Our Story

Michele working in her studio. Photo by 2 Travel Everywhere Productions.

Michele working in her studio. Photo by 2 Travel Everywhere Productions.

Mountain Bird Designs is a small textile business located in Western North Carolina. Our products include sturdy messenger bags, totes, cross body bags and wallet clutches. We also have a line of traditional and mixed media wall quilts.

The idea for Mountain Bird Designs had been brewing for a number of years and we started selling our products in 2016.

Prior to the launch of Mountain Bird Designs, I worked for 25 years as an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control. While at the CDC, I went through quite a few business bags but never found the “perfect” bag. In 2011, I finally gave up and decided to use my sewing and quilting skills to make my own business bag that provided the functionality I needed while embracing the feminine spirit.

One of Michele's quilts. Photo by 2 Travel Everywhere Photography.

One of Michele's quilts. Photo by 2 Travel Everywhere Photography.

Making a business bag was new territory for me. But because I had been quilting since I was 15 years old, I was able to use my imagination and creativity to take on the challenge. In all honesty, the first several bags did not make the cut. (Pun intended.) But through trial and error, the bag that I imagined finally came to fruition.

The outside of the bag had the feminine look and feel I was after, made from a lovely turquoise batik that I found in my fabric stash. I used my home printer to print a drawing made by one of my friends onto fabric and stitched it to the front of the bag.

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The inside of the bag functioned just as I intended. There was space for my laptop, a work folder, note pad, and the all-important organizer/calendar. And there were plenty of pockets inside and out to keep my cell phone at hand, my wallet easily accessible and other essentials in place. One of the best things was the leash for her keys that made digging around in the depths of darkness obsolete.

Without knowing it, I was doing market research. My  business bag started generating quite a bit of attention with co-workers and friends asking if there were bags for sale. Although I loved my work at CDC, working toward the greater good and dedicating herself to the prevention of domestic violence, the seeds of change were planted. Just making my own business bag unexpectedly pointed me in a brand new direction.

In December 2013, I retired and started laying the foundation for Mountain Bird Designs, a social entrepreneurial small business that continues to feed my passion to make a difference in the lives of others.