Meet Laura McMahon from SUSU Accessories

Tell us about your products.

Handbags and accessories designed by SUSU and handmade in Colombia by women, heads on households of the Wayuu ethnicity. Our handbags are single thread, half point knitted, machine washable and present exclusive SUSU designs and unique "plates" (bottom of the bag), which are the inspiration of the artisan who made it; this feature makes each bag one of a kind.

Tell us about your connection to Chicago. 

2 of the 3 partners at SUSU Accessories live in Chicago. SUSU Accessories is a proud member of Chicago Fair Trade. SUSU is a regular participant and sponsor of Chicago area markets, Get Noticed workshops and CFT events.

What do you love about your business, your industry.

Our products are made with love in collaboration with talented artisans in desperate need to show their art while being paid fairly. We pride ourselves on offering a high quality, fashion forward product, rooted on the slow fashion movement and with a fair trade philosophy. Spreading social awareness while making Chicago women more fashionable!

Tell us about your design inspiration.

Our latest collection is inspired by trees and the Colombian jungle. They represent mother earth and its omniscient power; they keep us grounded in our search for authenticity and our love for our planet.

What advice do you have for other creative entrepreneurs?

Believe in your product, believe in yourself, be kind in your process and share the knowledge with your piers.

Share a favorite quote, a mantra, bud'laska. 

Love your family super hard and live your passion.

Surprise us with your secret talent, fact, etc. 

I'm a great salsa dancer!

What's the most common question you get about your business?

How are the bags made.

Tell us about your process for making + creating.

It starts with an idea for the new collection. Finding inspiring images and experiences to draw from. Study the colors of the season and where to find them in real life. From there, we create our set of possible prototypes to workshop with our artisans in La Guajira. We spend at least 3 days with them, learning, creating and prototyping swatches to choose the collection from. From there we create full size prototypes and choose the final designs to be launched!

Name 3 local makers/brands that inspire you and why.

Greenhart shop, for its commitment to beautiful, global, fair trade goods. Jaunt, for its amazing collection of local and international goods that are unique and handmade. Laura Tanner: beautiful jewelry locally designed and produced

What is the best advice you've ever been given 

Believe in yourself, bet on yourself, take the risk. It allowed me to become and entrepreneur and learn a new trade with which not only we can create something amazing but also help a community in need.

Is there something else you would like to share?

SUSU Accessories just launched its latest spring/summer collection, "Deep Ocean" and we are working on our latest fall/winter collection to be released at Covet market! Covet shoppers will receive a $25 off discount on all collection items.

To discover more about SUSU Accessories, click www.susuaccessories.com

kendra chaplin