Designer Profile: Meagan Hayes Kamerbeek of Klutch

I rarely come across a collection of handbags that’s stylish, versatile, timeless and affordable, so I was thrilled to learn about Klutch. I had a chance to chat with the woman behind the Klutch brand, Meagan Hayes Kamerbeek, and feel like we’re already friends.

HR: When did you first begin designing handbags?  How did you transition from an established career woman in the events industry to running a successful handbag company?

MHK: I was THAT girl. The twenty-something who watched countless reruns of Sex and the City and just HAD to take a bite out of The Big Apple. I was also that same twenty something who was broke and nearly out of a job post September 29th, 2008 when the stock market crashed. I was working for an Event Firm living in an almost 200 sq ft apartment in Hell’s Kitchen above a butcher shop, attending high-profile events at The NY Public Library and The Harvard Club to promote our luxury event rentals. These events required the right outfit and, while that little black dress was versatile, I relied on my accessories to spruce up my “it’s been two weeks since it’s seen the drycleaner, LBD.”

I had no business even perusing the shops on Fifth Avenue so, I did what any resourceful, Southern gal would do. I hit the flea market for my accessories. A single gold handbag purchased for $1 would carry my necessities from one event to the next commanding compliments from some of New York’s most well-dressed women. I knew there were more like me. More women who longed to tote the latest it-bag without breaking the bank and so I vowed to start a line where nothing would ever retail for over $100. A line where even the broke, twenty somethings living off of cheap red wine and cans of soup could afford to feel fashionable. When life took us to Thailand I decided it was time to cut ties with the world of weddings and turn my attention toward building a brand.HR: What is the most challenging/rewarding aspect(s) of designing handbags and being in business for yourself? 

MHK: Two words: time management. I’m also mom to a darling 18 month-old boy we lovingly call Wild Willie so managing my time is my biggest challenge. I spend a lot of nights at the computer long after my family is tucked into bed dealing with our manufacturers. Some of my greatest inspiration occurs around 2 am, standing in front of the open refrigerator door guzzling my son’s chocolate milk. 

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

MHK: I tend to draw on things I see in my day-to-day. We travel as often as possible so I’m always taking note of what I stumble upon in foreign places. The Blue rooftops in Santorini, Greece perfectly mirror the Blue Textile in our Wanderlust Cross-body and I designed our Faux Snakeskin bags to mimic the epidermis I saw on actual reptiles at the flea markets in Bangkok, Thailand.

HR: Describe the woman you design for and three celebrities who embody the Klutch brand. 

MHK: The woman I design for has a classic and somewhat practical sense of style but still likes to make a statement. She would likely never spend a fortune on a colorful bag but if it can be edgy and still affordable she’s all in! I feel like Houston-born Jennifer Garner, mom of 3 Mila Kunis and Southern Belle turned Broadway star, Sutton Foster embody the Klutch Brand. Comfortable in their own skin and not afraid to have a little fun.

HR: What five accessories should every woman invest in? 

MHK: My belief is that you invest in your staple, wardrobe pieces…accessories should bring the fun + flare without the price tag! If you’re spending too much money then the guilt sets in (for most of us) and you wind up talking yourself out of something you love. How many times have you said “oh I love it but I’d never spend THAT on a {bag, bracelet, belt}?” When those statement pieces are more accessible you tend to treat yourself. I personally try to always support my fellow designers when I accessorize. On any given day I’m going to be seen wearing a long, gold necklace (or two) by BB Lila Jewelry, a stacked arm of bracelets by Erimish and a statement ring or earring from a Give-back Brand like BelJoy HaitiHR: What advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? 

MHK: BE your brand when it comes to customer service. There are hundreds upon thousands of emerging brands out there and some of their stuff is likely cuter/better/trendier than yours. Set yourself apart by being kind and honest. If you are unable to accommodate a customer’s request, tell them. Always offer a solution and remember “no” is never an acceptable answer. Mind your manners and always treat others the way you would require being treated before you give that five-star rating on Trip Advisor. YOU should be what sets your brand apart. Anyone can make a handbag but I want to be the reason that they prefer to continue buying mine.

HR: What’s next for Klutch? Are there plans to expand the brand? 

MHK: At this moment we are happy to keep doing what we’re doing in the lower 48. We are beginning to see a following in the UK and UAE so there is always potential to take the #travelingklutch across the pond! 

Check out the Klutch collections {here} and connect with Klutch on Facebook, Twitter, IG and Pinterest.

Reasons to Invest in Chanel + My Fab Finds at Fashionphile!

The Makings of an Investment BagY’all already know how much I love Fashionphile, the leading online reseller of pre-owned vintage, rare, and limited edition handbags from the most coveted luxury designers. It was founded by Sarah Davis, whose revolutionary vision of a safe and easy shopping destination for the buying and selling of luxury handbags, has enabled thousands to reclaim designer bags and accessories at exceptional value. If you’re looking for fabulous bag worth investing in, Chanel is one of the top brands because their styles stay hot for so long. Even bags that came out over 20 years ago are still in high demand today. What makes it such a key investment is that the retail prices increase every year or two. Check out the diagram of cost increases of a Chanel Jumbo Flap just in the past ten years. Keep in mind that classic styles, colors and silhouettes yield the highest resale value. Below are my fab finds at Fashionphile that are totally worth the investment.

Chanel at Fashionphile
Visit Fashionphile.com to view the entire selection of Chanel and other designer handbags and accessories.

Shop the Limited Edition FEED + Faribault Collection

FEED + Faribault ToteFEED recently introduced a limited-edition collection by Faribault Woolen Mill, woven and sewn entirely in Minnesota’s lake country.  Renowned for their emphasis on quality, Faribault has remained at the forefront of American craftsmanship for more than 150 years.  Each product is made from the heritage mill’s signature wool, in a camouflage inspired by Faribault’s long history of creating army blankets, and provides meals for Americans in need.

The FEED + Faribault Tote (Price: $350)provides 300 meals in America and the FEED + Faribault Crossbody (Price: $275) provides 200 meals in America.  Each bag is made of 85% wool and 15% cotton, and features include hand- stained, leather detailing, copper rivets, army grade military webbing and an interior pocket.  Shop the limited edition collection at feedproject.com.