Having grown up mostly in Bellingham, Julie Simon is familiar with the lush landscape and neutral tones of the Pacific Northwest — the same colors and soft textures you’ll find in her handmade bags.
Simon started Moss Bags in 2013, after working as a graphic designer for more than a decade. Inspired by the show “Project Runway,” she decided it was time for a change.
“I was having a hard time finding a bag I liked,” Simon admits. “Silly as that sounds, it’s the truth.”
At the time, she was looking for a simple hobo bag without all the extra hardware. Unable to find it, she began playing with fabrics, buying leather. The result was an attractive, durable bag that would last longer than your typical tote.
Today, Simon creates all of her products by hand, in her home, where she’s carved out her own studio space. She strives to make one bag a day, setting aside time for commissions from her three-year-old son, who recently asked for a wallet.
Simple, Stylish, and Durable
What makes Moss Bags so special is that Simon stitches each one from a single hide of thick, full-grain leather. There’s no seam on the bottom, allowing the bags to survive years of wear.
Simon’s personal favorite is the Classic Tote with zipper ($165), in color honey. “The distressed leather creates its own patina — the imperfections are part of its beauty,” she says.
In addition to looking chic, Moss Bags are also built for function. The 3-in-1 convertible Crossback ($225) turns from a crossbody into a shoulder bag or backpack, while the Hip Bag – Fanny Pack ($99) transforms into a clutch when you remove the strap. New designs in 2020 include a convertible Wristlet Wallet Clutch ($80) and a small, simple crossbody bag not yet released.
For those seeking a smaller price point, Moss Bags offers a selection of leather jewelry ($20), Minimalist Wallets ($35), and Card Holders ($20).
Where To Shop
To order your own Moss Bag, visit mossbags.com and browse the full collection. You can also find a small selection of jewelry and wallets at Fringe Boutique in Bellingham and elSage Designs in Mount Vernon.
In an effort to reduce waste while spreading the DIY spirit, Simon now hosts leather earring-making parties. Armed with leftover leather scraps, tools, and examples, she teaches everyone how to make their own earrings.
Through everything, Simon cherishes the connections she’s made in the community, particularly with other female business owners. “I’m blown away and so appreciative of how people rally together and are supportive…the local support is pretty awesome.”
For more local finds, click here.