After an obsessive search on Etsy, I found it. Here it is! It arrived today from Arkansas.
This is only my second year teaching and this year I noticed Vera Bradley bags were ubiquitous among my female colleagues. (Last year, my learning curve was so steep I don't think I noticed what anyone else was wearing or carrying) I like the bags, which come in patters such as Buttercup, Twirlie Birds Navy, and English Meadow.
I was all set to buy one until I discovered the Fort Wayne-based company has outsourced all its manufacturing to China. Frankly, I was upset about that. I would much rather support an American company that actually employs American workers.
That's when my Etsy search began. Etsy.com is a website where you can find all sorts of handmade and vintage items. The bag I discovered was designed and sewn by a woman named Sarah Hurd, who lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mrs. Hurd runs a home business called Picking Poppys. She named her company after her mom, Poppy, who died of breast cancer in 2006.
"So the misspelling is intentional and I love to think of my Mom as a flower that is so vivid and beautiful," she writes. She grew up with five sisters in Arkansas and now she is married with two daughters and a grandson.
I am thrilled with this $33 bag. I love the owl design. I teach English and somehow owls, being wise, seem like readers. It almost looks as if these owls are wearing reading glasses. I don't expect I ever will meet Sarah Hurd, but it sure warms my heart to know a grandmother in Arkansas made the bag I will carry with me down the crowded hallways of a New Jersey public high school. Check her out! (And please try to Buy American)
P.S. In response to a reader question, I discovered the fabric design was created by a company called Premier Prints, a growing company that now employs 25 people in Sherman, Mississippi!