Custom purse maker takes local to a new level
Alexa and Seth Holzwarth of Libertyville are co-owners of LexiWynn, a custom purse company in Libertyville. Customers choose the style and fabrics for their purses, which are sewn in Libertyville. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
LOCATION: 627 2nd Street, Libertyville
SPECIALTY: Custom purses
Updated: November 13, 2012 11:30AM
They admit what they’re trying to accomplish is incredibly difficult and a little bit crazy.
“But we don’t care. We love what we do. We love the adventure,” Seth Holzwarth said.
Seth and his wife Alexa are co-owners of custom purse maker LexiWynn Designs. Everything they make is produced at their workshop in Libertyville.
Their venture began in 2006 when Alexa started making purses for herself and friends as a stay-at-home mom. Her parents had a custom drapery business in her home state of Virginia and she had access to the fabrics they used. Those fabric scraps become the building blocks of her custom-designed purses.
When the bags proved popular with friends and neighbors, Alexa held her first purse party that year. She took 10 orders. The next party, hosted by a friend in California, netted 60 orders. Alexa personally made each bag at home in between her duties as a mom.
To this day, parties are the primary way sales are made.
“We like the direct-sales model because it gives our customers the best value,” Seth explained. “If we had a retail store, that would add on a lot of costs and our products would be more expensive.”
After their initial successes, things got serious. A business plan was written, investors were brought on, the first employee was hired to sew the bags and the first sales rep was hired. Today there are seven employees and 27 sales reps. The goal, Seth said, is to eventually have anywhere up to 1,000 reps.
Making their products in the U.S. is expensive, Seth acknowledges, but it’s paramount to him and Alexa.
“It’s very important to us to provide an alternative to something mass-produced in China,” he said. “If this was purely about money, we would have given up a long time ago. We love having a great story behind our product and we’re thrilled to be able to provide American jobs.”
Asked about what it’s like to work on a businesses as a husband-and-wife team, Seth and Alexa smile and admit there are challenges.
“The hard part is when I want to be more conservative and he wants to take more risks,” Alexa said.
Seth agreed that working together can be difficult, but said their personalities compliment each other well — and they wouldn’t have it any other way.