MiVT: Grooves & Grain

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) We followed Lt. Colonel John Guyette of the Vermont National Guard during his service in Afhganistan and after returning home. Now it's his daughter, Alyssa Guyette, that has made news for her Made in Vermont handbags, backpacks and purses that mix fashion with function.

Alyssa Guyette is in one of her grooves -- Grooves and Grain that is. "It's absolutely incredible to have a space that I've created that's truly mine," Guyette said.

It's her business of wearable art. But these backpacks, handbags and purses aren't just for fashion. "As I was learning new designs and learning to work with zippers, snaps and stuff like that, the functionality became super important to me," she said.

Repurposing is also important for Guyette. Her leather is reclaimed mostly from upholstery shops. "This will be converted into the front lid of a mini backpack," she said.

The bags can range from about $150 to $350 and can be found on her website and Stella May on Church Street in Burlington. A bulk of the bags come custom. "I found all these different shapes and techniques and colors and sizes, and you really need one of everything," she said.

Guyette is always coming up with new ideas, including a design she originally sketched out in college and then when an artisan friend to improve. "Now I'm finding with the eyeball designs and the random use of stones and colors, that I'm creating a new sense of style for myself as well," she said.

Her bags have been used across the globe, from Germany and Italy, and all the way to Austrailia. But it was an apprenticeship in South Carolina where it all started. Coming home to Vermont -- that's just a bonus. "It's been cool to see how the Burlington community and just the Vermont community itself, helps build up the artists around here and really show support," she said.

Support for a company that holds its own.

Alyssa will be opening her studio doors for customers this Saturday, May 25th.