Have you jumped on the repurposed item bandwagon lately? Repurposed items started to be a hit during the pandemic when people began taking portions of worn out, designer bags and making hats, key chains, and small leather good with them. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Cathy who makes the most gorgeous repurposed items. I had an older Louis Vuitton tote bag that I was ready to donate or sell and then Cathy came into play and totally re-made my tote. It looks like a brand new bag.
I posted the finished product on my insta story and I received soooo many questions and messages about the bag that I decided to interview Cathy so my readers could learn more about her and what she does.
- Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into being a designer.
Most little girls like to play with barbies and dolls, I just liked dressing them! The only “playing” I did was having fashion runway shows.
In middle school, I actually asked my mom to buy me a retail round clothing rack, so I could hang my clothes on it, color-coded, of course, and display my outfits for the upcoming school week!
During high school and college, I applied/was hired to work at a local boutique and over the years, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to NYC and attend the Buyers’ Fashion Events a few times a year. I loved seeing the upcoming season’s trend, ordering pieces for the store and best of all, Creating Window displays and merchandising the store when our new pieces arrived.
I planned to attend FIT in NYC for college, however, both of my parents strongly encouraged me to first pursue a business degree to broaden my career options. I remember my dad saying“just in case you change your mind about working in the fashion/retail world”…
I attended Boston College, but after one semester of accounting and spreadsheets, I quickly discovered the business world was NOT for me!
My education lead me to a different career path and I love the field that I am in, …….
For so many years I’ve filled my designer/merchandising needs by shopping (my favorite hobby!) and finding amazing pieces on the sale/clearance racks, being a personal stylist for some of my friends
Past Ten years-working with a close friend (and mentor!) Jessica Damon, owner of my Sister’s Closet in Stoneham .
Yep years ago, it was Jess who encouraged and supported me to take the leap of faith two years and put some of my pieces in her store to see what happens…
She promoted our business and really became my mentor…
Have learned so much about owning a small business, importance of customer service/relationships, professionalism, etc….
Through Jess’ customers/Word of mouth-I was referred to Karen @the Beauty cafe….another kick-butt girl boss!
Now, almost 3 years later, ClaudieRe pieces are in 7 local boutiques and most recently, we started to collaborate with 2 boutiques in the south.
In June-we finally hit the 1000 followers milestone …may seem like nothing to many, but to us-it was huge! Hopefully it won’t take as long for us to hit the next 1000 milestone!
My beautiful, wonderful and tech savvy daughter Claudia created our website, but insists that her mama learns how to navigate our site and upload all of our products-still a work in progress!!!
- How1 did you come up with the name for your business?
My two daughters- Claudia (Claudie) and Audrey (Re)
Inspired by my two fashionista daughters, Claudia (Claudie) & Audrey (Re) who LOVE to shop and have always asked “Mama, can you make this for me?”
Became somewhat of a game as of late whenever we are Shopping together…
They find the most intricate pieces in the stores and ask “mom, can you make this for me?”
- What do you like best about being a designer?
Seeing people wearing one of my pieces…having followers send me pics wearing something they purchased!
- Who is your favorite style icon and why?
Carrie Bradshaw! No doubt!!!!
Also Coco Chanel- classy and fabulous!
- Describe your own personal style.
Casual, comfort, fabric “feel” test
When I’m shopping, my “sense of touch” comes alive…. I walk the aisles or browse the racks, with my fingers! They can feel expensive, high end pieces before my eyes even have a chance read the label!
Basics Blacks/neutrals but pops of color-accent pieces…
Relaxed fit jeans, tees and blazers
Simple, classic- Slip dresses…. My FAV!
Shoes, shoes, shoes…. I’m a shoe addict!
- Do you ever get hit by creative design block, and if you do, how do you get past it?
10 minute rule
- Explain what altered and repurposed fashion is.
our brand and our pieces is about “altering”-
Using items (most often damaged, waste, packaging, etc…. And then altering these items from the original state…
The brand “supplied the fabric, leather, etc…” but we Deconstruct (literally) the original garment/piece and create something totally new
We fully disclose nor suggest that we have an affiliation or sponsorship with the brand owners…or infringe on the brand’s integrity.
Clearly stating “Altering” eliminates confusion for our followers and customers.
Our best selling pieces are our totes and patchwork crossbody bags, which are made using actual dust bags- and re-using the fabric to make our totes/bags….
I mean- what do most people do with the dustbags that come with the shoes, handbags, etc…. Sadly, either throw them away or leave them in the boxes….
- Name 5 trends you are loving for Fall 2021.
Seeing on all runways….
Cable knit anything! Sweaters, dresses, pants, sets, vests
Tailored Pieces paired with oversized vests and blazers
Faux fur, fringe and leather!
Vibrant Color- think of a crayon box!
- Why do you think people should repurpose their bags instead of immediately look to sell them?
So many DMs from followers telling us they have a bag-haven’t used in years, broken strap, handed down by someone special, etc…. Special meaning, gift, given by someone special…
Not worth much/anything in “monetary” value, but priceless to them….
One of our followers asked if we could “do something” with a speedy bag that her mom gave her years ago when she graduated from college…
We chatted and she shared that she had daughters, nieces and nephews… I knew just what to do with the bag-
Made ornaments, keychains, money clips- so that each of them would have a little piece of their grandmother with them always!
- Are you finding it difficult to stay on trends since COVID has hit?
Not at all…. Actually. With Social media-online shopping!
- What is the one trend you would never wear and why?
This season catsuits are on trend… no explanation needed! Wouldn’t wear one even if I was dressing up as a cat for Halloween!
- What would be your ultimate fashion purchase?
Chanel suit-pants/blazer! (With a pair of Chanel heels or boots-of course)
13. Tell us how readers can contact you