Kisa Williams’ round clutches have the fashionable crowd in Houston buzzing. Williams launched her brand- KisaKisa in 2015 and creates round statement clutches in a variety of prints and colors. She has an intense passion for what she does, and pours her heart into her work. Every clutch is handmade in Houston. I very recently commissioned her to do a custom piece for me, inspired by cactus, the desert, and the Southwest. I just received my bag and OHMIGOODNESS…. she NAILED it! I just can’t sing enough praise for her talent and an eye for something DIFFERENT!
Below are photos of the handbag in the desert. I thought it was only fitting, as desert and cacti/Southwest go hand-in-hand…
LAFashionsnob: Tell me a little about yourself…
Kisa: I’m from Austin, Texas. I moved to Houston in 2001 when I transferred with my job, Houston Board of Realtors. I can remember sitting on my mom’s bed in my PJs, watching her get dressed. It was like an art form. She had pride in the way she looked. Everything was perfect, from her hose, to her lipstick that matched her handbag and shoes. I can remember her having so much jewelry; and she would allow me to try it on and play dress up. That is where my love of accessories was born. Since I was a sick child, she made sure I had other activities to do besides going outside to play. So she drowned me in markers, colored paper, glue, and glitter; and I had the big pack crayons with the sharpener on the side. I can remember I had a Scooby Doo coloring book. I felt so sad for them [the characters] because they were in the same outfits all the time. So I colored Velma Dinkley’s outfit different, I made her turtleneck purple with small pink and yellow flowers. Her A-line skirt was boring, so I colored it black and white polka dots. Her socks matched the yellow flowers in her sweater. I also gave her gold glitter shoes.
I decided to go back to school late in my life, my 40’s. I have had many other jobs: real estate, nanny, clerical, and I was even a foster mom for awhile. I felt like I had a creative side, but just didn’t know how to express it. HCC [Houston Community College] showed me how to tap into my creative side and do something spectacular. I owe everything to them. The professors not only teach you, but they mentor you as well. I’m not a number, I’m KISA. I can remember sitting across the table from my professor at Chili’s on 59, and pulling out my badly made sample handbag to show her. She was like, ‘OMG I love it!’ She advised me on the size of the bag and other minor changes that I made.
LAFashionsnob: Speaking of handbags, what inspired you to start making the clutches?
Kisa: I have always been a handbag girl. I would often be asked, “Where did you get that bag?” The first chance I got, I took a handbag class with Professor Ken Simmons at HCC, and that is where it all started. I took a very simple concept and made it my own. I owe a lot to Simmons. I’m going to name a bag after him.
LAFashionsnob: Why are the clutches in the shape that they are?
Kisa: I did know at first why I was drawn to the circle, but while having lunch with a close friend- Sarah Shah, she pointed out to me that the circle is the shape of a sickle cell. I was born with Sickle Cell Anemia, the disease causes my red blood cells to be in the shape of a sickle. When the bag is open, it is the shape of a normal blood cell. There is no cure for the disease… YET. I hope to being awareness and raise money with a signature red bag.
LAFashionsnob: What makes your handbags unique?
Kisa: My bags are unique because they are circles, and made out of fabric, not leather. I was so tired of seeing square and rectangular shaped bags. I wanted to do something different. I mix colors and fabrics in a unique way, something different than black and brown.
LAFashionsnob: Where can we find your handbags?