Andrea Tobin of Marla Cielo, standing in front of one of her canvases, to be made into handbags.

For Andrea Tobin, a former athlete and the artist behind Marla Cielo, a handbag brand designed and made in New York City, launching a new collection reminds her of the narratives behind each design.

“Each piece is a story,” Tobin told WWD. She is a self-taught artist, entrepreneur and previously was a competitive tennis player. Tobin reveals the same physicality in her quickened brushstrokes on canvas as she once exhibited on the tennis court — and simultaneously across business ventures. Her career also includes the cofounding of dropship solution provider RevCascade and influencer commerce platform Souler.

Marla Cielo was founded in 2010 and positioned where “art meets fashion.” Each piece is one-of-a-kind, and on Tuesday, Tobin celebrated the latest handbag collection with an intimate gathering in Manhattan’s East Village.

Each canvas, featuring Tobin’s original acrylic art, produces a moderate production run of wristlets, totes, clutches or cross-body bags and is manufactured in one of the last remaining handbag factories in New York City’s Garment District.

The handbags are suede-lined and designed for the customer who craves function without sacrificing art. Tobin’s products retail for anywhere between $160 to $700 a piece.

Perhaps representing a predominating trend toward the marriage of art and fashion and consumer preference for unique goods, Tobin said her customer base is broad but finds that the consumers are all commonly “attracted to the art.”

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