• Ashlyn Shadden

Cahoots Handbags--is there anything this gal can't do?!

This next vendor holds a very special place in our heart. Cahoots Handbags has been our mentor, our comic relief, our inspiration, our kick in the butt, our happy place and our cheerleader--All of these things without ever even knowing it or trying to be all preachy and whatnot. We look up to this woman and have ever since we saw her mentioned in some fancy magazine ages ago. We are more than honored to have maker, creator and artist Paige Davidson join us for another Boho Saint Jo show.

Before we tell you about Paige, we have to tell you about Paige's family of creatives and entrepreneurs. Paige's grandfather owned an auto parts store from the mid 1940s-70s in the very same building that is now her brick & mortar space. His wife sewed, knitted and collected fabrics. Paige's other grandmother worked as a seamstress. Paige says, "We most definitely wouldn't be doing what we do where we are doing it if not for that history."

So, now that you know that creativity and talent runs through the Davidson/Henley blood, we can talk about Paige.

Paige started painting full-time in 2002 after receiving her BFA in Fine Art at the University of Texas at Austin in 2000. In 2003, she opened a gallery space for her paintings and started Cahoots Handbags, our handbag line, in the downtown Gainesville warehouse where she was living. Her storefront was a hit and she soon realized that she needed more public space, so she rallied the troops (her mom and dad) and renovated the current brick and mortar on Commerce Street in downtown Gainesville. Cahoots Handbags, as we now it today, opened in 2008!

Paige says her business is broken down into three parts: art, Cahoots Handbags (her handbag line made from vintage textiles), and the boutique/gallery.

Paige runs the store and does all of the paintings, drawings, the majority of the ceramics, and the designing/cutting/prepping of Cahoots Handbags. Paige's precious mom (with a little bit of bad ass lurking under her soft exterior) is the one who sews the handbag line. You may also find Marsha manning the Cahoots ship when Paige has to slip out. The store is not just Paige's creations and artwork. There are a number of local artisans who contribute their handmade product, and though their businesses are separate, Paige says she most definitely feels like they're a part of the team and that she would be lost without them.

"Cahoots Handbags seeks to provide you with high quality bags and clutches made in tiny limited editions from vintage textiles that spark nostalgia and remind you of the textiles (colors/patterns/textures) of your childhood. Beyond the handbags, our store's mission is to promote creativity and support artists and makers today, as well as the makers of tomorrow. We work hard to source gifts that are special and one-of-a-kind."

Paige has a studio space in the back room of the store where you can find her working creatively in between customers. She says each day is different depending on the season, but she usually spends her work day at the giant worktable cutting out bags or working on handpainted cards or watercolors. If she's not doing one of those, you will find her across the studio with her easel and oil paints. "It's exciting to show up each morning and work through new creative problems," says Paige.

"Almost every customer who comes into the store sees our bags and says 'This looks just like my grandmother's couch!' I take that as the absolute highest compliment. That little nostalgic spark that reminds you of family and history is why we do what we do."

Cahoots Handbags booth will be located inside The Boho Building at our fall show, but if you cannot wait until to meet Paige and marvel at her talents, you can find her Monday-Saturday at the store in downtown Gainesville at 205 S. Commerce. You can catch her at FleaStyle Dallas this November, but you may have already seen her at one of the zillion pop-up markets over the years such as Etsy Dallas, Stitch Austin, and many others.

Paige Davidson, thank you for saying "sure" to joining us at our very first show and for sticking with us. The second you agreed to being part of this journey with us gave us the confidence and the motivation to be who we are today. We owe so very much to you and we will never be able to repay you. Until we can, we will just continue to crash into your store like a tornado and vent and stress shop. We love you big time and cannot wait to see your new goodies at the fall show 10.27.18.

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