Sheryl Rosenberg's journey to handcrafting her own line of handbags began with a chance encounter at a baseball game. It was there that she spied a woman carrying a gorgeous cowhide tote bag. "I love your bag! Where'd you get it?" she exclaimed. After discovering that her new acquaintance was a boutique owner that sold cowhide bags, Sheryl snapped one up, receiving compliments on that tote everywhere she went. "I knew I had to figure out how to make bags, but I didn't have a clue how to begin," she recalls. In a clever display of forethought, she began collecting email addresses of women stopping her to ask about her tote, building her future client base.
Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Sheryl raised her sons Jordan and Jason in the northern suburbs of Chicago before moving to Rogers Park, a diverse community on Chicago's north side. It was in her new neighborhood that she discovered the Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts. She contacted founder, Sara McIntosh, with whom she spent countless hours learning precise leather-working skills.
While starting out on this new endeavor, Sheryl's mother, Harriet, was diagnosed with cancer. Harriet was a well-known nursery school teacher and event planner; known for her upbeat, rosy personality. It was Harriet who would become the inspiration and namesake for Sheryl’s new passion. Each purse is stamped with a red rose to honor her mother and the rose brooch that she wore every day.
Harriet's Hides was first showcased in 2014 at the One of a Kind show at the Merchandise Mart, and sold out. "Though mom is no longer here, she is part of so many women's lives through these great bags, "Sheryl says. In 2020, Sheryl lovingly named each purse style after a member of her family: mother, father, sons, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, sister, aunt and uncle.
Sheryl encourages customers to visit her home studio located in a vintage apartment building by Lake Michigan. There they can watch her in action and see her entire line of beautiful cowhide purses and accessories. If her mother was here, you'd most likely see her head shaking and saying, "Keep on making purses, Sheryl Anne. I don't know how you do it all!"