HER bags have featured in blogs, been shared on Facebook and talked about on Twitter. And some of Ireland’s leading fashionistas, including model Rosanna Davison, are happy to tout their own, highly individualised bag.
Now, Adare’s Suzanne O’Brien, and Limerick Rose, hopes her fashion idea will become the fashion accessory of 2013.
It all started, she explains, when she entered for the Rose of Tralee 2012. “My party piece was to do caricatures of Will Leahy, the show presenter and Daithi O’Se, who presented at regional level.”
Then, Suzanne began to do cartoons or caricatures of friends and transposing them on to jute shopping bags. She also began doing cartoon drawings of horses for her more horse-minded friends and posted some of them on Facebook.
“It was never really my intention to set up a business,” Suzanne continues. But it took off. And Facebook and word of mouth helped it to grow.
All Suzanne needs is a few photographs, as well as details such as colour of hair and eyes and perhaps also some indication of favourite clothes. From that, she creates a cartoon image of the person, with exaggerated eyes, big hair, the face bigger than the body. So far, she laughs, she hasn’t had any bad feed-back.
“I did art in school and for the Leaving Cert and thought about pursuing a career in art,” Suzanne goes on. But she then decided on journalism instead. But she adds: “I was always sketching.”
Social media has been Suzanne’s best marketing tool and most of her new orders have come through her Facebook page. And she has filled orders for as far away as Australia, Canada and the US.
She was particularly busy coming up to Christmas as the bespoke bags are highly individualised as well as being very handy, whether for going to work, going to the gym or going to town. Brides have ordered them for their bridesmaids; boyfriends for their girlfriends and animal-lovers for themselves. “They are novel and different,” says Suzanne, who is currently working in sales for Limerick 95FM.
And they will remain a bespoke item as the cartoons all have to be hand-painted by Suzanne herself. “I’m working full-time so I work on them at night or at weekends. But I do enjoy it. I find it therapeutic,” she explains.But she wants to see her bags on the arms of Ireland’s celebrities and has already sent one as a gift, and as a marketing strategy, to Rosanna Davison. “I plan to do a few high-profile people,” Suzanne reveals. Type in art by suzie in Facebook for all you need to know to order your own for €35.