My Great Grandmother, Mari Lassa, was strong and fearless. Her life story is one I carry and draw from for inspiration.
Born in the late 1800's in Les Aldudes, a small village in France’s Basque country, Mari was one of 13 children who labored in the farm fields of the Pyrenees. After a leg injury from the hard farming life in the mountains she wanted a better life for herself.
She came to America, settling in Los Angeles at age 19. She worked as a domestic, then she took a job cooking on a ranch where her older brother herded sheep. Here, she met and married fellow French immigrant Jean-Marie Coudures.
She created a big loving family and a large farming operation with her husband. She was a hard worker and was adamant to continue with French traditions and the French language in the household. To this day we carry on the lovely French traditions that was such a part of her life and our family has all learned from her about the importance of hard work and perseverance.
Mari Lassa is my family, my hero and my inspiration.
For me, it all started with a little fabric bag I bought in New York. I loved it so much I went back to the little boutique in SOHO to get another, of different fabric, for a friend. The thing I loved best was that I was the only one in the city that had this great bag! It was a little way I could feel special and unique in such a big city.
This brought about a desire to design and sew bags. My vision is to create something to make someone feel special and distinctive in this global world. I want to design and make bags here in Oregon. I want my bags to be functional, have simple lines and a raw beauty to them. I want to be inspired and be inspirational. I want to follow my dreams.