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BAG LADY: Sally Papedis of Stella Grey

Sally PapedisSally Papedis. You may not instantly recognize the name but if you were Oprah Winfrey or any one of the “Pretty Little Liars” cast mates, you certainly would.

The flaxen-haired brainchild and creative designer first made waves when she launched Stella Grey, a “wear-it-anywhere” collection of minimalistic totes, carry-alls, and cosmetic cases (think crocodile and python-embossed leathers, buttery soft suede and colorful hides) she launched in 2011. Since then, her bags have quickly become a cult classic, spotted on stylish shoulders and packed inside the suitcases of the well-traveled.

Not one to sit on her laurels for long, the designer, wife and mother of two is particularly excited about her latest creation: the “Addison Tote”, a voluminous carry-all swathed in rich, ostrich-embossed leather and available in a selection of bright hues (stark white is our favorite). A perfect summery accessory that can accompany you anywhere – from pool parties to weekend retreats. Need one for your own collection? Click HERE and start shopping! Enter “LUXE25” to receive a special 25% discount on this bag or any item at check-out. Offer good through Sunday, August 11, 2013.

We recently caught up the fashion industry sweetheart who quipped on skinny jeans, her fashion obsessions and foreign blokes named “Hugh”.

What first inspired you to launch a line of luxury handbags, clutches and travel cases? 
Someone once told me how challenging it was to find a contemporary cosmetic bag, anything that didn’t remind them of one their grandmother might carry. I realized the fashion market was missing this segment – luxurious makeup bags and carryalls – and I wanted to create one that was functional and attractive. I was soon researching high-end vegan leather fabrics that were waterproof, durable and easy to clean. A month later, I had designed my first prototype.

Why did you name your line, Stella Grey?
During my design school days, I was this cool punk rocker that went by the name “Stella”. I always liked the name “Grey”, it’s a neutral name. When I first wrote the name down on a piece of paper, it was like b-i-n-g-o!

Addison ToteWhich bag are you carrying?
The “Addison Tote” in white ostrich. It’s so lightweight and I can take it with me anywhere: the gym, pool, or out for a casual meal with my family. You can throw a lot into it.

What’s in your handbag right now?
Stella Grey. A “Sloane Pouch” in blue python for my makeup and a vegan “Crosby Case” which holds my wallet, iPhone, lip balm, business cards and keys.

Work uniform:
Skinny jeans, wedges and a Stella Grey hide cuff. When I’m at shows, I’ll wear a Stella Grey tee. As they say: it pays to advertise.

Where you go for inspiration:
Inspiration is everywhere. I am always watching what women are pulling out of their purses, especially their cosmetic cases.

Favorite store or boutique in Chicago:
Perchance Gold Coast.

Favorite restaurant in Chicago:
Tavern on Rush.

Favorite travel destination:
I was in Paris for 24 hours and would love to return.

Whom I most admire:
Strong women with a positive attitude about life, love and family.

Three words that best describe me: 
Fun, motivated and strong.

My celebrity crush: 
Hugh Laurie and Hugh Jackman (or foreign men with the first name of “Hugh”).

Most decadent thing I have ever purchased: 
A pair of Fendi sandals.

Stella Grey Crosby BagsFavorite indulgence: 
Chocolate-dusted almonds from Harrods of London.

Favorite songs on my iPod:
Anything with a good beat that gets me moving.

Book I am reading:
My business has consumed a lot of my free time in the last few years but I’m looking forward to tackling a long list of suggested reads.

Guiltiest pleasure:
Reality TV.

Facebook or Twitter:

I stay home to watch:
“Mad Men” with my hubby.

My hidden talent:
I’m an ex-gymnast which means I can still pull off a few tricks on a diving board or a flying trapeze.

Signature cocktail:
A big goblet of crisp pinot grigio or a stiff margarita on the rocks, no salt.

Words of Wisdom:
“Ask for help.” It never ceases to amaze me how people will come to another’s aid. Don’t be afraid or too proud to let them know when you really need it.

I can’t get through a day without:

The worst advice I was ever given: 
“Go big or go home”. I am more interested in creating longevity and brand recognition than simply making a lot of money fast.

Why I love doing what I do:
Having a creative outlet that was always missing when I was working in the corporate world. I also enjoy being my own boss.

Stella Grey Sloane PouchAdvice for anyone pursuing a career in design:
Be patient. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, learn from them.

Finish this sentence, “When it comes to living luxuriously, always…”
Carry a Stella Grey bag.

Click HERE  to shop the Stella Grey collection.

Kerry Shorr, 24/7 Contributing Writer
Co-Founder, Luxe File Chicago

Photo 1: Sally Papedis
Photo 2: Stella Grey Addison Tote
Photo 3: Stella Grey Crosby Cases
Photo 4: Stella Grey Sloane Pouch

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