Every successful brand has a story. For Reneé and Eli Stawicki of Songbird Sewing Co., that story is of a homecoming that has led way to the creation of nearly 750 custom, sustainable handbags. Drawing inspiration from their love of sailing, and her passion for textiles and creating one-of-a-kind pieces, Reneé has been hand-crafting bags since 2015 from her home in Richland, New York. With a revamp of their website recently launched, SSCo is more ready than ever to welcome new customers to the family.
After living the corporate sales life in Long Island, the Stawickis decided to move their family back upstate so that they could fulfill their dream of owning a boat and teaching their kids to sail. It's that bond to the water that has inspired SSCo in both the design of the bags and the formal creation of the business. When asked how the move home influenced her decision to start SSCo, Reneé had a simple answer; "coming home was the starting point of Songbird. The area is so rich in antiques and vintage textiles...I've been so inspired by flea markets and community donations...we've been so supported by the community...it's wonderful."
Sailors, A Homecoming, And A Sweetheart.
Songbird Sewing gets its name and logo from artist Norman Keith Collins, "Sailor Jerry," and his famous old Americana style illustrations. Reneé joked that if she were to ever get a tattoo, it would be an old Americana style anchor with Eli's name on it- an homage to how his work and support keeps Songbird up and running. However, it was the Sailor Jerry swallow that caught their eye, with its deep-rooted symbolism of health, wealth, and prosperity during travel. Thus, the swallow became the perfect embodiment of the adventure seeking family and their new business.
Simple And Sustainable.
Since the beginning, Reneé has been an advocate for the use of recycled textiles to create simple and functional handbags. In a recent interview, she spoke about her love for up-cycling to Kate Sonnick, saying "I love to repurpose leather jackets. It is amazing to see an out of style (sometimes rather hideous) leather jacket become a beautiful bag, rather than ending up in a landfill." This focus on reducing waste in landfills and up-cycling vintage finds has enabled her to create a unique line of bags, of which no two are alike. Since each bag is individually crafted, custom orders are welcomed and celebrated. One beloved customer wrote Reneé after her handbag was stitched, "I decided to contact Songbird Sewing Company [regarding an almost thrifted purple suede skirt that belonged to my dear friend, gifted to her by her late sister] and partake in the talents of Reneé and her ideas for styling and color combinations. The completed skirt was perfect in every shape and form...I was beyond thrilled, and my friend, who will receive this on her upcoming birthday, will be too! Thank you Reneé, for superb workmanship and the personal tag says it all!”
The Nautical Hippies
Excited about expanding the brand with the new website release, Reneé created a line of organic, small batch perfume balms named after the title above. Each hand packaged balm is created with organic oils and essences that give off the most beautiful subtle scent. With fragrances such as Earth & Wood and Vanilla Mint, the little balms are a wearable product that can be layered to create the perfect scent for any individual. Since they are organic, the product is safe and can be used not only on the neck and wrists but can be worn in the hair and on the lips, as well, for added hydration and softness. Each perfume is packaged and labeled in small tins, making them an everyday essential. The Nautical Hippie perfumes can be purchased on the SSCo website as well as through the following retailers.
Brick And Mortar.
Although a large selection of SSCo handbags and perfumes from their new Nautical Hippie collection can be purchased on the newly released Songbird Sewing Co. website, there are a handful of small retailers that each sell a unique collection of Songbird products. Those who wish to meet the heart and soul of SSCo can attend one of the three/four artisan fairs they attend annually across New York State, because after all, there is no better way to purchase a bag than from the people who took the time and care to make it.