She remembers, as a child, creating coordinating
stationery for friends.
“I was always a doodler,” she said.
But these days, her visions have gotten
a little bigger.
The 36-year-old Wyomissing woman has spun
her interest in art into a successful handbag design business.
As owner and designer for Daisy Janie,
a line of fabric handbags selling in boutiques throughout the
United States, DiCintio turns visions of energetic geometric shapes
into fabrics she uses to make casual yet artistic handbags.
DiCintio has little formal art training
with a degree in marketing, she worked for a variety of
businesses before pursuing more artistic careers.
The marketing experience no doubt was helpful
in building her business she said her product sales more
than doubled this year, compared to last. The company was founded
in February 2005.
And the scope of her business has expanded
as well, from mostly regional sales in its first year to selling
hundreds of bags wholesale to boutiques throughout the country.
“I'm selling all over the country on a
regular basis,” she said.
But sitting at her living room table on
a recent weekday morning, it was her artistic side that shone
Fanning over the table in front of her were
samples of her fabric designs squares of fabric covered with
loops, diamonds and squiggles in bold reds, yellows, greens, blues,
pinks and computer printouts of even more designs not yet
transferred to fabric.
The wall of this room like most
of the rooms in the house was hand-painted by DiCintio, a reminder
of her former job custom painting designs on other people's walls.
The walls in the floor level of her home
share similar color schemes greens, browns and yellows
and similar designs of geometric shapes, with swirls of
leaves and vines running up between painted “tiles.”
But despite the color around her, DiCintio
was dressed simply, wearing a long-sleeve, button-down black shirt
over a white tee, and a pair of light blue jeans, over which she
sported a fabric belt colored with bright ovals, resembling the
designs she creates for her handbags. A necklace of interlocking,
square silver links and beads completed the outfit.
DiCintio said her bags reflect her own
sense of style.
“I like a lot of pattern, but not on me,”
She said she'd rather the color and patterns
in her outfit be in accessories than on her clothing.
“That's my style, so that's what comes
out in the bags, too,” she said.
But the bags represent more than just styles
she would wear.
Extension of personality
They are also, in a way, an extension of her
personality, she said.
Like her home decor, the fabrics she designs
are bright, geometric, balanced and cheerful.
“Everything really is an extension of me,”
DiCintio described the technique she uses
to create her bags' designs as similar to the way she paints,
especially the hand-painted mirror frames for which she used to
be a juried member of the Chester County Craft Guild.
Those frames made of corkboard shaped
by curved lines and points surrounding a mirror are painted
in layers of bright, boldly colored paints.
The designs have sharply delineated lines
separating one section of design from another, and within each
section, geometric patterns like circles and squares are filled
in with dots and squiggles and outlined in contrasting colors.
The end effect is of popping colors and
appealing designs that, while filling the space, don't feel busy.
Her fabric designs, created with graphic
software, are similar, with layered images one on top of each
other until she creates a design with the right feel: detailed,
but also balanced and symmetrical.
“All of the (fabric) designs are very similar
to how I paint the color, the texture,” she said. “Something,
in the end, that has depth and character.”
A single design could take anywhere from
one hour if she has no trouble translating her vision to
the computer to a week.
But after they're done, she often prints them
out and lets them sit, to see if they “gel,” she said, or to see
if after a few weeks of looking at them, she still finds them appealing.
“It has to hit me right,” she said.
Besides the fabrics, DiCintio also designs
the structure and style of each bag, and in doing so, also tries
to keep in mind what she would favor in a bag.
She said she worked hard to find a lining
material that would give her bags structure, so they could be
set on a table or the floor without losing their shape.
Because she likes a bag that's easy to
sling over her shoulder, a medium-size bag has an adjustable strap
that can be held in the hand or lengthened to let the bag rest
on the hip.
And her first design which remains
a popular one due to its size is the “Big Mama,” which
she describes in press material as “designed for moms with toddlers,
ready to transition from a 'large-Marge-carry-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink'
diaper bag to a 'smaller-but-still-roomy-carry-the-basics-and-look-good-when-I'm-out'
In putting each bag together, she sews
up sample bags to test out her designs, although the sewing on
her finished products is done by an outside contractor.
She eschews hardware metallic accents
like zippers and rings in her bags.
“I want the fabric to stand out,” she said.
“This is artwork ... it happens to be on a bag that's just
the canvas it's on.”
For the same reason, she said that while
she tries to stay knowledgeable about accessory trends, she also
tries not to let them influence her designs too much.
“I really wanted to set my work apart,”
she said. “And I really wanted to approach it as an artist.”
She's at work on her spring 2007 line,
expanding the number of styles she carries, and is looking at
introducing more innovative business practices to give boutiques
the option of ordering custom-designed bags.
And she said she can see her designs appearing
on many more products in the future: clothing, furniture fabrics,
Elizabeth Giorgi at 610-371-5016 or firstname.lastname@example.org