When Kansas City handbag designer Ami Beck of Dolyn Bags set out to create her first collection, she had two things in mind: First, she wanted to design multiple silhouettes that would cater to different personal styles and needs. Second, and more importantly, Beck wanted to create handcrafted pieces that reflected her vision of simple elegance.
This spring, Dolyn’s collection debuted on the runway at Kansas City Fashion Week to much applause—Beck’s classically designed leather totes, cross-body bags and clutches were a standout in the hands of the smartly dressed models. Recently, we met up with the designer to gab about her bags.
I’ve interviewed jewelry designers who always wear the same few pieces and milliners who don’t wear hats. Have you always been a woman who carries a handbag and likes to switch it up according to where you’re going and what you’re wearing?
I’m actually a very loyal bag carrier. I didn’t switch up bags for at least one to two years before I started making them, regardless of occasion. I would find one that I loved and carry it until it died. That practice made me incredibly picky because I knew whatever I purchased I would have to be happy with for a long time. The pickier I became, the more determined I was to be my own designer. Now that I make all my bags and have a collection with many pieces, I do make a point to switch up what I carry for marketing purposes—plus they’re all so dang pretty.
Do you have a favorite design?
My all-time favorite is still my original design, the Classic Dolyn Tote. It is such a solid and attractive staple that I never feel out of style with it.
You source the leather and hardware for your bags from around the country, but the production is all done locally, correct?
All of the bags are designed, patterned, and handmade by me in Kansas City. I typically make a few mockups before I am happy with a final design. I like bags that are full of character and form, so I definitely carry each new design around for a few days to see how I feel about them before making any final decisions. I want each design to be functional as well as beautiful, and I put a lot of thought into whether or not each would be a bag that I would purchase.
Where can shoppers find the final products?
All bags are exclusively sold on the website, but come mid-September the full collection will also be available at Webster House.
What’s next for you and Dolyn?
I will be involved in Kansas City Fashion Week this fall to showcase current products but will not release new designs until Spring 2016.