How Resort Totes by Spectacular Bags are Made

How Resort Totes by Spectacular Bags are Made: From Artwork to Zippers

Our Spectacular Bags resort totes, the first bag in our Watercolors line, are made in South Florida of Neoprene and CORDURA®.

All of our materials come from U.S. – based firms. Once we select the materials, we have a local handbag maker in Miami create a prototype for our review. We thoroughly road-test each piece of the bag before putting it into production handbags.

How We Choose the Artwork

John SpecJohn’s art is, of course, central to Spectacular Bags. First, John and Dawne decide on the colors we want to use on our bags for the next season. Then, we work with the incredibly patient (and amazing!) local photography team, to ensure that we get a perfect digital version of the art.

Once we’re comfortable with the digital version, we send the information to our prototype team. They apply the art to a small sample piece of material and send it back to us for approval.

After we approve the sample, the artwork is embedded in the Neoprene.

How We Choose Features

There are so many details that go into the design of a handbag! We consider:

  • Pockets
  • Clasp type
  • Closure type
  • Straps
  • Zippers

How We Choose the Lining

There are almost limitless colors and fabrics available today. We do our best to ensure that the lining we choose is practical and pretty. In particular:

  • Will it stain?
  • Will it collect all sorts of purse “stuff” (like lint)?
  • Is it easy to clean?
  • Does it look great with the outside bag artwork?

Choosing the lining can take days because we can never settle on just one – there are so many beautiful colors to choose from! For our flagship tote, we looked for particular qualities, and found that CORDURA® checked all the boxes:

  • Durability
  • “Spectacularity”
  • Ease of care and cleaning
  • How well it complements the artwork
  • …and much more!

How We Choose the Hardware

  • We work with U.S.-based companies and get samples of various pieces (straps, zippers, clasps, you name it!) Then, we test them on the prototype bag.

Prototype Testing: One of Dawne’s Favorite Things

Once we’ve selected every detail, our U.S. manufacturer gets to work. He and his team create the prototype bag and then we test the bag, to ensure that it’s solid and will last forever.

Note: One of Dawne’s titles is “handbag tester extraordinaire,” because I am really, really hard on bags. I carry the prototype for at least a month and ensure that everything is still in great shape after my “field test.”

If we run into any issues, we tweak the sample until we’re confident that it’s just right. Then it’s on to production!

Time to Make the Bags!

Once we review and sign off on the prototype, our handbag maker gets to work in his Miami shop. He works really hard, only stopping to answer our endless texts asking if the bags are ready yet, and occasionally to pet his adorable “shop dog,” a delightful little Yorkie that goes to work with him every day.

Designing for Today, and Tomorrow

We look at future fashion trends, but always with an eye toward practicality. Once we choose a new feature, we produce a prototype bag and test out the feature to see:

  • Does it work as expected?
  • Is it practical?
  • Is it fun?

What about you? Would you say that…

  • I’m really hard on bags
  • I take really really really good care of them


  • I’m somewhere in between

As always, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to comment on this post, drop us a line at, or leave a comment on our Facebook page or Instagram feed.

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