Megan Natasha, the one-woman design and construction team behind Ragmaw handbags, is hiring. 

After realizing several years ago that her career as a pharmacist paid the bills, but left a large part of her soul unfulfilled, she began her journey as an independent craftswoman, and things are finally coming together.

Now she is so busy making bags she can’t even hold onto enough stock to wholesale, except for a small selection of bags available at Whink! on Water St. So an assistant to cut fabric and help with the sewing is needed. It’s had its challenges, from working 9 to 5 at a pharmacy job, and then coming home to sew till midnight, to learning to screen print fabrics from Pascale Horan of Pink Eye Print Company, but the pay off is a successful business and creative satisfaction.

She’s since handed over the printing of the durable canvas she uses to construct the body of the bags to Pink Eye, but still designs the prints used, which reflect her love of nature. The birch trees you often see on her bags are inspired by having grown up in Robert’s Arm, central NL, by a lake surrounded in birch.

Bohemian prints and folk art florals are other favourites, and she loves this aesthetic. The name Ragmaw comes from an old Newfoundland word rag-moll, for a woman in tattered clothing, and while she certainly doesn’t want people to think of rags when they think of her bags, many do start out from upcycled cloth and the name is a nod to Newfoundland resourcefulness.

It is also a word she learned from her Grandmother Harris, whom she spent much of her childhood with. It was her  grandma who taught her leather working and sewing when she was a child.

The beauty of the bags belies their sturdiness. They’re wax canvas framed with high quality leather, ready for years of use. The process is fairly involved for a sewing task, but Megan loves building something from the inside out. She sewed her first bag from a photograph of a purse she admired while on vacation in The States, and found a surprising satisfaction from the ensuing project that ultimately changed her life.

As she finds more success and begins her journey not just as an artist but as an employer as well, her love of handbag construction might change someone else’s life too, by providing meaningful employment in textile arts in St. John’s.

Ragmaw credit Maria Hillier

Credit: Maria Hillier