By Jenny Rebholz   Published Oct 27, 2004 at 5:30 AM

{image1}Grace Briscoe brings a little Memphis to Milwaukee with an array of accessories, handbags and clothing tagged Maggie Muse.

Briscoe has lived in Milwaukee for almost eight years pursuing a marketing career. Her background in fine arts and years of sewing in the South however have her dabbling in her spare time.

"A year ago Stephanie Sherman noticed a bag I was carrying and asked for a few for her new boutique, Lela," recalls Briscoe. Maggie Muse, her mother's namesake, soon followed.

Briscoe spent many hours sewing with her mother and grandmother throughout her childhood in Memphis, and now Milwaukee is enjoying the fruits of this learned labor.

"I try to hand-embellish everything, so everything is one-of-a-kind," says Briscoe.

The Maggie Muse creations started with handbags including a line made of vinyl with painted graphics. She cuts the purses by hand and makes the pattern up as she goes in order to ensure a truly unique, original product. Wrist cuffs made of recycled belts as well as knitted scarves and ponchos are additional Maggie Muse signature fashions. This summer she launched a line of T-shirts and will continue to experiment with more clothing items, but her unique accessories are a mainstay.

Maggie Muse products can be viewed online at or seen in person at Three Graces on Brady Street or at Lela in the Third Ward.

Molly Gebheim, store manager at Three Graces, is a fan of the Maggie Muse line and sells a variety of her products at the store. "It's nice to have something different in style, something original. That is what I love about it and so do my customers. It's a breath of fresh air."

Lela also carries Maggie Muse and looks forward to Briscoe's continued success. "We have seen Grace grow a lot as a designer over the past year," comments owner Stephanie Sherman (whose husband Jeff is a co-owner of, -ed.). "Her work is urban and funky, and she is committed to offering her items at a reasonable price."

Briscoe continues to build up the Maggie Muse inventory and is excited about her future in Milwaukee.

"I love the energy of the city and the local business community is very supportive of entrepreneurs and artists," says Briscoe. "I have been supported and nurtured throughout this process. If it had not been for the encouragement that I received, I don't know if I would be doing this."

At 27, Briscoe continues to pursue her marketing career full time but enjoys her Maggie Muse success. This redheaded "Memphis Belle" is just one more spark igniting Milwaukee's burgeoning independent fashion scene.