A new handbag store, described by its owner as a sort of “Build-a-Bear” for adults, will open in the Old Port next month.

O bag in Portland is one of six U.S. stores that the Italian parent company has opened in the last year. The Portland location is owned by Jo Hoppe, who was a high-tech executive in Massachusetts before she saw one of the parent company’s stores in Europe and became intrigued by the concept behind it.

Hoppe said customers choose a bag style and color – the bags are made from EVA, a polymer – then pick out a border, a liner, straps and any accessories and the bag is assembled in the store.

“The pieces all come together,” Hoppe said. “It takes five minutes to put together and an hour to decide all the options.”

Hoppe said the bags cost roughly $130 to $180, depending on the options a customer chooses. The store also sells messenger bags, pocket watches and wristwatches, bracelets and sunglasses.

O bag has more than 200 stores throughout Europe, she said, but Hoppe was surprised to find that the company didn’t have any stores in the U.S. when she contacted it last year. It soon will have six, with a flagship, company-owned store in Washington, D.C., and franchises in Louisiana and Miami, and two in Massachusetts – one in the Burlington Mall and another opening this summer on Boston’s Newbury Street.

Hoppe said she decided to leave high-tech and try retail because it was time for a change.

“I think it’s good every several years to reinvent yourself,” she said.

Portland caught her eye, Hoppe said, because her daughter and son-in-law, both architects, moved here recently from Washington. She said she likes the city’s relatively small size with large city amenities and she may soon relocate here herself.

The company is hiring three full-time employees and an uncertain number of part-timers, Hoppe said.

The space at 191 Middle St. is currently being renovated and painted, she said, and the store will open the first week of July.

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