Susie Straubmueller is a Texas-based designer who launched her exotic leather handbag collection in 2011. Susie’s stunning pieces are known for their timeless shapes, where the focus is on the exotic skin. Her bags are chic, sexy, and forever in-style and proudly hand-made in the United States. Susie and her collection were part of our Fall 2017 Event.
Where is your favorite place to shop locally and internationally?
My absolutely favorite place to shop locally is at Carla Martinengo in Dallas, TX. Not only is Carla the perfect embodiment of high fashion, and the most charming woman you’ll ever meet, but she also has an impeccably curated collection of designers in store. Some of my favorites include stunning wares from Nina Ricci, Chloe, and Balenciaga.
When I shop internationally I love to shop vintage in Paris. I always find archive-worthy pieces that are so interesting, inspiring, and beautiful. Whether it’s a vintage Chanel necklace or a YSL skirt, it’s always a rare treat.
You have mentioned that you were lucky to have met talented artisans in Italy earlier in your career. How did that happen? What did you learn from them?
This early experience was quite possibly one of the most pivotal moments of my career. I happened upon a small but incredibly charming bag crafted in the most sumptuous exotic skins. I had never seen craft and quality that impeccable. When the store manager took note of my love, excitement, and knowledge of leather craft, she invited me to the factory where they created the stunning bags. I accepted the invitation without a second thought.
The following day, we met at the factory and my heart just about jumped out of my chest. The place was literally Chanel and Dior handbag heaven! The owner personally took me around the factory and introduced me to the artisans who crafted these incredible masterpieces. I was able to speak with the craftsmen and learn from their hands-on experience. That day I learned the importance of keeping silhouettes as simple as possible and how it’s essential to always use the highest quality of materials—this even includes things like the lining and less visible details. I still utilize these priceless old-world values and techniques in each and every handbag I design.
What has been the biggest thrill of your career so far?
More than anything, I love seeing my bags when I am out on the town. It’s always so cool to see them on the arm of a super stylish woman. Just having them carried at so many stores I love is also quite a thrill.
If you weren’t a handbag designer, what do you think you would be doing?
Before delving into handbags, I was working in the music and film industry as a creative and production coordinator. I can definitely see my myself still working in the music industry had I not fallen in love with the art of leather crafting.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
I have so many… I would have to say my favorite guilty pleasure is my mother’s cooking. She is from Mexico and can whip up the most delicious Mexican food—far better than any fine dining restaurant. Her fresh flour tortillas and ground beef enchiladas are some of my favorites.
Please share one or two other people you admire and why?
The person I most admire is definitely my mother. Her incredible compassion and love for others is a constant source of inspiration for me. With her as my guide, I continue to grow stronger everyday with grace, integrity, and compassion. She keeps me grounded and grateful for what I have and where I am each day.