Self-described handbag collector, expert and purse afficionado Carla Lewis opened Key West Handbags and More in mid-October. She has a true passion for the accessory.
“I don’t think I had enough bags already,” Carla said, laughing.
At her storefront on Southard Street, Carla has designer handbags from all over the world ranging from $30 to $600. The come in a wide range of styles from playful to sophisticated and feature trending fashions and materials.
The store carries the Kortica line of purses — soft, stylish bags made of corkwood. (The material isn’t just for wine bottle corks!) Along with being fashionable, the wood/fabric is eco-friendly, sustainable, durable, water resistant, buoyant, stain resistant, mildew resistant, scratch resistant, fade resistant, a natural insulator, flame retardant and can even repel mosquitoes, according to the manufacturer.
“I keep everything up to date and change brands every few months,” said Carla.
Key West Handbag also carries Ashlyn’d purses — handmade clutches from Los Angeles. The brand’s style is rooted in nature with purses made to look like marble, granite and wood. Others are wearable “snow-globes.” The clutches are constructed out of translucent acrylic and filled with colored sand or with pearls or crystals. The line even includes a functional purse: it’s finished with a blackboard surface for easy note taking or spontaneous drawing.
Whether it is a fancy evening or casual day, there is something for every ladies eye. Carla said one line by an Israeli designer is her current favorite.
“My favorite bag is from Daniella Lehavi. The large bag is already sold out,” she said.
She and her husband Jeff are originally from Boston, recently retired and arrived in Key West. Jeff works with Carla and helps out at the store. He said it’s not a bad way to spend his days.
“I really enjoy talking to the different people that walk in the store. Everybody in town is really friendly,” said Jeff.
The “more” of Key West Handbags and More is a unique collection of jewelry. The “Meditation Rings” have their own display. Based on Tibetan Prayer Wheels, turning the prayer wheels on the rings is said to help increase good karma and purify negative thoughts. The shop also sells bracelets and necklaces from Elizabeth and James.
The store is located at 531 Southard St. next to Sarabeth’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.