Artbeat

Remember the running Seinfeld gag about Kramer¹s dream of a pizza parlor where patrons choose the ingredients, then make their own pizzas? Kerry Szymanski had a similar dream when she opened SassyBB in Fort Lauderdale in mid-July. Well, sort of. Instead of pizza, patrons design their own purses. And instead of making their own, they leave that to Szymanski, who pioneered the design-your-own concept last year with a wholesale operation in Chicago. ³Unleash your creative diva!² she now invites women (and presumably the occasional cross-dressing male). It¹s a simple three-step process: (1) Select a style from more than a dozen possibilities, including beach bags, totes, yoga bags, wine bags, pet carriers, evening bags, cosmetic bags, and wallets (diaper bags are in the works); (2) Pick fabrics for the bag¹s inside and outside, choosing from three racks of samples with catchy names like Hollywood Squares, Mt. Hood Sunflowers, and A Day at the Beach; and (3) Claim your customized clutch in just two weeks, either by stopping by the Gateway-area shop or arranging for delivery. Those are the basics. Options include handles, zippers, and beads (the BB in the name is for ³Bags and Beads²), and most bags can also be customized with inside and/or outside pockets. The cost to your current pocketbook will range from $15 for a wallet-sized Hip-Hop bag -- the finished bags are all named after dances -- to $78 for a big beach bag. Gift certificates are available, and Szymanski, who says she wants her fashionable works to be ³fun, funky, and functional,² will also help organize ³purse parties² to celebrate birthdays, weddings, and other events, with the party hostess receiving a complimentary bag for bringing in business. (SassyBB is at 939 NE 19th Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-765-1315.) -- Michael Mills

 
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