Why did you start making bags? For convenience. I was studying architecture at Northeastern University in Boston. One day I was getting on the bus with all my stuff in a backpack, and I had to take the entire bag off just to find my change. People behind me were yelling. I thought, 'There has to be a better way.' So I pulled out my sketch pad and drew a bag.
And how did you make the bag into a business? That Christmas I got about $1,000 in gifts. So I opened the Yellow Pages and started calling manufacturers. I used the money to make five samples that I could bring around to stores.
When did you know you'd made it? In graduate school, I had really good grades, but I was so busy with my company that I wasn't around much. One of my guidance counselors said, 'I don't know what you're doing, but we're not happy.' And then he mentioned that he liked the bag I was carrying—one of mine. So I said, 'You really want to know what I've been doing?' All of a sudden he thought I was the best student in the world.
Our December issue features Oprah's Favorite Things—as well as your chance to win them all! You'll also find our easy holiday declutter plan, Dr. Oz's guide to sleeping better (starting tonight) and the ultimate holiday menu.