Happy Friday ASW Readers!! We made it to Friday ::Cheers:: Does anyone have any cool plans for Labor Day weekend? Mine will be spent hanging out with family and friends. Moving right along, today I will spotlight the talented and determined, Cortnie Hutchinson!
Born and raised in Maryland, the 28 year old Cortnie Hutchinson is the owner of Love, Cortnie Handbags. She attended college at the University of Maryland, College Park where she graduated with a BS in Kinesiology. She had originally wanted to be a Physical Therapist. Realizing that she really wanted to do something in the fashion industry, she decided to go to fashion school. Months after graduating she moved to California to attend the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. There she got her second degree in Merchandise Marketing. She moved back home to MD about a year and half later where she worked in retail management for a few years. It wasn’t until she learned to sew that everything changed.
ASW: What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture? How did the idea for your business come about?
I’m not even sure that I would call it a spark. It just kind of happened and out of curiosity started selling a couple to see how they would do. They were an instant hit and it just took off from there. It all started when I wanted to learn how to sew. My grandmother can pretty much do anything. She’s very handy around the house. So I had really wanted her to teach me. I found myself with extra time on my hands last summer in 2011 and decided it was a good time to learn. She was more than excited to teach me. When I was playing around on the sewing machine I had mentioned to her how cool it would be to make a clutch. Again, she was excited to show me how. She had spare fabric and zippers laying around and we made one out of that. She took me to the store where we picked out a couple of fabrics and ended up making about 3 clutches. I learned to sew one week and was selling my clutches on Etsy the following week. I started with just 3 bags and today I have about 40 different styles available.
ASW: What differentiates Love, Cortnie from other clutch bag brands?
I think the prints and patterns I use differentiate my clutches from other brands. The reason I started making them is because I always knew what kind of clutch I wanted, but could never find them online or at the mall. I wanted something other than just a solid color or lined in black. I love using fun prints inside and out or bold colors. Anything other than black!
ASW: How many hours do you work a day on average on creating new clutches?
I try to put out a new clutch every week or every other week. I’m constantly coming up with new ideas. I try to sketch them from time to time, but I always write them down. I don’t set aside time every day to come up with something new. It usually just comes to me at a random time and I’ll jot it down in my phone.
ASW: What motivates you?
My customers! The love and support I’ve received for Love,Cortnie has been overwhelming. The positive feedback keeps me going. I love to hear what people think about my newest bag or even suggestions. I had a couple of people mention that it would be cool to use bright colored zippers. I’ve started doing that. You guys definitely keep me going!
ASW: Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I’m not sure if I’d say who, but what. I’ve been so inspired by the things around me. The trends in fashion (neons, for example) and now with Fall approaching I’ve definitely been thinking about the use of deeper colors.
ASW: What would say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business?
- You have to stay driven. You will have ups and downs, but to keep pushing helps a lot.
- Believe in yourself! No one else can make it happen but you. No one will have your vision.
- Network, network and network some more. If people love what you’re doing, they will share it with their friends and people they know. You never know who you’ll meet.
- You must be very involved in Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. I have a Pinterest account and my blog (Stylelustpages.com) has helped me tremendously. It’s always nice that your customers or potential customers can check out your work and interact with you.
- Research. Check out others that are doing what you’re doing. See what they are and are not doing. Try to make your brand stand out from the rest.
ASW: What is next for Love, Cortnie?
I hope to expand. Right now my clutches are being sold in 3 boutiques and 2 online stores. I want to increase these numbers and I’m always working on doing so. Somewhere down the road I’d love to have a boutique of my own to showcase my clutches.
*If you shop or love certain small/big businesses and would like for them to be featured on A Sassy Woman please don’t hesitate to contact me through the “Contact” tab at the top of my blog.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by ✌,