Made in the Northwest: The story behind Teddi Joelle bags

SPOKANE, Wash. — Teddi Cripps had designs on a career in counseling before boredom led her to stitch a leather clutch bag on her grandfather’s old tools at their family cattle ranch in Edwall.

“I posted it on Instagram and my family and friends were like, ‘We want one. We need to start, you need to do something with this,” said Cripps.

So, she created an Etsy shop and her bags blew up.

“Within the first year, we realized that it could be something bigger than what we had ever anticipated,” recalled Cripps. “My husband quit his job, Tyler, within two years and we started doing it full time.”

From the shop behind their home, Teddi and Tyler hand craft every single one of their Teddi Joelle products from start to finish, using 100% vegetable tanned Italian leather.

“It’s very special in the way that it just holds an old world craft to the leather itself, explained Cripps. “And paired with the kind of simple design that we go for, I feel like it carries a very timeless – it’s an heirloom bag is what we’re going for.”

Teddi Joelle’s belt bags put the company on the map, but Cripps says its tote bags are its top sellers now.

“We just do a really simple, basic tote.”

They also make clothing items like belts and shoes, which are part of a partnership with the Barcelona based company, Sevilla Smith.

Teddi Joelle products have been sold as far away as Dubai, Sweden and Australia, but they get a bigger kick from seeing their products in Spokane.

“We have a ton of sales here. And so we have seen, just out and about, it’s so fun going shopping at Trader joe’s or Costco and I see one of our bags around, I just freak out,” said Cripps. “It’s really, really fun to have such a cool community here.”

The Teddi Joelle team grew in December with the arrival of their son, Hank. But Cripps says they’d like the team to grow even more by hiring some help and hopefully buying a warehouse in the next few years.

“The goal is to have the company where we’re small enough where it still feels small, but large enough where we’re established and we have a good presence within the women’s leather goods market at least here in the U.S.”

And to continue crafting timeless products she’s proud to put her name on.

“I didn’t realize that it was going to be my life’s passion, but I live and breathe designing and making.”

And it’s a passion that’s paid off in loyal customers and a promising young business for this young Spokane family.