Trip To Ethiopia Inspires Business

Brainerd Dispatch:

Doretta Busbey started creating felted wool handbags as a way to pay for the plane ticket to Ethiopia to pick up the daughter she adopted with her husband. The couple has three adopted children, two daughters and a son, from Ethiopia.

It was Busbey’s first trip to Ethiopia. She didn’t know what to expect, but she was impressed by the people. And she brought a lesson learned there back home.

“They absolutely utilize everything,” Busbey said, adding the people had very little but were rich in their outlook on life.

With three young children, ages 3, 7 and 9, Busbey was shopping at thrift stores to save money. At the Salvation Army’s Thrift Store in Brainerd, Busbey was impressed by the fabric of the outdated men’s suit coats. The fabric included Harris Tweed with its virgin wool handwoven by the islanders of Scotland. So she began experimenting with them and turning them into handbags.

The collars, pockets and buttons of the suit coats are still visible through the transformation from suit coat to purse. Belts become shoulder straps. Sheets, pillow shams or curtains are used for the purse’s interior lining.

Image from On Our Way

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