Tell me a little bit about yourself
My name is Johanna Parker, but most people call me Jo. I live with my husband and all our pets in a small town in rural Eastern North Carolina. I started my business in 2010 in my college dorm and have honed my craft over the years. There’s not much more I love than waking up in the morning with a cup of coffee and diving into a pile of sewing projects.
How did you get into making these gorgeous leather travel totes?
I’ve sewn since elementary school and have always been a fan of repurposing and making things new again. I learned to sew on a vintage Singer and still almost exclusively use vintage industrial sewing machines. One of my first bags was made using a nail apron that I found in my parents garage. My dad told me later that I wore it around as a kid helping outside. I love taking things that have sentimental and historical value and giving them a renewed purpose.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Vintage fabrics and textiles really inspire me. I find fabrics and textiles everywhere from the rafters of barns to the inside of old steamer trunks. Since we live in rural North Carolina, I make my rounds to auctions and estate sales in search of materials that inspire me. Lately, I’m loving vintage rugs and created a few totes using sections of a Turkish Kilim rug that was woven around 1910.
How long have you kept chickens?
We’ve had chickens for almost 3 years. My parents have chickens and that’s what got me started. I could taste the difference in their eggs vs. store bought eggs and decided to start a backyard flock. We started with two girls and now have five.
What is your favorite thing about your flock?
I love that each chicken has a different personality. One of our hens, Pickle, is a Red Star and is very protective of the yard. No one comes in our yard without Pickle letting us know! All of our hens have food names (Peach, Pickle, Porkchop, Quiche, and Berry) and our dogs have animal names (Fox and Moose). We like our themes at the Parker House!
Do you have a favorite chicken, if so what is their name and why?
Peach, our oldest hen, is definitely my favorite. She will jump up in my lap and sit with me. She’s mad at me right now because we’re introducing three new little girls into the flock and she’s not so sure about them. She’s very mothering though and I know she’ll warm up to them eventually.
What bag do you think everyone should have and why?
I think everyone should have an everyday bag that is durable, classic, and functional. An added bonus is having a bag that has a story. I love creating handbags for clients and giving their family heirlooms, old college totes, and military uniforms new life.