State your name and business.
Cinnamon Cooper, Poise

What is your mafia nickname?
The Ripper

What is your craft?
Making high-quality, creative, and fun handbags, purses, totes, and bags.

Why do you do your craft?
Because I can’t sit still for long periods of time without falling asleep and I have an obsession with purchasing fabric. The first purse I made was donated as a silent-auction item for a non-profit organization. It didn’t take me long to realize that I could support more organizations by giving them bags and selling bags to raise funds for them. I also abhor poor construction on bags so I’ve worked very hard to hone my skills to make each bag as durable and long-lasting as possible.

What are your sources of inspiration?
This has changed as I’ve developed a different design aesthetic. I spend a lot of time looking at the bags people carry daily on the EL. I look for areas where the strap is frayed, or how a flap curls at the corners, or how broken snaps get replaced with safety pins by users. My goal started out making cute bags that held stuff. But my focus has changed to be solving construction problems to make durable bags that last as long as possible. I’ve been delighted to get photographs of bags where the construction is still intact, but the fabric has been completely worn through.

How did you come up with your business name?
While visiting New Orleans in 2001, the owner of a Bed and Breakfast gave us a cheat sheet of “suthun’ sayins” and one of the items was “poise = purse”. It stuck and I brought it home with me.

What is your weapon of choice?
My main weapon is my sewing machine. My Juki TL-98E gets hugged, cleaned and oiled frequently.

What would you be doing otherwise?
Probably watching a lot more tv, taking more naps, and spending a lot of money on therapy. My happiness increased as my crafting output increased and I don’t doubt they’re related.

Do you have any advice for other crafters?
If you find yourself saying “Someone really ought to . . .” then maybe that someone is you.