Angela Long, creator of Misneach bags, sits in a sun-drenched farmhouse kitchen surrounded by containers of beautiful, hand-made Celtic purses and totes.
The lawyer-turned-artisan oozes passion in everything she says about her bags: after all, they have become her new life. “It’s a whole new world.”
She knows every tartan or tweed that she sources directly from kilt makers and tweed weavers in Scotland. She will tell you she is a perfectionist and has been known to tear a number of creations apart only to start over. Her calendar is filling up with events and craft fairs in between producing bags and marketing her little company.
And to think she only started this adventure a few months ago.
“Misneach [pronounced mish-noch] means courage in Gaelic. You need to have a lot of courage to start a small business like this,” she quips.
She started the company just this past February and had rudimentary sewing experience. But she has a love of all-things-Scottish, enjoys fashion and accessories and was ready for something new and completely different.
The learning didn’t stop there. She literally started everything from scratch.
“It’s a huge amount of work. I actually make the bags about a third of the time.”
She estimates every bag takes about four hours from start to finish and no two are the same. It depends on the chosen tartan or tweed, leather, hardware and quilt fabric lining along with the required cutting and sewing.
To make it all happen, her home has become a production house. The dining room is a cutting room. There is a sewing studio upstairs. Her husband, a piper with the Glengarry Pipe Band, helps identify tartans if they are a bit less known.
Then comes the marketing and sales which means getting in touch with organizers for events (and attending them), taking photos of the bags, maintaining the website and learning various technologies and platforms.
“It’s all encompassing but it’s amazing. It’s so much fun. The days just fly by.”
Long is booked at a number of upcoming high profile events in this region and in the Ottawa-area, including the hugely popular Etsy Made In Canada sale. She is also frequently at the Vankleek Hill Farmers Market.
Long has been pleasantly surprised at both the feedback on her bags and the welcome she has received since moving to the area last year.
“This is the perfect place for this. Maxville is kind of the epicentre for all things Scottish in this country.”
Her selection available for purchase is ever-changing at various events. She will also create custom orders, particularly appealing for clans who want to sport their specific tartan.
Misneach is online at www.misneach.ca, Etsy Canada, Instagram and Facebook, where she also has a full list of upcoming events.