LONG-suffering husbands around the country will empathise with Hamilton's Marcus Little.
Such is the collection of shoes, clothes and handbags stockpiled by his wife, Valerie, there is barely a skerrick of room left for poor Marcus in their communal wardrobe.
"He rolls his eyes at the amount of things I have – he has about three square inches for his shirts in the wardrobe and his shoes are permanently being displaced," Valerie laughs.
"Even as a child my mother called me Imelda Marcos, I had so many shoes and clothes.
"I have got so many bags it’s embarrassing – probably about 120. I say to Marcus ideally I’d have a shipping container with a hole in it by the house as a dressing room."
Given Valerie’s talent for sewing, particularly her line of Valerie Little Designs handmade bags, she can, be somewhat forgiven. With a penchant for sewing from her earliest years raised on a Hamilton farm, Valerie first started making handbags as a teenager for herself, which later led to friend and family requests.
These days she can’t keep up with the demand for her designs – all are individual, never-repeated bags. Valerie, who runs a 20ha Border Leicester farm with Marcus, as well as working in farmer education at Hamilton’s Department of Primary Industries, says her bags are "definitely not girly girl".
"The things that attract me are natural. I love the beauty of the material and appreciate a well-crafted item. I don’t embellish much but let the raw product speak for itself."
Those materials include vintage fabrics (everthing from old curtains to op shop finds), felt, denim, fur pelts, leather and kid skin – which are all sourced from a Haddon tannery that uses natural not chemical processes. The bags range in price from $170 for satchels to $460 for large leather totes.
The mother-of-two says her ideas come at all hours of the day, often when flicking through websites or magazines, or when she spies a particularly sumptuous material.
At times her designs border on the unconventional. "For that reason some of my bags sell better in the city." Given she never intended to start a business making handbags, but came to it through demand about 10 years ago, Valerie has created her business by increments.
"It all happened without me planning for it to happen," she says.
"When I was first starting to make bags for others I was using an old Husqvarna inherited from my grandmother. It was frustrating to use and I nearly killed it with the suede and leather."
So in order to turn her creations from a personal hobby to a business, Valerie approached a saddler friend in Hamilton and had a test-run on his leather sewing machine.
She ended up buying the same model – a 400-tonne "big, heavy industrial number that chomps through leather and has nearly taken my finger off a couple of times – the needles are four times the size of normal ones".
She says business has skyrocketed to the point she may focus purely on designs and outsource the production.
"People appreciate the fact they are handmade, unique, none are the same, so I am reticent to make it mass produced," she says.
So how does she choose what bag to use each morning?
"I might have 120 but I go through phases," she says.
"One of my favourites is a dark chocolate heavy leather one or my goat skin satchel. I think bags, above all need to be both fashionable and functional. They can’t just be good to look at."