You can thank Ann Howell Bullard’s friends for jump-starting her bag business. It all goes back to the one summer when pretty much all of them decided to get married. Working as an elementary special-ed teacher at the time, Ann had limited funds, and getting a brand-new outfit for each occasion was out of the question. So, like most creatives faced with this sort of predicament, she got to thinking about how she could spice up her wardrobe with the stuff she already had on hand. “I had all these art supplies, so I cut up canvas, sewed it into clutches, painted on them, and carried them to all the weddings,” she recalls.
Those crafty skills came in handy again the following summer when she tied the knot herself and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, to live with her new husband. As part of the transition, she quit her teaching gig and picked up work at her S.O.’s family’s restaurants, doing accounting and basically whatever needed to be done. “I started playing around when I worked for my in-laws and got this idea to start painting on white leather,” Ann says. She kept it up as a hobby for almost a year, decorating bags with gorgeous floral and planetary patterns during nights ‘n weekends, until, in early 2018, she and her husband got to a stable enough savings situation for her to take small-biz punge. So, yes, it’s a line built for weddings and marriages.