Designer Profile: Cortnie Elizabeth of Love,Cortnie

Cortnie ElizabethI learned of Love,Cortnie through Washingtonian’s 2013 holiday gift guide {15 DC-Made Gifts for the Locavore}, and had to learn more about the talented woman behind the beautiful, handmade statement clutches.  Cortnie has a chic, effortless style that I love.  I visit her blog StyleLust Pages daily for inspiration (my favorite outfits are pictured above), and to see what new Love,Cortnie creations she has in store for us.

HR:  When did you first start designing handbags? Did you always want to become a handbag designer or was it a gradual transition after studying at FIDM?

CE:  I first started designing bags when I was in between jobs during the summer of 2011.  Which was after graduating from FIDM in 2007.  I never imagined or dreamed that I’d be making bags, but sometimes the way things work out is just what you need.  I majored in Merchandise Marketing and also received my first degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.  I thought I was going to be a physical therapist.

I had always wanted to learn how to sew.  It was important to me that my grandmother taught me.  She knows how to do everything.  Since I had the extra time on my hands I was able to learn.  While teaching me I had mentioned how it would be cool to make a clutch.  Clutches were not a major accessory at the time and I could never find an oversized one that I loved.  So I figured that I would make them.  I learned to sew and made my first clutch, but a week later I opened my Etsy shop with 3 styles of clutches available.  I’ve now done over 100 different styles with the hopes of expanding into totes and bucket bags over the next few weeks.


Love,CortnieHR:  What is the most challenging/rewarding aspect(s) of designing handbags and being in business for yourself?

CE:  Time management!  There’s so much to be done when you’re in business for yourself and doing it alone.  The best part will always be seeing my customers on Instagram or Facebook, etc styling one of my bags.  The compliments, the encouragement, the emails about how much they love their new clutch will always be the most rewarding part.

HR:  Shopping for fabric seems like a fun part of the design process. Where do you find inspiration when creating each clutch?

CE:  Everywhere. I usually don’t shop with anything in mind.  I’ll usually just find fabric I love and go from there.  I’ve been inspired by current trends and color combos to name a couple.

HR:  Describe the woman you design for.

CE:  The woman who loves Love,Cortnie likes to stand out.  She likes being unique and it often translates into her style.

HR:  Which Love,Cortnie clutch is your best seller and which is your personal favorite?

CE:  The best seller is hands down, the Ashleigh.  It’s hard to keep it in stock sometimes.  The ladies love leopard!  It’s way too hard for me to pick a favorite.  I’ve made so many!  It has to be between the Spotted II calf hair clutch, the Pumpkin Spice clutch, the Midnight Hour clutch and I’m really loving the new Stud Muffin clutch.

Love,CortnieHR:  Name five celebrities you would love to see rocking a Love,Cortnie original.

CE:  That’s hard!  I’ll give you three.  Beyonce, of course.  She’s just amazing.  Oprah and June Ambrose.

HR:  What five accessories should every woman invest in?

CE:  Statement jewelry, dainty rings, a light weight scarf or 5 (I have over 30), the perfect little studs and a Love,Cortnie clutch of course!

HR:  What advice can you give to aspiring handbag designers?

CE:  Do the homework, learn as much as you can, keep learning and perfect your craft.  I’m always looking for ways to make my products better.  Just go for it!

Stay connected with Cortnie via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her blog StyleLust Pages.

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