial ways of the Art of Livingness. Wesak covers five days—two days (before) of dedicated preparation, the actual festival “Day of Safeguarding,” and two days (after) distributing goodwill (the NGWS to humanity). Join us in the Valley by reciting the Great Invocation, mantra of direction for humanity.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of May 1

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

 

Hole in the Wall

Popular Aptos spot opens for dinner

 

How do you connect with the natural world?

My connection to the natural world is through my art. I totally feel it there very physically in nature and even right here on the street. Jonathan Rosen, Felton, Pastor

 

Hess Collection Winery

My friend Emma from London came to visit for a few days in early March, so I took her wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains—a rare treat for her, as there aren’t too many vineyards in the middle of London. Her visit reminded me how fortunate we are to live in this paradise of ultra-fresh produce, with grapes growing in wild profusion.

 

Springtime Walkabout

May Day Flower Festival, free tours of the UCSC Farm, and a nondairy chocolate indulgence