The Toby Weston Story
Toby Weston Handbags was born out of necessity 37 years ago when Toby, whose two children were out of the nest, decided to attend a local community college. Unhappy with the inability of the then current handbags to permit her to quickly locate her pens and pencils, personal items, car keys, notepads, etc., she designed and made a bag that fulfilled this need.
The following Xmas she gave a friend her newly designed bag as a gift. Sometime after Xmas, her friend contacted her and told her that she had sold the bag Toby had given her! However, she added that she took orders for eight more bags from friends of hers!
Sewing in a remodeled closet, Toby did produce the eight bags and others as well. It wasn’t long before she was contacted by the upscale division of a major department store and invited to come in and show her line. (She had to ask what they meant by line.) She put together some samples and met with the bag buyer and manager of the store. As the bag buyer was going over her bags and ordering them in dozens, Toby stopped her with, “Whoa, wait a minute, I’m just a little lady sewing in her bedroom closet.” The ensuing laughter was good natured and a “reasonable” order was placed for Easter delivery. The store manager asked her to please stay as naive as she was.
To validate the old adage that “timing is everything,” it was suggested to Toby that since she now had a rather large satisfied customer, why not call Disneyland. After much mental anguish (she did not view herself as a sales person), she did finally contact one of the buyers at Disneyland and his response was, “How soon can you get here?” That was the call that took Toby out of the bedroom closet and into a real business. After selling Disneyland, the phone did not stop ringing with stores from all over the country calling and the owners telling Toby that a friend or relative had bought one of her bags at Disneyland and could they order for their stores.
From that time to this, Toby’s bags are still made the same way (not in a closet), attention to detail and unmatched quality being the norm. In 2005 Toby retired and her daughter Wendy took over all of the day to day workings of Toby Weston Handbags. Wendy came from a design and retail background so it was a no- brainer for her to step in and take the reins from Toby. Wendy has added additonal designs to the TWH lineup but she is well aware that the star of the show is the original classic Toby Weston Handbag and that will not change.
If you asked Toby and Wendy what is the most important thing that has come out of a 37 year old, family owned business, they would tell you “it’s the people” all the wonderful women that are die hard Toby Weston Handbag fans and the great store owners who have been an important part of our success. We thank you all.