On The Rise: Emily Heffring Has Got It in the Bag

The Vancouver entrepreneur had no formal training in fashion design, but that didn't stop her.

Emily Heffring was visiting family on Vancouver Island in 2014 when she and her cousin decided, on a whim, to craft leather bags from scratch. “It was my first time trying to make something like that,” Heffring remembers. “I didn’t even think it would be possible.”

After some trial and error, the pair successfully hand-sewed two large totes—what they called “adult lady bags”—using materials sourced from a leather-belt kiosk at their local mall. And though Heffring, who studied anthropology and environmental sustainability, had no formal training in fashion design, she continued to explore the possibilities of leather at home. A year later, Your Bag of Holding, Heffring’s Vancouver-based label of funky handcrafted bags and accessories, was born.

The brand doesn’t make the oversized totes that Heffring first experimented with. In fact, it’s known for quite the opposite: small, no-fuss and made-to-order fanny packs that can be worn across the body, over the shoulder or around the waist. Some are constructed from locally sourced leather, while others use shearling or goat hide coloured in punchy shades of lemon, red and lilac. “It’s a creative material to work with,” Heffring says of the shearling in particular. “Every bag comes out a little bit different.”

Credit: Kyoko Fierro