I’m an accessory and textile designer living in Madison, WI with my husband and two ridiculous dogs (Rhea, a 5 year old pug and Toad, a 7 year old french bulldog). I’m fortunate enough to be working full time on my handbag and dog gear lines: Maggie Modena and Pups Who Pack.
A little history
Born and raised in the Wisconsin countryside, I found creative outlets to entertain my daydreaming mind. I was admitted to the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s Textile and Apparel design program in 2009 and soon fulfilled my desire for adventure, moving to New York City in 2011 where I graduated with an Associate’s in Accessory Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology and Bachelors from UW-Madison. After graduating, I landed a job designing handbags for brands such as Nicole Miller, Lucky Brand, Franco Sarto and Jessica Simpson.
I returned to Madison in the Summer of 2013 where I began prototyping my first handbag line on a laser cutter at makerspace Sector67 as well as cultivating my knowledge in marketing working at high-end women’s boutique, iona. In February, 2015 I launched and sold my first handbag line, Maggie Modena, at iona.
You make backpacks for dogs?
Yep, not the ones that the dog goes in, but rather a harness backpack that the dog themselves wear. It all started when I made a matching human and dog backpack for my pug, Rhea as a break from my handbag line. After all of the smiles and inquiries it brought while walking around downtown Madison, I thought it might be a fun addition to my line. I ended up launching my dog backpack on Kickstarter in November, 2015 and funded in December, 2015. Since then, it’s been a permanent addition and focus of my line, becoming its own entity: Pups Who Pack. I love it so much that this holiday I’ll be expanding into more dog accessories.
I’ve always been that friend who’s like, ‘Aw, check out how beautiful that tree is’ or ‘Look at the color of that shopping cart.’ I’m a bit of a visceral freak if you will. I love color, texture and observing my surroundings.
When I was young, I was pretty shy. Since then, I’ve been combating this trait though what I wear. One of my life goals is to become louder and more outwardly strange as I get older, inevitably becoming a kooky old lady covered in head-to-toe mismatching prints. Along the way, I’d like to challenge other people to be a little more bold themselves and to also speak their mind a bit more freely.
This is why textiles are such a huge part of what I do. Everyone could use a little bit more color, art and print in their lives to satisfy their own visceral desires and to wear something that makes them feel a bit more bold.
Your last name is Welsh, but where’d Modena come from?
Yes, my true last name is Welsh. Modena came about as an alter-ego stage name while DJing. It means ‘crimson’ which was the perfect, bolder version of myself. My alter-ego is a sort of best version of myself that I strive to be like every day.
Between prototyping my line at a local makerspace, working with a range of US and Chinese manufacturers, I have a lot of interest and knowledge in handbag manufacturing. I am proud to say that our collections are made in Milwaukee, WI.
Both of our handbag and dog gear lines are sold worldwide through our website; while you can find Pups Who Pack at Shop Dog & Co in NYC, Contempist Dog in Chicago, IL, and Discover Dogs in Vancouver, Canada. Our dog packs have been featured in Brit + Co, Bustle, Gotham Magazine, ViralNova, Dogster, Modern Dog Magazine as well as many insta-famous dogs including Doug the Pug, Carrie Fisher’s dog Gary Fisher, PS.NY., Homer Puglicious, Bubba The Pug, and The Daily Walter. See our Pups Who Pack Press kit here.
If you’d like to get in touch for collaborations, pop-ups & trunk shows, production/prototyping consultation, or have general questions you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org