Miss A Columnist

Andrea Rodgers is the Founder of Miss A (AskMissA.com), which covers the intersection of charity and lifestyle for 1.5 million unique readers annually. Based in Washington, DC, Miss A has a presence in 21 U.S. cities with 30 editors and hundreds of writer. Andrea was inspired after 9/11, and became heavily involved in Washington’s charity circuit in an effort to give back to the community. At the core of the Miss A brand is Andrea’s personal belief in the positive power of volunteering and charity — not only to benefit those less fortunate, but to improve the individual, business or brand that gives their time, money and energy to a cause. AskMissA.com serves as a technological platform which connects editors, writers and readers around this core belief and shines a spotlight on the best nonprofits, charity events, cause marketing campaigns and philanthropic & stylish people, businesses and brands to inspire others to get involved.

Andrea Rodgers is a member of the Vogue 100, a hand-selected group by Vogue magazine of 100 influential decision makers and opinion leaders across the country known for their distinctive taste in fashion & culture. She has been featured in Vogue, W and Allure, CNN, Fox News, NOS Dutch Public Broadcasting, TV Tokyo, France 24, Alhurra, USA Today, Washington Post & Politico.

Katie Kalsi Handbags

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Katie Kalsi

Many of my readers may not know that I lived in Memphis, TN before moving to Shelby, NC. Katie Kalsi and I were friends and played together during my early school years at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis. Our mothers have remained good friends, and I have enjoyed getting back in touch with her and getting to know her again as an adult.

kalsi-5Katie Kalsi began her career as an artist painting contemporary works on canvas using oils and acrylics.  In the summer of 2006, Katie saw an untapped opening in the handbag market and decided to explore it.  She knew that combining her passion for painting and her love of stylish handbags would be nothing short of a winning combination.

With no previous sewing experience, Katie hand-stitched 24 hobo-style bags in her art room at her house.  She bought skins of leather and meticulously cut the leather into shoulder straps.  She then took designs from her signature paintings and painted those same designs onto her straps.  Attaching the shoulder straps to the bags with fabulous hardware, Katie Kalsi Handbags was born.

Katie gave 23 of those first bags to friends and family members and asked them to carry them kalsi-6around Memphis.  The last bag she carried herself.  It didn’t take long before the fashion forward women of Memphis were stopping everyone they saw carrying one of Katie’s bags and asked where they could get one.  In the meantime, Katie took a sewing class to further her handbag-making skills and to learn all aspects of production.  Converting an old barn into a studio, Katie makes all her own prototypes. Things began to happen quickly for Katie and her business rapidly grew as word got out.  Katie expanded into totes, cosmetic bags, and clutches with more sketches waiting to be produced into terrific bags waiting in her sketch book.  

katie-kalsi-2One of Katie’s greatest honors came in 2008 when she was contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  A 15-year old cancer patient had dreamed of becoming a fashion designer since she was a little girl.  While a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, the young designer told Make-A-Wish of her aspirations.  With her design in hand, Katie made the young patient a one-of-a-kind handbag.  The memory of seeing the joy on her face as one of her designs came off the drawing paper and into reality will stay with Katie forever.

Recently, Katie was chosen to participate in the annual Mother’s Day in Hollywood Celebrity Gift Boxes 2009.  Katie made customized bags for 30 famous mothers, including Angelina Jolie, Rebecca Romijn, Jennifer Garner, Angie Harmon, and Allison Sweeny, star of the daytime drama, Days of Our Lives.

In less than three years, Katie’s bags can be seen on kalsi-4the arm of Cameron Diaz, Faith Hill (who personally contacted Katie about her love for Katie’s bags), Nicole Kidman, Lisa Marie Presley (who affectionately calls Katie the “Guitar Strap Girl”), rocker Pat Benatar, Sandra Bullock, American Idol’s Katherine McPhee, January Jones (star of the critically acclaimed television show Mad Men), country singing sensation Julie Roberts, Marlo Thomas and her sister-in-law Annie Thomas, who commissioned Katie to make her a one-of-a-kind clutch for Jennifer Aniston’s 40th birthday party.

Katie’s most recent honor was being asked to design a bag for Women Heart; The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease to be sold on their website with proceeds going to educate women through education on the #1 killer of women in America – heart disease. Katie’s career as a handbag designer and manufacturer has taken off in a very short time.  Her bags are in line to be sold at upscale stores all over the country and Katie is already busy at work on her next collection.

Take a look at Katie’s Website! I think you’ll really like her unique designs.

– Miss A

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