Made-in-Livingston bag store opens retail space

By: 
Samantha Hill

From the outside of this Main Street business, Maranda Lee Designs looks like a small purse store, but inside it reveals how these bags are made.

The business is an online bag and purse retailer that has expanded to a small shop on 225 S. Main St. in Livingston.

The store’s owner and namesake, Maranda Lee, started her business eight years ago as a way to make stylish diaper bags when her children were born. Since then she has established a large online presence with her own website, marandalee.com, as well as through Etsy.com and Zulily.com, where she is also featured.

When first establishing the shop downtown last February, Lee was really looking only for a studio to expand her items in her online shop, and was not thinking much about a physical retail location.

“All I wanted was something better than a garage,” she said.

After months of working in the space, Lee put out a few items for the Fourth of July parade because of the great location.

After seeing what a hit the items were, she decided to open the shop for business.

The store is unique in the way the hours tend to be fluid — she doesn’t have established store times — and the inventory is always changing, with the opportunity for Lee to put out items as soon as she makes them.

The inventory includes clutches, pouches and totes — with or without vegan leather — in many sizes. The bags also come in a variety of patterns from whatever Lee’s tastes are at the time. The most popular online items are the white arrow and black background pattern bags, while in town, the multi-colored horse pattern is a hit.

“I am honestly still trying to figure out what is popular in different markets,” Lee said.

Although there are specific items people are into, many of the bags she makes are custom orders. People can come into the store and order as well as see how the items look and fit in person, Lee said.

While she still plans to keep her personal retail space, Lee also wants to use the studio space to expand her retail presence into other stores across the state. Her bags are already features at B.Hive and Chico Hot Springs and Spa as well as a few other locations.

The store is usually open Monday through Wednesday, sometimes Thursday. Shoppers may also visit the website at marandalee.com.

For more information, contact Lee at hotmamahandbags@gmail.com.

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