You've heard the story before: A Dallas woman can't find exactly what she is looking for, so she makes it herself. That was the case for Allison Mitchell and her oversized clutch.
The owner of a successful marketing agency, Mitchell never expected to go into the handbag industry. But one weekend it occurred to her that she needed a bigger clutch without any hardware, and the ones on the market were either too small or adorned with rivets, locks and labels.
She always loved making things with her hands, so she set out to create what she couldn't find in stores.
The clutches are small enough to carry under the arm but large enough to hold an iPad, flip flops or a bottle of wine — should the need arise.
"I found a couple of yards of faux ostrich vinyl in a neutral cognac color from JoAnne Fabrics, lined it in hot pink houndstooth for a surprise when I opened it, and secured it with magnets hidden in the folds of the opening," Mitchell says. "It looked fabulous, and I carried it everywhere."
Pretty soon everyone was asking who made it and how they could get one. And the rest, as they say, is history.
After just a couple of months of pursuing production, Mitchell has been encouraged by the response, including an appearance at Fashion X Dallas, followed by a mention on Good Morning Texas. Dallas boutique Elements now carries the line.
Mitchell's clutches are small enough for a woman to carry under her arm but large enough to hold an iPad, flip flops or a bottle of wine — should the need arise. The bags are hand-made in Dallas, using animal skins and hides from around the world that are saturated with rich, bold color.
"I wanted the bag to become part of the wearer's clothing," Mitchell says. "I wanted the wearer to be able to style it, fold it, squish it, roll it, just play with it as you would a piece of clothing."
The clutches cost $875; the upcoming spring line ranges in price from $650-$2,400. In addition to shopping for the bags online and at Elements, you can swing by Mitchell's first trunk show at Vintage Martini on Saturday, December 6, 11 am-3 pm, and have a Skinnygirl cocktail while you browse.
"There is a magic about the bags, and it's my job to make sure they continue to be produced, sold and valued as high-end luxury goods," Mitchell says. "I remind myself every day of one of the first things I told my team when we decided to go down this road: It is our privilege to compete in this business, and we can't ever take that for granted."