Adventure Interview

Name: Sunny Mays Hand Bags

An Adventure in Fashion Design

Sunny Mays career in hand bags began when she made a diaper bag for her friend and then one for herself. Soon the bags became so popular Sunny Mays went from being a stay-at-home mom to a blossoming entrepreneur. Today Sunny Mays is the proud mother of two and owns a successful handbag line, Sunny Mays Reversible Bags.

1. Did it take a lot of courage and confidence to turn making bags for friends into a nationwide business?

It definitely took a lot of courage to walk into the first few boutiques and try to sell my bags. Luckily, I have a sales background which gave me enough courage to walk into those first few boutiques. As the line grew, so did my confidence.

2. Has starting your own business been rather like an adventure?

It’s definitely like an adventure! When I started this business, I planned on it staying a tiny little hobby. I never planned on it taking off like it did, but I’m enjoying the ride.

3. Who was your fashion role-model as a girl?

The very first “fashion role-model” I remember was Madonna – in the early to mid 80’s. What girl didn’t love her funky style and all those bangle bracelets she piled on?

4. Have you always had a love of fashion and handbags?

I think I’ve always had a love for creating beautiful things. In high school, I was really into making jewelry. I started having people stop me and ask “Where did you get those earrings?” and before I knew it, I was selling jewelry I made. After college, I pulled out my sewing machine and made a few handbags for myself, friends and family. I always kept up with current trends, but it wasn’t until my handbag line started taking off that I really developed a passion for fashion.

5. I heard the most important accessory in a woman’s wardrobe is her handbag.

Why is that?

A handbag does so many things. You can be more bold with a bag than you can with your clothes. It can put that perfect finishing touch on your favorite little dress. And when you only have time to throw on a warm-up, it can still show your sense of style. Your handbag says everything about you.

6. Where did you come up with the idea of a reversible bag?

I was so excited about a group of fabrics I had pulled together for my friends bag, and I just couldn’t narrow the patterns down. Any good bag must be lined or you’ll have raw edges making the bag less durable, so I decided to line the “inside” with more fun and funky fabrics. This made a design that could be flipped “inside-out” so my friend could use both sides. Hence, my first reversible bag was born.

7. Tell me about the dressier upholstery bags?

The “dressier upholstery bag” is simply made out of more luxurious fabrics, like silk or velvet for example, where the other bags in my line are made out of a heavy duty cotton. These “dressier upholstery bags” are perfect for a night out on the town while the other bags in the line are more geared towards every day excursions.

8. Are all the bags washable?

Most are washable. Only the Mary Francis bags

are not washable (they are spot clean or dry clean) and do have a fabric protector on them. The Mary Frances makes up a very small portion of the line – all other bags are washable.

9. You have a fabulous fabric collection named after your grandparents. This is another brilliant and charming idea. How did it occur to you?

My very first bag reminded me of my grandmother, Dorothy Johns. It had elegant pattern on one side and a wild animal print on the other. This was just like my grandmother, Dorothy’s, personality. She was always elegantly dressed but had a wild side and loved to say shocking things. For example, she insisted on calling her retirement community “The institute for destitute prostitutes”. This started the pattern of honoring my grandparents.

10. You have fantastically colorful grandparents. I would particularly love to meet Dorothy. What do they have to say about being celebrities in your bag line?

I know Betty Lou (“Nonny”) and Mary Francis (my husband’s grandmother) were just tickled pink. Unfortunately, the others were not around when I started the handbag line. I have often wondered what they would say if they were alive to see this. …Especially Dorothy because we never knew what was going to come out of her mouth!

11. You have three bags: the clutch, shoulder bags and messenger bags. Tell me about each of them? The clutch is perfect for holding keys, wallet and / or cell phone. The shoulder bag is petite looking and still a perfect size for most women…. It can even hold an entire bottle of wine while also carrying your necessities (keys, wallet, cell, etc.). The Messenger bag is great for a travel bag, a book bag, gym bag, diaper bag or just a carry your whole house bag.

12. What is Build Your Own bag?

Build your own bag is for those that can’t decide between two bags. If you are torn between fabric collections, tell me and I’ll make one just for you. These bags are custom made so they do take time and there is an additional cost (additional cost depends on the fabrics chosen).

13. I understand you’re expanding? What’s next for Sunny Mays Bags?

Oh, I’ve got lots of tricks up my sleeve. If I said them before they came out, that wouldn’t make it much fun, would it?

14. What do you always pack in your Messenger Bag when you travel?

You would not believe how much those Messenger Bags can hold! I carry EVERYTHING in there when I travel. When I travel alone for a few days, I use that as my one and only suite case. When I travel with the family, it’s usually stuffed with a ton of items for our kids such as games, toys, blankies & “lovies”, TONS of snacks and wipes to clean up messy hands. An iPod (to tune out the kids on the plane) and my purse (which is a shoulder bag) also goes inside. My make-up bag, some cardigans (because I’m always cold when we travel) and some reading material (book or magazines) are also shoved inside. There are also a few random items my husband asks that I stuff in at the last minute.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world with your Sunny Mays Bag when would you go and why? Hmm…. That’s a tough one. I do LOVE to travel and have been very lucky to see quite a bit, but I’ve yet to travel to Morocco. That country always intrigues me with their textiles and architecture. For now, I am looking forward to taking my Sunny Mays Bag to the British Virgin Islands this spring to celebrate my 10 year wedding anniversary.

16. What is your motto in life?

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.

Photo taken by: Inspired By You Photography. Visit at