HARRINGTON PARK, N.J. -- Inspiration strikes at the oddest times, especially if you keep your eyes – and mind – open. So believes Harrington Park resident Tara McCann who, deaf since age two, has learned to pay attention to the world around her in a much more astute way.
It's why she now calls herself "Chief Bag Lady" of WeBe Bags , the company she started in 2005 after she had an "aha" moment while vacationing in the Caribbean. It was then she noticed a bunch of women sitting beneath palm trees, stitching sail ties onto durable, discarded flour sacks.
"I loved the simple beauty of what they were doing and suddenly saw other possibilities," said McCann, who at the time had a career in the film industry."In that moment, WeBe Bags was born."
Long story short: She asked the ladies to send her the flour sacks they didn’t need, then sewed them into bags for her friends. Everyone loved that the bags were created from upcycled coffee, bean, rice and feed bags, with labels made from coconuts.
But soon, what was originally a "fun and useful gift from the Tropics," turned into a real business. WeBe was featured in a host of national publications and were named the swag bags at events at the Cannes Film Festival.
Though McCann saw early success, she had to put the bags aside for a while and concentrate on her family and career. A few years later, after living abroad, she realized how much she missed WeBe Bags and so relaunched the business. That meant re-hiring the ladies who inspired her more than a decade ago and taking a chance on a different career direction that would allow her to spend more time with her kids.
So far, so good. Since the relaunch in January 2014, the bags have been back in the press and she's busy working on the process of expanding. Within the next month (ish), she will be branching out into home goods (think tablecloths, place mats, napkins, wine bottle holders, etc.).She is also actively looking to increase her wholesale side of the business and enter into new stores. Meantime, you can find her bags at Threads in Westwood and La Promenade in Tenafly as well as online.
Go to www.webebags.com/ for more information.