The Birth of a Sour Bag

sour thumb.jpg

I get asked quite often: Where does the name Sour Bags & Totes come from?  How did I come up with it? Or even how to pronounce Sour, but that’s just language barriers. Well, the time has come for everyone to know the boring story of how Sour came to be! At least I think it’s dull. It’s not some inspirational tale of a small town girl dreaming of bigger things. Well it kind of is but not in the fairy tale sort of way.


It all started with a magazine I used to publish back in 2003-2004. After CEGEP (that’s College or pre-university for everyone outside of Quebec) I did what anyone not moving onto University would do, I moved back home with my parents. I grew up in the middle of nowhere on a farm and when I got back from CEGEP I began working at a local bakery. While the job was fine and the people were great, I needed a bit more to feed my creative monster. I decided to start self-publishing a magazine. One which I produced with dial up internet and a very low tech Windows Publisher program. I had friends pitch in articles, art or on occasion a comic and I filled in everything else. I think 8 Ball Horoscopes were my favorite. With the help of my good friend Emily ( from Tomorrow Never Knows) , I named it Sour Josephine. That name was inspired by a band named Coheed & Cambria which had a song  with the lyrics Sweet Josephine in it ( Devil in Jersey City). I really liked this song but didn’t want to copy it so Emily suggested I change the Sweet to Sour. I thought it was very fitting.

early sour years 2.jpg

In 2005, I moved back to Montreal and eventually got a job at Chapters (a Canadian book store giant) in 2007. Now, for those who are familiar with me, I don’t read often but I was great at suggesting self-help novels. After a fascinating week of retail, meeting new and interesting smelling people, I would sew for myself. I began making bags for myself with the sewing machine my grand-mother gave me. I named that sewing machine Gerty! My grand-mother had apparently bought it in the 1960s from a door to door Singer salesman. Best sewing machine I ever owned and I remember my grand-mother saying she regretted giving it to me because she also loved that machine!  Okay let’s get back on track! So I’m making my own tote bags and taking them to work at Chapters. My manager at the time noticed my handmade bag and encouraged me to open a shop on Etsy. Back then, Etsy wasn’t known in Quebec but I took the risk and opened my shop! I named it Sour Bags & Totes, keeping the Sour going even if it wasn’t in magazine form anymore. The quality of my bags and sewing weren’t perfected at this point and it’s crazy to see the evolution of my art.

I’ve learned so much over the years and this now includes zippers. Something I was very firmly against but now am enjoying. I just needed to find a tutorial my brain could comprehend and the rest is history.
I work on or make bags nearly everyday now. It can be infuriating at times but there’s joy with working on something from start to finish and seeing it find a home with a happy customer.