I discovered Love Pain & Stitches while I was browsing the internet for a solid Jack O’ Lantern purse last Halloween.  The only ones I seemed to be able to find were cheaply made ones from across the world, until I came across the @lovepainandstitches Instagram page.

The owner, Kenny Avila, makes hand crafted purses, wallets, and handbags all made to order in America.  That means each one is unique and they take a long time to get one.

My crusade to purchase one of these bags was arduous.

The owner does not keep his Etsy shop regularly stocked.  Instead items are listed in his shop once every other week on Saturdays and the rush to get one is insane.  The first time I tried to buy a bag, it was sold out by the time I entered my payment information.  With a sale every two weeks you’re bound to get one but I’ve heard it’s not uncommon to go a whole year before it finally happens.

Although it was discouraging, I contacted the owner privately and asked if he’d be interested in setting up pre-orders with some of his customers on Instagram.  Luckily he said yes! -Under the condition that we wait for his current batch of bags to be sent out which meant a longer turn around time.  Now the normal turn around time for orders is 7-8 weeks but my bags took 5 months to get to me.  I ordered my bags on July 21st and finally received them on November 7th.  Though despite the long wait I couldn’t have been happier with them.

Even though I’ve had these bags since November, I wanted to wait until after a few months of use before I wrote a review blog about them.

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So far they have stood up to daily wear and tear without any damage at all but I also store them in the same location every day so they won’t get damaged from mishandling when not in use.  I learned my lesson after my Iron Fist coffin bag was crushed by accident after leaving it in my car.

Each bag is made from vinyl which means the material is thick, durable, waterproof, and cruelty free!  I prefer all purpose items that won’t get damaged by every day activities, like going to the store when it’s raining outside.

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These particular bags are 14 x 8 x 3 which means they are incredibly roomy.  I have been able to fit a large wallet, my iPad, and two 20 oz bottles of soda inside at the same time.  Each bag has a large stretchy pocket on the inside for additional convenience.

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I’m not sure if this is standard for all of his orders but for the pre-orders Kenny threw in some glittery coffin shaped wallets. I got one for each order and I even got to choose my own colors!  I chose green, purple, and orange.

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Here is a size comparison of the wallet and the bag.  It fits comfortably inside with plenty of room to spare.  The wallets are a bit wonky for me if I’m honest.  I think if the zipper went all the way down the side of the wallet then it would be easier for me to use.

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I bought three bags total.  One has a happy face and the other two have angry faces but are in different colors.  Here is one of the angry faces in traditional orange and black.

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The Jack O’ Lantern bags come in so many different shapes, colors, materials, and textures that it’s hard to describe them all but some of the popular variations include glitter vinyl or faux alligator skin.

I wanted to stick to traditional colors for my bags because there’s no color combination more appealing to me than black and orange.

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This reverse black and orange pumpkin bag is my favorite of the bunch and I wear it the most often.  I was walking around the mall just the other day when someone called out to me and told me how much they loved it.  I get compliments on it everywhere I go.

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The hardware is durable and the stitching is sturdy.  I never have issues opening or closing the zipper and none of the seams have ripped so far.  I am expecting to have these bags for a long time to come.

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I also received some metal pins of the Love Pain & Stitches logo along with some of his business cards which I have passed around liberally.

Shelley Wynne, a friend over at the Battywampus Facebook page also purchased a pre-order bag and wrote:

“The quality and durability of the bags are remarkable. I bought a Jack O’ Lantern bag from Killstar and it’s so flimsy in comparison. I think initially I came across the bags on Etsy but forgot about them until someone on Facebook posted about them.  I waited a long time for these bags so the happiest I felt was opening the box and finally having them in my possession. My life is 365 days of Halloween so to be able to wear a purse in honor of Halloween, makes me giddy. I don’t anything negative to say about my purchase other than the wait time but it’s just part of the process of owning a bag.  I have the angry black pumpkin bag and the tombstone RIP bag. I don’t have a favorite. I love them both equally. Though I’ve used the tombstone bag over the pumpkin one only because I’m lazy.  I definitely recommend these bags and have given out business cards (a few of them in my package) to people who came up to me asking about the tombstone bag.  I want the cemetery heart purse. I love love love cemetery print stuff!”

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Here is a photo of the cemetery heart purse.

This “Graveyard Scene” bag is on my own wishlist.  I have a thing for big bags and the reviews that I’ve read on this one say that it’s much bigger than expected.

One review for this bag reads:

“This purse is huge! I bought the pumpkin makeup bag a few weeks back and it fits inside this purse along with my wallet, Kindle and other shenanigans. Highly recommend you guys to snag it when it’s available again.” -Melissa

The overall wear on my Jack O’ Lantern bags has been minimal but I also try not to use them extensively either.  Not because of poor quality but because of how difficult I imagine it would be to get a replacement.  Still I cannot recommend this shop highly enough.  Everything from the communication of purchase to the final product has been stellar.

Thank you Kenny for doing what you do.  You help me and others feel more confident in showing off our authentic spooky selves.

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