Sally Peek of Columbia describes her career as a designer as “accidental.” After attending a sewing class in 2007 her love for creating turned into a life long passion.
It is beautiful chaos in Sally Peek’s home design studio. With colorful fabrics strewed in every direction and soft jazz playing the background, Peeks spends hours sewing and splitting fabric to transform her vision into one-of-a-kind handbags.
“Designing a bag that comes to life as the end result of my vision is incredibly satisfying,” Peeks said. “It feeds my drive to continue to create.”
Peek began designing handbags about 11 years ago in a small corner of her home after taking a four-hour sewing class. Now she produces several bags annually for her Nana by Sally brand.
“It happened accidentally, which is kind of good for me,” Peek said. “Within a few weeks I had a business license and was off the ground.”
Peek uses textile fabrics to convey a vintage tone, incorporating colors and textures that showcase her appreciation for minimalism and prints.
Nana by Sally bags are crafted from materials like leather and laced with colors that illustrate every season of the year. Peeks’ handbags can range from $30 to $350 and include clutches, totes, back bags, wallets and cross-body bags.
Peek decided to name her company, Nana by Sally as a tribute to Peek’s biggest champion in her life–her great-grandmother.
‘Nana’ was a key influence in her life when Peek was growing up, she taught her to never take life too seriously and that life was ‘ultimately’ about people.
“My Nana was magnetic,” Peek recalled. “Her personality encompasses everything I strive to be.”
When she first began her handbag career, Peekstook Nana’s advice and named each of her hand bags after a close family member or friend.
“My oldest daughter has a clutch named after her,” Peek said. “Even though the look of the bag has changed, so has she. It makes sense to be willing to shift things and let them evolve like people do.”
The arts are celebrated as a family affair in the Peek home. Sally Peek’s husband, Scotty, is an art teacher at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School and a professional painter. Their 12-year-old daughter Sophie sews handmade dolls with her friends, and their 8-year-old daughter Elsie is a lover of music and plays the drum.
Although their studios are right next to each other, the Peek said they create their art in a tag team process.
“The way family life works, we don’t have all day long to work side by side; one has to cook dinner or run the kids to practices, we kind of tag team.” Scotty Peek said. “We could almost share a studio.”
“We could not share a studio…” Peek replied with a smile.
While Sally Peek does not follow a strict formula, she tries to stick to the vision she has of a design once she wakes up.
“I try to get in the studio as fast as possible to try to execute it, because it always takes several tries to get it right,” said Peeks.
Claremont has been a customer of Peek for about four years. She said Peek is a very caring and makes sure her customers always feel important.
“She puts a lot of love and care into her bags,” Claremont said. “I own about six or seven, but if I had unlimited funds I would own more.”
Peek’s advice to future entrepreneurs is to always make time for your work. She believes it is time consuming, but if you have the right inspiration and motive behind your plan, you will do nothing but succeed.
“The ability to work yourself into the ground is part of it… you never really have a set number of hours,” Peek said.
“One of the best things I’ve learned is to know that I am not going to be perfect at any one role in my life,” Peek said. “That has brought me more freedom to enjoy being a mom and being a business owner.”
To catch a glimpse of Nana by Sally and this artistic family, Sally Peek has a table set up for Nana by Sally every Saturday on Columbia’s Main Street at Soda City Market. There, you can explore and purchase her hand made bags and also meet the family.
Scotty Peek has an upcoming art show in December at the City Arts event in The Vista.
Sally Peek designs and creates her handbags in her home studio. Peek describes her studio as chaotic and inspiring. “It is kind of indicative to what is going on in my head,” she said.
Sally Peek incorporates vintage textile fabrics into her designs; her love for color and texture can be seen throughout her handbags.
While Scotty Peek teaches art he also has a studio at home and is preparing work for a show at City Arts in December.
Sophie Peek began sewing dolls together using loose and colorful fabrics with a friend. She wants to become a teacher once she is older but hopes to stay faithful to the art of making things. “I want to learn how to make bags so I can help my mom,” Sophie said.
Sally Peek named her company Nana by Sally after her great-grandmother. Her ‘Nana’ taught her that life was ‘ultimately’ about people so Peek began naming each of her designs after a loved one.