She's got a brand new bag

Suzie Harrison

She's not a typical bag lady. Laguna Beach resident Samantha

McDermott's line of fashion bags are being noticed.

"I've been testing the market for about two years and started off

in Chicago," McDermott said. "I won the Marshall Field's Distinction

in Design Award in May 2003 [for the 'Switch' bag] with product in

the store November 2003."

"Switch" is the company's patent-pending concept that allows a

single bag to be transformed for multi-purposes.

"My bags are interchangeable and have detachable panels,"

McDermott said. "All panels can come off. You can zip new ones on and

turn it into a messenger style or tote."

Samantha Mack bags come in three styles and sizes: the mini, a

mid-sized taper-tote or the larger messenger bag.

Each one comes with panel options and a tote strap, a long

adjustable messenger strap and a shoulder strap.

Her mini-bags can be switched to a clutch or to a wristlet and can

be worn in a fanny-pack style.

"Which bag to choose depends on what you're looking for, whether

it's for work, travel or school," McDermott said. "Or if you're

looking more of a purse then you'd probably want the mini-bag."

McDermott said the tote is also good for everyday usage.

Though McDermott didn't point it out, Samantha Mack bags have seen

attention in the mass media this past year. Actress Kim Cattrall used

one in an episode of "Sex in the City," the handbags were used as

props in a Chicago "Trump Plaza" photo shoot, featured on "QVC" and

in "Women's Wear Daily," "Lucky Magazine," "The Chicago Tribune" and


The bags come in myriad colors and designs, as well as with the

option to have it hand embroidered with a choice of materials,

including micro fiber; canvas; suedette, which is like ultra suede;

and leather.

Prices vary from a micro fiber mini at $49 all the way up to a

$400 leather messenger bag.

"People have tried doing interchangeable bags in the past and have

failed, otherwise they'd still be around," McDermott said. "It's all

about quality and pricing and changing consumers' needs, wants and

trends -- hence the customization part."

McDermott said it's an ageless concept.

"A 65-year-old woman purchased a bag at Marshall Field's and said

she found the perfect bag and asked when the next style and material

would be available," McDermott said. "A 25-year-old woman in fashion

bought the same bag and wanted new panel designs so she could update

the look."

Next McDermott wants to launch a men's line and open a retail

concept store, hopefully in Laguna Beach.

McDermott said she would give a special 45% discount to Laguna

Beach residents. With Valentine's day around the corner, McDermott

has pink berry bags in stock. She said it's the perfect travel bag

for your Valentine and suggests to hide a plane ticket in the pocket

for a romantic getaway. To get information or place and order go to

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