Kim Heilig: Murrells Inlet Dream

By Leslie Moore

Kim Heilig couldn’t image living anywhere else than her beloved Murrells Inlet. “I’m originally from Marion, South Carolina, and came here to attend Horry Georgetown Technical College. I met my husband, a CCU graduate and we settled in Murrells Inlet.” Today, the couple lives with their two canine furbabies, and Kim works as facilities and project manager for Capital Vacations.

Kim’s mom, Beverly Swatzell, lives in Texas, but mother and daughter share a (sometimes long distance) passion for shopping, especially antique shopping. “We just love walking around looking for treasures,” Kim began. “One day we were shopping and talking about handbags. Mom said, ‘Why don’t we create our own?’ and that’s how our handbag company, Swatzell + Heilig, was born!”

Kim and Beverly wanted to start with a good quality straw handbag that would hold its shape and last for many years. Their first handbag, the Amalfi, is that perfect straw bag. “We worked with Maker’s Row, who guided us through the process of bringing our dream to life. We also worked with a wonderful architect who took our ideas and created professional drawings we could send to a manufacturer.” Kim continued, saying, “Having our bags made in the USA is a big deal to us. It does cost a bit more, but to us, it is worth it.”

“We have learned so much and made a lot of great connections through this process. It’s wonderful to get positive feedback from others in the fashion world. These are happy handbags! We want to make women happy!” Kim and Beverly have plans to expand their line, adding leather bags in the near future.

Creating handbags has brought mother and daughter much closer as well. “Mom and I talk every single day, usually while she’s putting on her makeup and I’m driving to work,” Kim laughed telling me about their unique business meetings.

When I asked about the price point, Kim explained. “The options we found for a good quality straw handbag were that you can spend $300 or less, but you won’t get the quality you want. If it stands up on its own, it will be hard as a brick and if it isn’t hard, it won’t stand up. On the very high end, these types of bags run $800-$900 and up, so we decided on a happy medium.”

The Amalfi’s raffia straw is hand-woven in Italy and finished with Italian leather. Each bag has a freshwater pearl inside of a brass, gold tone cage on the cloche. This signature finish adds a touch of elegance and who doesn’t love pearls!

“We just launched our website a month ago and I’m working with a few boutiques in Pawleys Island that we hope will soon be carrying our handbags,” Kim said as we finished our chat.

Visit Swatzell + Heilig at www.shhandbags.com to see Kim and Beverly’s creations!

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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One Response to “Kim Heilig: Murrells Inlet Dream”

  1. Susan galloy says:

    Just found your site re sassy

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