Starting out as a fashion stylist in New York City, Laura Dotolo has always found Manhattan to be the perfect canvas on which to create. Her experience styling for clients like Elle, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue has been the backbone of her starting Clutch Made Factory, where designing, developing and manufacturing has been a natural extension of her 30 year design career. As well as helping clients tailor and develop their own accessories in the USA, Laura has a line of handbags sold at Clutch Bags Dot Com. Using her own factory to design, produce and manufacture her accessories, we sit down with the maker to discuss making in the USA and more!
What started your business journey with Clutch NY?
The journey with Clutch NY started with a fold up market bag idea— recyclable market bag—and it took off. This was in 1997-98. From there it was a url that was secured: clutchbags.com and then handbag conceptualization based on utilitarian bags; the mailbags, the lunch bag, the coin bag, the feed bag, the pencil bag….and it just went on from there.
Why was Clutch Made Factory a great place to start your product development?
Tell us what it's like being a #girlboss designer on the daily...
Girl Boss anything is more work because you are still a girl boss in a boy boss world. Being a girl boss, then doing all of what it is in New York City is like girl boss on steroids x 100!! Keeping a business moving in the heart of New York City is a very big undertaking….every day.
Tell us what your experience with Clutch Made Factory has been like...
The experience with Clutch Made has been great---the accessibility of making now has just opened up so much to us—we can make anything! And in the usa!!!
Why was it important for your brand to be American made?
Clutch NY was created to be made in the USA—that was the reason to make the collection and make accessories—to bring making back to the US. It felt like a mission----and now a mission accomplished.
What sets your products apart in the world of American made accessories?
Our products have great clean design, simplicity and nice function. They are also all made and finished very well---we only work with the best artisans in the USA and some of the best hardware and materials/leather.
If you could give one piece of advice to emerging designers what would it be?
Piece of advice: stay focused on your brand-keep your product design simple
Thank you Laura Dotolo for chatting with us this week for our latest Meet The Makers interview. If you'd like to learn more about our services at Clutch Made you can head here.