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Artist Spotlight - C.A.S. Handmade Inc. - Cara DesJardins

Artist Spotlight - C.A.S. Handmade Inc. - Cara DesJardins

Cara DesJardins, Worcester, MA

Established in May 2013, C.A.S. Handmade inc. is the creation of Cara DesJardins. A native Rhode Islander, Cara’s early exposure to sewing and textile design is the seed that sprouted into a unique line of stylish bags, totes, clutches, home textiles and clothes.

Cara graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in textile engineering and earned over ten years experience designing and creating in several textile industries. She took her passion to the next level combining her love for fabrics, color, and craftsmanship and developed a line of custom handbags and pillows made from all natural hand painted linen and leather. The natural linen compliments the earth mineral pigments she uses to paint her bags. Cara creates a very natural simplistic style that she strives to maintain in each of her bag styles.

in July 2016, Cara and her husband opened a studio store in Worcester Mass.

Describe your work.
We hand make each bag in our studio store. Cara designs each bag and makes every piece with the help of a small team of leather craftsman. We guarantee our bags and provide excellent customer service.

How did you get started in the crafts business?
I was a soft goods designer for Hasbro for 3 years, My husband convinced me to quit my job and start CAS 3 years ago. We now have over 65 wholesale accounts, we do the top retail shows in the country and just opened our first studio store in July 2016. We now have 2 assistants, and an apprentice, my husband working full time and 2 piece work sewers working for CAS.

How long have you been wholesaling?
3 years, we are currently at over 65 accounts nationally.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?

What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
Social media, Mailing list, ACRE and ACC program guides

How has IndieMe/ACRE helped your business?
IndieMe and ACRE has increased our wholesale business by over 30% this year alone.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?
Don't be afraid to try different ideas and throw everything out there to see what sticks. It will take a few years to see what shows are worth going to. Figure out your clientele and go for it. IndieMe has been such an asset for us.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?
We are a new gallery - open a month now. We carry over 15 artists. It is a great experience being on both sides of the business. Look for quality, and focus on what is truly unique and made in America.

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