Monday, March 28, 2022

Magical Merchandise: Harveys Seatbelt Bags

Today, I'm sharing one of my favorite places to buy my Disney merchandise.  I have mentioned them a few times on here, but I realized that I've never actually written a detailed post about them.  I think it's time that I confess my obsession with Harveys.  

I'm sure that you're all well aware of my accessory problem by now.  I have been collecting Harveys seatbelt bags for 5 years and I absolutely love them.  (This post is long overdue... and I've been holding out on you guys- but not intentionally!  Promise!)

Let's dive right in... Harveys has been making bags and accessories since 1997.  This year they are celebrating their 25th anniversary and they have big things planned for us!  (The company's actual 25th birthday was this past Tuesday, March 22nd!)  It all started when Dana and Melanie Harvey were restoring their classic car and Dana had the idea to make Melanie a handbag out of the leftover seatbelt.  They've been making handbags out of seatbelts ever since!  Today, they have a workshop and retail store in Santa Ana, CA where they design, make and sell their seatbelt handbags!  

What most people love about Harveys is the quality of their products.  Seatbelt might seem like an odd choice for a handbag, but there are so many benefits to it.  Seatbelt material is durable, it's colorfast, it's easy to clean, it's safe to wear out in the rain and it's also animal friendly.  Thus, Harveys creates handbags that are sturdy, durable and easily cleanable.  I also want to add that it's amazing what they can do with seatbelts!

I first discovered Harveys bags sometime back in 2012 or 2013.  I'm not sure what the first bag that I saw was, but I do remember when Katie sent me a picture of a Minnie Mouse bag from a small store in downtown Bar Harbor.  At the time, I thought it was cool but I sadly passed on the bag.  (If only I knew then what I know now!)  I had no idea how much I'd grow to love these bags a few short years later! 

I bought my first Harveys bag from their website back in January of 2017.  (It was before I had an account with them, so it's older than my current account and isn't even on there!)  I had fallen in love with their Colorblock Minnie mini foldover and I had to have it.  When it arrived, I was mesmerized by it's beauty and durability.

I bought my second Harveys bag from Zappos, a retailer who used to carry Harveys products.  (Harveys has since decided to sell their own products instead of working with retailers.)  I really wanted the 101 Dalmatians Puppy foldover, but it had sold out on Harveys' website.  I found in on Zappos in February and purchased it immediately.

I bought my third bag from the Harveys website in April of 2017.  It was the Colorblock Mickey crossbody bag- from the same collection as my Minnie bag.  A few short days later, I bought the Belle mini foldover, and from there the obsession began.  I bought my first four Harveys bags in about three months... and the rest is history.

Nowadays, I try to limit myself to the bags that I really want.  Everything they make is gorgeous, but I can't have it all.  I tend to stick to mostly the Disney stuff, but I have bought a few other things though the years.  They certainly make it tempting... 

Harveys releases a new collection on the first Friday of each month.  Harveys fans look forward to "First Friday" and to the new themes and designs.  In fact, most of the new items are purchased in the first few minutes of the Friday morning drop.  I've seen things go quicker each release as Harveys has become more popular.  (Many more people discovered Harveys back in 2020 while in quarantine.) 

I've purchased a few of the bags from the non-Disney collections over the years.  One of my favorites was the red, white and blue Spangled Bow tote that I purchased.  I wore it for the 4th of July 2019.  I have a few solid colors and a gorgeous rose themed bag from First Friday in February of 2021 and a winter bag from January of this year.

In addition to their monthly First Friday collections, Harveys releases a new Disney collection every other month or so.  Through the years, I've tried to only buy the items that I really want, because it would be way too easy to want everything.  I tend to stay away from the Star Wars stuff for the most part.  (I like Star Wars, but I already have a few bags and that's enough.)  I usually end up picking one item from each collection to purchase.  But on a few collections, I've caved and bought multiple items.

Of course, the Disney holiday collections are my absolute weakness.  Harveys usually has a Halloween and Christmas collection each year (or every other year) and it's dangerous.  I've happily purchased a Pumpkin Mickey (2019) and Pumpkin Minnie (2020) bag.  I also have the Winter Wonderland bag from 2019.  It even matches one of my first Disney Dress Shop dresses!  Last year, I also added the Mickey's Merry Christmas tote and the Mickey Gingerbread convertible crossbody to my collection!

In addition to their online releases, Harveys occasionally has a collection that drops on Shop Disney and in the Disney Parks instead.  These releases are always popular and tend to sell out very quickly.  Some of these releases over the past year have included the Walk in the Park collection, the Halloween 2021 collection, and the Magic Kingdom 50th Anniversary bag that was just released a few weeks ago.  These product releases usually coincide with a signing event at Downtown Disney (Disneyland) or at Disney Springs (Walt Disney World).  Due to the pandemic, they haven't had many the past few years, but the Halloween 2021 launch did include a signing event at Disneyland! 

Harveys also carries a bunch of items other than bags.  They also sell bows, dog collars, dog leashes, purse straps, lanyards, key chains and headbands with their seatbelts.  Through the years, I've also seen patches, pins, plushes, scarves, shirts, beanies, keychains, coin purses, dust bags, berets, ornaments, and more!  Not gonna lie... I've bought my fair share of accessories along with my hand bags.

The coolest part of shopping at Harveys is the community feeling.  When they were able to have in person releases, Harveys had regulars that would come the night before to wait in line.  They usually had a food truck there for people to eat.  "Purse sisters" would stay up and talk all night in line with each other.  Dana and Melanie know a lot of their customers because so many of us are repeat customers.  Plus, Melanie always signs some of the boxes when they're shipping a big release out.  I actually got a signed box once and I made Eliot cut that part out so I could keep it!

There is also a very active online community.  About two years ago, Harveys created their own Facebook group called the Happy Harveys Club.  In the group, people share "family photos" of their handbag collections.  It's really cool to see pictures of what everyone collects.  There are women (and men!) who collect certain silhouettes in all of the colors Harveys releases.  Other people only collect items released in one seatbelt color.  There are also a lot of us who discovered Harveys through their Disney items.

There are other Harveys groups on Facebook that allow buying, selling and trading between members.  Some women make custom seatbelt bows to match the bags, while others make matching bag charms.  Some people show off their custom creations that they made by adding patches, ribbon or pins to their bags!  (I recently bought my first bag to customize with patches... hopefully I can show you that soon!) 

People have a lot of fun in the groups.  Someone bought a colorful sweater that looks like Kevin from Disney Pixar's Up and group members take turns mailing "Kevin" to other purse sisters so they can take a photo of themselves wearing Kevin with their Harveys bag.  There's another member who has some gorgeous dolls that he dresses up in stylish outfits.  His dolls have their own Harveys bags (actually Harveys miniature handbag ornaments) that are the perfect size for them!  I always love seeing his photos of the girls dressed up with their Harveys accessories!

Harveys' motto is "happy people making happy products" and they are indeed happy products with many happy customers.  I'm not paranoid to carry them since they're so durable and they always make me smile.  Unfortunately, like many of my other accessories, most of my Harveys bags are tucked away at the moment.  Once I finish re-organizing our master bedroom, I plan to switch my bags out a lot more often.  I can't wait because I have so many cute things and I want to use them!

If you're looking to treat yourself or to give someone something special, Harveys seatbelt bags are perfect!  The bags are sturdy, durable and easily cleanable.  I also love supporting a small business that's handmade in the USA!  

Most importantly, Dana and Melanie really care about their customers and they listen to what they say- both good and bad.  They want to know what products we'd like to see in the future.  Harveys is always looking to better themselves and to make the shopping experience better for their customers.  You can't ask for more than that!  °o°

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