Get excited y’all!! You may recall when I posted on ila Handbags in March to which several of you expressed swoon worthy reactions. Well, I am thrilled to announce that the incredible couple, Paula and Brian Bjerketvedt, behind ila Handbags is doing a giveaway of one of their gorgeous handbags here at The Eclectic Life (I’m refraining from writing 10 more exclamation marks).

I asked Paula and Brian to introduce themselves and share a little bit of how ila Handbags came to be (love their story!). Be sure to read it and look for the giveaway details below!

ila Handbags

When Paula’s friends Faymi and Eric decided Paris would be the spot for
their big day, who knew it would have led to this. Unable to attend,
Paula wanted to give her close friend something special. Some ideas and
time passed, and then one idea seemed to stick. Paula dusted off her
sewing machine and made her first handbag. Requests for two more bags; one
from Famyi’s mother and maid of honor came in, and Paula was hooked.

That was one year ago in 2010. Since then Paula has been refining bag styles,
scouring vintage shops and online flea markets for fabric and brooches and
sewing nonstop.

Currently, ila Handbags are available in two retail locations in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, and have been featured in numerous web sites and
blogs – including 100 Layer Cake, Metro Magazine, Minnesota Bride,
Wisconsin Bride, Arizona Bride, The Eclectic Life and Snippet and Ink.

Paula’s design aesthetic was informed as much by her fashionable
grandmother Ilaverne’s amazing collection of bags, shoes and jewelry as by
her six years as a Senior Visual Manager with retailer Anthropologie.
Paula has a Clothing Design degree from the University of Minnesota.

Paula’s husband Brian, is a senior art director/designer at a Minneapolis
agency and can be found collaborating with Paula on nights and weekends;
working on ila’s web site, product photography, PR and overall branding
and marketing.

{Check out their Orla Kiely wallpaper! Is this couple cool, or what!}

Paula and Brian have been married for 8 years this August and live just outside
Minneapolis, Minnesota with their two boys Simon and Quinn.


Thanks Paula and Brian for sharing a snippet of your story with us! Both your story and your handbags are such amazing inspirations. Does their story encourage you to pursue something you love? Yeah, me too! Alright, let’s go right to the giveaway information!

The winner of this ila Handbag giveaway will pick the handbag of their choice! Yes, you heard me correctly. The winner will also have a three month window after the giveaway to choose their favorite handbag so there’s no rush(a great option considering Paula will be releasing new handbags this summer).

Friday, May 13th 10pm CST

Each of the following options counts as one entry for a max of 3 entries per person (and 3 separate comments!)

1) Visit the ila Handbags site and leave a comment sharing your favorite handbag with us.

2) Leave a comment if you “Like” ila Handbags on Facebook

3) Leave a comment if you “Like” The Eclectic Life on Facebook 

The winner will be announced first thing Monday morning, May 16th. If your name is announced (and I hope it is!) you will need to contact me at to claim your prize, so be sure and check back here that Monday. Thanks again to ila Handbags for their generous giveaway and best of luck to all of you!

This giveaway is absolutely open to international readers!

{all photos by Craig Vandershagen}