I willingly admit I have an affinity for handbags. Some people like shoes, some like clothes—I’m that person who collects handbags. It’s comforting to me when I can contain my belongings in something cute and carry it around; and then find something else that’s cute and carry it around in that. I think it may be genetic as I’m sure I’ve passed this trait on to my 12-year-old daughter.
The first time I found Harveys seatbelt bags online, I was instantly hooked by the variety of styles and colors that are available. I am generally conflicted about making purchases that are unnecessary anymore; partly because of the money this depletes from my wallet, but also because I don’t need for much in my life. I’m also trying to simplify, recycle, and consolidate my belongings. However, since I’ve convinced myself we will finally have a yard sale this spring, I was able to find some room in my closet for a few new bags.
Each Harveys bag is made primarily out of seatbelts here in the US. The concept began back in 1997 when husband and wife Dana and Melanie Harvey were restoring an old 1950 Buick and needed to replace the seatbelts. What to do with an old seatbelt? Don’t throw it away, make it into a handbag! Apparently, it got a lot of attention so they decided to keep making them and turned it into a business. In the past 14 years, they’re expanded their business to make all kinds of shapes and styles of bags—from wristlets and clutches to hobos, totes, and messengers, there’s something for everyone. There is a basic black bag, which will go with everything, and a bright mandarin orange bag that will boldly stand out on your arm. They even have a line called Harveys for Disney Couture.
Within the past year, I’ve purchased three Harveys bags—the large Treecycle tote, the checkered black and white mini messenger, and a champagne-colored hipster. I really like the Treecycle bag for several reasons—the size is good (11.5″ (L) x 9.5″ (H) x 4″ (W), so I can fit book in there), it’s lined with hemp (which is soft and sustainable) and printed with water-based inks, and the color is unique (multi-colored pattern with mostly blue, gray, and champagne seatbelts). It also has an ample sized zippered pocket on the inside, plus slots for a pen, tissues, and a bigger pouch for paper and other sundries. Each of my bags also has a heavy-duty main zipper, which doesn’t get caught on the lining. The messenger and tote also have D-rings to which I can attach my keys (I’m a keyless entry snob, so I need a place to park my keys).
While the tote is a great everyday purse, I like the messenger for trips. I couldn’t fit more than a paperback in it, but I don’t have to take everything out of my wallet to fit it either. It has long straps so I can wrap it around my body, which is nice for trips into New York when I want to keep my belongings close to me. It’s also useful when I don’t feel like filling up a bag and just want to bring the essentials along with me.
The hipster is a great bag to take out for an evening when I just need a few items. I can wear it over my shoulder, strap it around me like a messenger, or remove the strap and use it as a clutch (the straps are detachable). It’s a great small purse to have on an afternoon walk or when going out to dinner. Each of these bags also comes with a packet of Harveys information cards—so when a stranger stops you on the street and says “That’s the most adorable bag I’ve ever seen! Where did you find it?,” I can reach into my purse, grab one, and hand it to them to keep. That’s an ingenious marketing tool. These folks will even send you more cards free upon request. The one thing that took some getting used to was the weight of these bags. Seatbelts are not lightweight; but these are recycled, stylish, and versatile—everything I could hope for wrapped up in a handbag.
HARVEYS, 1918 E. Glenwood Place, Santa Ana, CA 92705. Phone: 1.877.666.2247. Web: http://www.seatbeltbags.com/