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Made In NY: Bags And Pendants Are Crafted In Queens

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Just in time for holiday shopping, NY1's Shazia Khan looks at products from New York City in her week-long series, "I Got It Made In New York."

Using recycled bicycle tubes and scraps from sailboat awnings, Vaya Bags creator Tianna Meilinger and her two-person production staff hand-make about five to 20 bags a day. They work out of a small store-front space in Ridgewood, Queens.

"You can really make a living and create nice things from other people's scraps and garbage," Meilinger says. "It's really nice to meet people face to face, to meet the person who's going to be using and wearing your bags."

The all-weather messenger bag is Vaya's star product. Meilinger, an avid cyclist, made her first bag out of necessity. She learned the craft from her father.

"He found a leather factory that had a dumpster overflowing with leather scraps," she recalls. "And he thought it was such a shame that they would go to waste, so he collected the scraps and started making clothing out them."

And from the scraps from the scraps? Belts, wallets and pouches.

In fact, these "Made in NY" bags are going Hollywood – you can catch them on the big screen this summer in the movie "Premium Rush."

The jewelry line 24karas all starts inside Elizabeth Karas's home studio in Long Island City, where she designs and makes the prototypes.

"I think every piece of jewelry should have a story, and it should have the ability to become an heirloom," Karas says. "I think there is a little mystery in the jewelry."

Lace and ancient coins are among her inspirations, as she fashions pieces from silver, gold and – new for the holiday season – the more affordable antique brass.

And she doesn't go far for production – just across the east river, to Manhattan's Diamond District.

"I like the idea that I can make something right where I live and that it can be completely produced here," she says. "To me, that just makes more sense."

Her best sellers for the holidays? Hand-stamped pendants, customized while you wait.

Where To Buy

Vaya Bags



In Brooklyn
138 Willoughby Street at the DeKalb Market
Tuesday & Wednesday 1 -7
Thursday - Sunday 12 - 7
Monday by appointment
Dates: Nov. 1 - Dec. 31

In Soho
100 Thompson Street (at Spring) ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP