MiVT: Bergamot + Amor
WILLIAMSTOWN, Vt. (WCAX) - A Williamstown couple is using their artistic aptitude to make beautiful bags and help their neighbors.
Overlooking the mountains, an unsuspecting Williamstown garage has worn many hats over the years. The auto garage turned upholstery shop is now home to Bergamot + Amor.
The transformation began when Peter Shangraw, who owned the place, commissioned local artist Amanda Farrell for some art work on his shed.
“He reached out through social media and asked me to do some paintings for him,” Farrell explained.
“Couple months later, we had coffee one day -- kinda clicked,” added Shangraw.
As the two began to hang out more, Farrell asked for a small favor of Shangraw, who had full access to the upholstery shop. “There are leather and scraps kicking around so she’s like, ‘Hey, I want a computer bag. You think we could make one?’ She’s crafty, I’m crafty, I’m like sure we can make one,” Shangraw said.
She posted it on her personal Facebook and soon after decided she wanted to make bags full-time.
“I was like, ‘Okay, well this is my upholstery shop, I’m busy, I’ll fit some stuff in. I’ll help you and we can see what happens. By the end of that week, it was like no more upholstery work,” Shangraw said.
“We had 14 orders within a few hours of posting that we were doing this as a business,” Farrell said.
Bergamot + Amor has been busy from the start, with 3,000 orders in their first year, all made by hand in the garage. They’re expecting double that this year.
They have countless styles in all different colors and named after towns and landmarks across Vermont. Some plain leather and others -- patchwork bags cut by hand. Aside from their beauty and function, Shangraw and Farrell use their sales to give back to their community, too.
“A huge portion of our proceeds and profits have been put back into the community. Vermonters during COVID have been struggling and it’s pretty apparent looking around our neighborhoods and stuff that people are really hurting,” Farrell said.
They’ve donated some $30,000 to people in need in the past year and a half they’ve been open.
While most sales are done online, you can pop by the shop with an appointment, too. You can also find Shangraw and Farrell representing Vermont at The Big E this fall.
With products like this and materials sourced from across the U.S., it’s no wonder their bags are flying out the door. “And it’s made right here in Vermont, right here in the shop. Everything is produced right here so, it’s kind of neat,” Shangraw
“It’s really fun,” added Farrell.
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