Examiner Interview

Phomaz (pronounced foam as) is a handbag company created by fashion designer Beth Radzin Swanson. Her eye-catching/acoustic foam tote bags are greatly valued because it stands out in a crowded room that’s filled with many other competitive brands of handbags.

Examiner sat down with Swanson, and this is what she had to say.

Examiner: Where are you from, and what was life like growing up there?

Beth Swanson: I am 43 years old; born and raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. I guess you would say I had a pretty normal childhood. Coming from an incredibly close and loving family. My parents and older brother have and will always be the driving forces in my life. 

Examiner: Who are some of your influences? 

BS: Although they have both passed, my parents made the person I am today. I carry them with me, in everything that I do. Every decision that I make, I make it with them in mind. My father was a very caring and hard-working man. For a majority of my life, my mother was bed bounded and very sick, and because of that, my father was very much—‘Mr. Mom’. He worked all day, and then came home to feed us. He took care of the house, and tucked me in at night, but my Mom taught me a majority of life’s lessons from her bed; and I trusted her, I could tell her ANYTHING; and their unconditional love and support has carried me through everything I do. 

Fashion has always been a way to express myself and stand out from the rest. If I’m going to an event and know most women will be wearing black, I want to be the only one in purple.

Examiner: What inspired you to become a fashion designer?

BS: This is a crazy question. I didn’t grow up thinking I would be a fashion designer. While I’ve always had a love of fashion, especially emerging trends, I never would have dreamed I would be a handbag designer. However, I like anything unique; and I’m inspired by Betsey Johnson, and her not so serious approach to fashion. I also love watching Project Runway and actually seeing the designers in their space creating. 

Examiner: Tell us a little about your company—PHOMAZ, how did it originate? 

BS: I was in marketing and advertising for about 20 years. After losing my parents (my mom most recently in 2014), I needed to find a new purpose. I attended an audition for Shark Tank with an idea in eyewear. That experience brought me to seek out celebrity branding guru, Jay Leopardi. After making an immediate connection, Jay and I collaborated on my idea. Foam was an integral part of the eyewear idea. After hours of brainstorming and creativity, the handbag and the PHOMAZ brand were born. 



Examiner: Tell us something about you that the world doesn’t know? 

BS: The world doesn’t know that I am incredibly intuitive because signs guide me daily. Since my parents’ passing, I see hearts everywhere I go. I see them on the sidewalks, in the clouds, etc., and it gives me great peace knowing that the signs are out there.

Examiner: What advice would you give to an aspiring fashion designer?

BS: I would tell them to simply go for it, and be proactive about what you want. I am the perfect example that it’s never too late. No one is going to tap you on the back and say, “I’m here to make your dreams come true.” If you have an idea, seek out good people and share it. You NEVER know where that idea can take you. 

Examiner: How can people get in contact with you? And where can they go to purchase your handbags?

BS: People can get in contact with me directly via email at beth@phomaz.com; and they can purchase my handbags at Phomaz.com; and I can also be reached via social media, on platforms such as Facebook,  Instagram, or Twitter.

Examiner: As an honored guest, is there anything else you would like to say?

BS: This is a new and exciting world, and as long as you have the passion, and an amazing support group, the skies the limit; and it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.