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Meet Susan Tancer of Susan Tancer Studios in Palm Beach Gardens

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Tancer.

Susan, founder and designer of Susan Tancer Studios is a Palm Beach Gardens-based fiber artist. Her slow fashion collection of clutches, totes and weekenders are one-of-a-kind originals. The designs are unique, individual pieces of art, hand-signed by the artist.

Eco-friendly and sustainable, each is hand-cut from high-quality natural canvas, hand-painted in original bold and colorful designs, meticulously sewn (and lined with a hidden magnetic closure), then sealed in various coats of stain and finish to mimic the look, feel and textures of leather. She mixes her own paints and sealants to create the perfect matte or glass finish. Some of her bags sport some of her hand-formed clay hearts and shapes and she collects re-purposed vintage brooches, earrings, and embellishments from her travels to top off the bags.

Susan can be found painting day or night; canvas and paint are never left behind on her travels. She believes that art should inspire; many of her customers say that wearing her pieces makes them feel creative, radiant, and confident.

Susan started her company twelve years ago by accident. She began painting while undergoing chemotherapy in order to get her mind off nausea. She noticed her drop cloth and how it started to evolve as an interesting piece of art. Her friend was making burlap beach bags and Susan suggested using her drop cloth to make one. Susan wore it out, was stopped in a parking lot by a woman who inquired about the bag then asked to buy it off her back. The woman owned a boutique and put it in her store window, the next day calling Susan to say it sold and wanted to know if she could get more.

It was then Susan decided she found a way to give back to the hospital that saved her life. Since that day, Susan has proudly donated 10% of all sales to MD Anderson Cancer Center, now the inspiration behind her painting. Many of her bags have a hidden or abstract painted symbol for life (chai), a symbolic blessing to her much appreciated customers. Susan Tancer Studios has been showcased in art shows, trunk shows, resorts and boutiques and featured in publications around Florida and the world.

Has it been a smooth road?
The bags have definitely evolved throughout the years. The designs, quality of craftsmanship, and learning how to create the perfect textures took years of trial and error. Discovering how to sell and raising brand awareness has also been a challenge to me, preferring to paint and create in the studio. I’ve also learned about dealing with large department stores as well as the highs and lows of living in a seasonal locale.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Susan Tancer Studios specializes in creating a conversation buzz from the line of one-of-a-kind handbags. The hand-painted canvas sets me apart from other handbag designers, making each one eco-friendly and sustainable. I have been doing this for over 10 years, and what drives me to continue to paint is the principle of giving back; my company’s foundation – I proudly donate 10% of my proceeds to MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes. The artistic and cultural atmosphere Miami holds is exactly what my business thrives on. I have many Miami collectors and also customers who travel to the South Florida area and have shopped my trunk shows.


  • Starts at $195 and can go up to $395

Contact Info:

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Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Susan Tancer

    May 3, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Thank you Voyage for a lovely article xox!!

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