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The Guide to a Handbag Designer’s USA Manufacturing Timeline

Scenario: Let’s begin by assuming you are a handbag design and are in need of a “handbag designer’s USA manufacturing timeline.” You are manufacturing from a good sample that is properly sourced with readily available raw materials. All you have to do is manufacture, right? Let’s leave steps 1 and 2 for another post and jump right into manufacturing!

The “how many and when?” question is at the heart of the manufacturing process. After working for  seasoned clients, with years of productions under their belt, I’ve learned it’s really about “Just In Time “ logistics. The idea that you can deliver your product to the consumer “just in time” before you have to pay for it is really the best way to structure the inventory supply for your business. This strategy does require some experience and an ability to predict demand. Keep in mind that it can be less expensive to make a product at certain times of the year due to factories’ seasonal demands.

Now that you have a saucy mix of decisions, here are some of the more basic considerations. Let’s use handbag manufacturing as an example:

1. Make sure your factory has reviewed your sample and given you a written quote on production and delivery time frames.

Have all materials on hand at the factory on the agreed upon start date. It’s easy to over look that last piece of hardware but don’t do it! When you have a missing piece of hardware discovered at the last minute and your lead time for getting it from Italy or China is 3 weeks you now have lost your spot in the factory’s production schedule; not to mention you have a very unhappy factory who is a lot less likely to give you a good quote the next time they see you walk in the door.

2. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! Inspect factory work at key times in the process.

Does the handbag have the lining sewn in properly just like your sample? If the lining is not being done correctly you have to catch that before they put the rest of the bag together or you have to rip it apart to fix it. This can put you at risk having to purchase more raw materials in the process which changes overall costs and timeframes. Your acceptance and final payment upon delivery from the factory is binding, so be sure the product conforms to the agreed upon sample or you’re on the hook!

3. Deliver your finished product to the client.

It should be packaged, insured, and shipped in an agreed upon fashion. C.O.D. being the watchword for all but your most trusted clients. Make sure you know when your client really needs to receive the product and ensure you under promise and over deliver. You don’t want product that needs to be received for a trunk show or Holiday event showing up late. You won’t get a lot of repeat orders that way. The key to profitable manufacturing is repeat business.

For new brands and aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to test out a new product, the considerations are different. Here I always recommend much more extensive product development and market testing as well as small batch manufacturing. We work with startups on branding and a proper online presence, as consumers want to see the brand’s “story” and message online.

It is exciting to see new ideas come to market. As a Made in USA manufacturer, I am proud to be part of a new wave of American designers bringing back manufacturing to the USA. Made in USA really does mean quality. We hope all the aspiring entrepreneurs out there are able to make the dream of quality Made in USA products a reality.

We are hiring at Clutch Made.

Laura Dotolo is the Principal of Clutch Made ( based in Manhattan’s garment district. Ms. Dotolo is a Manhattan factory owner as well as a long time designer and stylist for the world’s finest brands. Laura helps brands large and small develop, sample and manufacture accessories in the USA.

Clutch Made Introduces: BLK BLU NYC

Clutch Made introduces BLK BLU NYC, our newly launched accessories brand made right here in the heart of NYC!  Blk and Blu is the perfect amalgamation of impeccable luxury and perfect craftsmanship. Untethered by the industry status quo, their brand is proudly made in New York City.


BLK BLU’s beanie in web production!

Drawing inspiration from European aesthetics, Blk and Blu‘s products are built to meet the high standards of creative individuals looking to find monochrome luxury in the most edgy style. Partnered with Clutch Made for manufacturing, design and branding support, they opened up to us regarding how they plan on bringing edgy style back to luxe. Read along!


BLK BLU Leather Belt Bag

Clutch Made: Tell us a little about the brand.
BLK BLU NYC: BLK BLU NYC is an accessories-based brand with a focus on leather. Our style and attitude are influenced by NYC street fashion. The same city where all our pieces are designed and manufactured. Our foundation is luxury-inspired leather goods at an attainable price.



BLK BLU Laser Cut Bowtie

Clutch Made: What inspired you to start an accessories label, which represents luxury in such a sexy and edgy way?
BLK BLU NYC: Our accessory company stemmed from our interest in pieces that we were unable to find, or afford. As we began reviewing pieces we all wanted, it became clear there was a market for this.



BLK BLU Beanie

Clutch Made: How has the support and services provided by Clutch Made been for you?
BLK BLU NYC: Before we began working with Clutch Made, much of our brand was in a concept phase. Clutch Made was able to help us turn ideas into reality. We are very grateful.




Clutch Made: If you had to define your brand in three words, what would they be?
BLK BLU NYC: Edgy, Luxe, Uncommon



BLK BLU Collar

Clutch Made: If you had to dress one celebrity with the product line of Black and Blu which one would it be?
BLK BLU NYC: We are very inspired by NYC street fashion, so…. Jared Leto, Cara Delevingne, Pharrell, Diane Kruger, we couldn’t pick just one!



BLK BLU Hair Cuff

Clutch Made: Just on the verge of commencement, how do you feel about introducing a made in NYC accessories label in the current crazy scene of Fashion?
BLK BLU NYC: One of our original core ideals was to have everything (fabrics, production, models, etc) all be NYC based. Not only is it important that our pieces are Made in America, but specifically NYC. We love the energy of the city, and are excited to become part of its fashion scene.




Clutch Made: Where do you see Black and Blu in the next 5 years?
BLK BLU NYC: Ruling the world! Haha. We are really looking forward to some more edgy future ad campaigns. And also, slowly adding product categories like apparel, footwear, etc.

There you have it-BLK BLU NYC bringing leather accessories to life reflexive of the edgy aesthetic of urban living!

Accessories Rule!

A new fashion season means a sea of new trends. With the increment of the number of fashion shows and locations that took place during fashion week, we all are confused and lost in the endless maze of the fashion industry.

Taken from Clueless (film)

Clueless (film)

After reaching a point of saturation and frustration, the past two seasons made a lot of firm fashion followers turn to a different direction. Unbothered by the current trends, people started following THEIR OWN INSTICNTS AND PRINCIPLES. This is turning out to be one of the biggest revolutions in the fashion industry, birthing a new breed of individuals who genuinely reflect their own style and take on fashion.

This new breed has definitely come to the biggest realization that accessories have taken over the apparel industry. With some of the trendiest fashion bloggers like Chiara Ferragani blogging more about her favorite sunglasses versus her favorite dresses, she is confirming the strongest and most convincing message: ACCESSORIES ARE THE NEW IT THING!

The luxury market as well is leaping to a massive shift in the concentration of accessories in comparison to apparel, the biggest proof coming from luxury brands like Chanel, Moschino, Stella McCartney and Celine. In the last twenty years, accessories were an extra addition or sidekick to ready-to-wear. Whereas now, people dress according to their accessories; the consumer’s ready-to-wear has become the canvas of style on which one can paint or draw something new every day with your interchangeable, diverse and stylish accessories.

Céline Fashion Week Fall 2015

There will always be that statement little black dress from Chanel or Yves Saint Laurent, but there are also 30 other statement accessories that are way more versatile with the same figures on the price tag.

Fashion Week Fall 2015: Prada Broach

Quit buying new clothes for different occasions; learn how to style the clothes differently with a new selection of accessories. Let accessories be the statement to your wardrobing style and watch to see how many more compliments you fetch!

And while you’re at it, add this one to your list of must-have accessories made right here in New York City: BLK BLU NYC!

We are hiring at Clutch Made NYC!


Clutch Made We Are Hiring

Clutch Made is a design and manufacturing services platform for individuals and brands looking to source and produce in the USA. A large portion of our manufacturing consists of every types of accessory. We are looking for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and a can do attitude. Clutch Made is in the business of making our clients dreams come true and we want our newest team member to help us do that with love and passion.
We are currently looking  for talented and young individuals in the field of Product development and Marketing!

Skills Required: Good verbal and written communication skills, excellent organizational skills, knowledge of studio software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Excel, Word & Social Media), and ability to meet deadlines in a high-energy environment. Creative yet meticulous attention to detail is a most! Problem-solving skills are a really good thing to have.

What you will learn:

Product development

o Provide Clutch Made clients with the best sourcing options for their needs and budgets.
o Research the market in which the product will be sold to find product trends and try to gain a competitive edge on other designs.
o Source and curate all initial materials for projects and propose options to management.
o Consult with factories to create prototypes and translate sketches into working spec sheets and tech packs to create samples.
o Gather costing data to estimate production costs and update costing sheets on Excel.
o Work with factories and suppliers to ensure the final samples are the best version of the client’s vision.
o Ship samples to clients. Track shipments and create packing slips.
o Take photos of projects and processes for social media handles.
we are hiring at clutch made
o Efficient and timely production of goods at the factory and the shipping/delivery of those goods to the client.
o Implement the production schedule, reviewing and adjusting it when necessary while at the same updating management team about changes.
o Manage all the human and material resources necessary for manufacturing and deliver them to factories.
o Inspect factories, suppliers and vendors to maintain quality control and consistency of procedures to Clutch Made standards.
o Update production calendar and project management software.
o Develop efficient collaboration and co-ordination between relevant sources for production completion, including mills, printers, factories and management.
We are hiring at Clutch Made.
If you think you are a perfect fit for this job send us your resume at
Please only apply if you feel you have the required skills.
We look forward to hearing from qualified candidates!

Best Fall Trends for Handbags in New York!

With every season that comes and goes, we get more and more convinced that the accessories market is booming and conquering the entire fashion industry. While trends fluctuate and change your wardrobe every season, statement accessories continue to make a splash. Making a good investment in an accessory, such as a handbag, makes more sense than buying  apparel at the same price.  Be reminded that apparel withers, goes out of fashion and becomes useless faster than a subway ride from the Bronx to Wall Street.

After careful consideration, we narrowed down the best fall trends for handbags for a perfect New Yorkite!

LV Bag

Louis Vuitton Miniature Box Bag

Miniature box bags– Box bags have always been a hit for girls in New York! It’s the perfect bag to rock the never-ending nightlife of the city. Apart from the style, the bag is feasible with its size and structure, making it an all time favorite.

Two Toned Celine Tote

Two Toned Celine Tote

Two-tone totes: Fall tends to get very monochrome in NYC because of the dull weather. With the new trend of two-toned bags, you add some versatility and some color to your style and wardrobe.

Stella McCartney Foldover Clutch

Stella McCartney Foldover Clutch

Foldable bags: The laid back bags look like every kids brown paper lunch bags. After an army of structured and perfect bags for the workingwomen of New York, an easy and foldable bag will definitely be seen worn by some Soho girls.

Narciso Rodriguez Structured clutch

Narciso Rodriguez Structured clutch

Structured bags: Continuing their reigns from the last seasons, structured and symmetrical bags are very much still in. For every businesswoman and aspiring girl boss, these bags are  perfect as they help you organize your super busy lifestyle with multiple pockets and structured shapes.

Sonia Rykiel Oversized Coin Purse

Sonia Rykiel Oversized Coin Purse

Over sized coin purse bags: Who doesn’t like a small little cute coin purse? Reflecting the evergreen and iconic style of Jackie Kennedy, over sized coin purses are for the shy yet fun girl in New York!

Chloe Fringed Bag

Chloe Fringed Bag

Fringed bags: Fringes equate to Boho chic which is a very summer trend. Incorporating fringes in dark fall colors and fabrics is a total win. The bag will continuously remind you of the beautiful summer that New York offers and will keep you motivated to bear the horrible cold of the city!

Tell us which is your favorite @ clutch made fb page

Manufacturing in USA is Hot!

IMG_7398 IMG_8268

“Made in USA” may not be one of the most common labels you will find on apparel or your leather products, but there soon might be a change. Yes, manufacturing in America is the new “IT” thing and manufacturing in USA is HOT!  Of course we know that the cost of production is way cheaper manufacturing in the east than the west, but certain other factors have come into the limelight which have made American companies revert back to their original roots to manufacture in America.


CHANGE in the Manufacturing temperature:

Every season, fast fashion labels try to spice their image up and make themselves more exclusive to a point that everyone is doing the same thing.  The recent “Masstige” concept is a perfect example of this:” Masstige” is a marketing term meaning downward brand extension. Initially H&M started doing collaborations with luxury brands like Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang and now Balmain, to a point that every fast fashion label is coming up with new collaborations every new season. The whole point behind “Masstige” was to make luxury brands accessible to every consumer. But by doing this, the main essence of luxury has become completely lost, to a point that big chunks of consumers have reached the point of saturation with fast fashion. This consumer NOW demands quality goods that are detail oriented which is mainly delivered by products manufactured in a closer proximity to its customer. Brands manufacturing in America are more connected to their clientele, which means brands manufacturing their products thousands of miles are losing their consumer market. By giving more attention to the product, fashion brands from America are developing a concrete base for their clientele by producing in USA.

Manufacturing in USA

Manufacturing handbags in USA


Manufacturing in the USA has also put certain dying trends back into the limelight like specialized knitting, lace making, sock manufacturing which is giving consumers more scope to experiencing their product rather than just using them.  Production in America is also changing the dynamics of the fashion industry as a whole.  By producing products in the same country, production is able to focus on the details, making aspects of personalization and customization more attainable.  This in turn makes bespoke a more common concept amongst every American.


One of the biggest and best examples in proving how strong the concept of Manufacturing in America has become is the fashion label American Apparel. Here’s why they believe in producing in America: “We believe that having manufacturing under the same roof as design, marketing, accounting, retail and distribution gives us the ability to quickly mobilize all departments, to respond directly to changes in the market, and to have complete visibility over our product – start to finish. An added bonus – this business model is inherently sustainable”.


Manufacturing in America is not only an efficient method for American companies, but also for the environment. Vertical integration by definition shrinks a company’s carbon footprint, as the materials are not shipped back and forth internationally, across thousands of miles, in the production process.

manufacturing in usa

Manufacturing in USA is hot!

Products made in America, in contrast, are made by highly skilled workers, which are considered as friends and family. 

When you buy a product made in America, a smaller portion of the margins goes towards fuel, trans-ocean container ships, middlemen, boxes, pallets and entropy. Instead that money goes on paying living wages to workers, higher-quality materials for products, and investing in the brighter future of a company.


In short, Manufacturing in America means heightened efficiency, a better and more consistent quality of work, stronger employee morale, and ultimately, retention rates of skilled operators.

Why is NEW YORK the best city to work in!

We as a manufacturing business were born and bred in the heart of the concrete jungle, NYC. Working here for almost a gazillion years, you don’t realize the importance of the city until you sit down to have dinner with a bunch of your friends who work all around the world.  These international friends still seem to envy your lifestyle  in this amazing metropolis.  After many brief discussions with these friends,  I decided to come up with a short list  of things that happen only in New York City and which no other city has to offer. Check out my list here:

Inspired by the lifestyle of New York, our latest campaign for Clutch Bags.

Inspired by the lifestyle of New York, our latest campaign for Clutch Bags.

Diversity – New York is a melting pot of all kinds of cultures, races and people. Take a stroll around Central Park; it’s like a fun presentation of all the amazingly diverse ethnicities that reside in New York. Every part of the city has something different to offer, from the amazing Indian/Pakistani food markets in Queens, to the Greek Restaurants in Astoria, this city is a home to all.

Inspired by the lifestyle of New York, our latest campaign for Clutch Bags.

Inspired by the lifestyle of New York, our latest campaign for Clutch Bags.

Lifestyle – New York presents lifestyle opportunities to you that no other city can offer. From going to laundromats, to running for your busy morning subways, this city  makes you TOUGH, INDEPENDENT AND STREET SMART. Once you learn to live in this amazingly fast paced lifestyle, you can easily fit and adjust to any other regime that the world has to offer.

Inspired by the lifestyle of New York, our latest campaign for Clutch Bags.

Inspired by the lifestyle of New York, our latest campaign for Clutch Bags.

24*7 –The city has a lot to offer in the day but it also has  the same amount of activities to offer in the night.  Such is this wonderful city of New York! ‘The city that never sleeps’ functions 24*7 with full capacity. From the public transport to a chain of local restaurants, this city truly never lets you fall asleep.

Clutch Made We Are Hiring

Now that we have convinced you how amazing it is to live in New York, come work with us at Clutch Made and make this beautifully versatile city your home. We are looking for young and talented individuals in the field of Product Development and Marketing with the following requirements:
Good verbal and written communication skills, excellent organizational skills, knowledge of studio software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Excel, Word & Social Media), ability to meet deadlines in a high-energy environment. Creative yet meticulous attention to detail. Problem-solving skills.

If you think you are a perfect fit to the above mentioned skills, send us your cvs at and let your deam come true!

Clutch Made Client Aurelia Garza talks about Manufacturing in America!

Linking her namesake and heritage with a passion

for travel and art, 

Aurelia Garza breathes a balance of feminine strength

and architectural grace into her handbag designs.

Aurelia Garza for Clutch Made

Having been inspired by her travels in Europe, Aurelia moved to New York City to focus her interests on interior design.  Aurelia’s experience in interior design lends itself as the perfect foundation for her to meld modern chic style with classic sensible taste.

Participating in a trunk show this weekend in Texas, Aurelia Garza opens up to Clutch Made about her journey so far as a hand bag designer.

Aurelia Garza for Clutch Made

Clutch Made: A balance of feminine strength and architectural grace, tell us a little more about Aurelia Garza?
Aurelia Garza: The brand mission is to design bags women will love and wear day and night over and over again. To design bags that will become women’s  go-to bag for them to take anywhere they go, whether they are shopping, working, running errands or having fun.   Aurelia Garza bags are designed and styled to always help women look presentable and polished.

Aurelia Garza for Clutch Made

Clutch Made: How does Aurelia Garza as a brand stand out from  other American based brands?
Aurelia Garza: The spirit of the brand is to offer an accessory that adapts to all life style situations, to be prepared  for any event while looking your best.  I haven’t seen that kind of spirit in any American brand thus far.
Aurelia Garza

Clutch Made: How are you trying to incorporate the European aesthetics in a locally made in NYC brand?
Aurelia Garza: Europe is timeless, it never goes out of style and we want the same in our bags, to be timeless, elegant and classical but with the  unstoppable energy of New York.  New York women are always on the go, they never seem to stop. They go from work, to running errands and then to dinner with friends.  We want to create bags fit for the lifestyle of those women.  The women that never stop,  just like New York City!

Clutch Made: How has the experience using the services of styling, photographing and manufacturing with Clutch Made been?
Aurelia Garza: I am a new designer and Clutch Made has made the process of bringing my designs into a reality quite easy. They have been very helpful and working with them has been a real learning experience.

Clutch Made branding and Styling for Aurelia Garza

Clutch Made: What is the strong belief behind the ideology of manufacturing in USA?
Aurelia Garza: The idea behind manufacturing in the U.S. is to support local economy and create more jobs. Also when you live close to where the manufacturing of your product is happening, there is more quality control and easier communication between the designer and the manufacturer. If anything goes wrong it can be fixed faster and the lead time becomes shorter. Plus we are proud to say our product is made here in the states and nowhere else!
Aurelia Garza for Clutch Made

Clutch Made: Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?
Aurelia Garza: In 5 years I see the Aurelia Garza brand in department stores across the U.S.

Being a Product Developer at Clutch Made USA

Generally understated, a product developer plays a very crucial role when you just start building your business. From the small details of the aesthetics behind design to the factors that go into manufacturing, a product developer does it all.  When you think of it, product development is one of the most rudimentarily essential professions, which ends up leading to other necessary jobs in the fields of designing and marketing. After all the efforts put into developing or let’s say planting the sapling for it to grow into a successful product line, the job of a product developer does not end there. It gets even more interesting with the continuous introduction of methods of keeping your product line one of a kind to attract a bigger clientele.

Our resident product developer at Clutch Made, Mariela Ferrer, has been developing a capsule collection of Tees and Totes inspired by different elements of society, fashion and politics.  The latest collection is inspired by the candidacy of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President.  The product developing process of  “Speak it Tees and Totes” made us realize how much creativity goes into the making of product, designing it, working with factories to spec it and then branding and marketing it.

Hillary Tees

A student at Parsons, Mariela spoke to us about her journey so far.

“Being a Product developer is always an interesting process of designing, creating and marketing new products or services to benefit customers, a learning journey and a fun experience. Being part of Clutch Made team and developing a new product has been an exciting and  educational process. I had the opportunity to branch out into the apparel industry and  received an introduction to America’s political scene. The best part of being a product developer is the journey. Taking an abstract idea and bringing it to life is an accelerating and rewarding task.”


#Speak it is a platform that enables people to express themselves, their beliefs and opinions thru t-shirts and totes.  Finally, there is clothing and accessories in the market place that can speak it; products  made for the people by the people. Check us out at



We hope you enjoy our products as much as we enjoy making them for you!   Give us a heads up at and remember to follow us on Instagram: speakitteesandtotes


Mariela Ferrer

Mariela Ferrer


Mariela Ferrer has been our resident product developer on loan from the Parson’s Master’s Program for Product Development and Management.  She has spent most of the summer months developing all the product and branding for #Speak It t-shirts and totes.  Please let us know your thoughts on the products!

Try us at:

Keep it Clutch and remember to #SPEAKIT



Clutch Made Client: Shana Luther talks about Manufacturing in USA

Proudly made in the USA, our current client is Brooklyn-based designer Shana Luther.  Shana creates American made  handbags that display her love of classically modern styling.

Shana got her start in 1999, when she graduated from Pratt Institute and began designing her own bags under the label SML Bags. A one-woman show, she was involved in all aspects of the creative process—from sketches to final sewing of her leather and fabric bags.

By 2012, Shana longed to design bags that went beyond what she could produce on her own. Inspired by her belief in self-reliance, she re-launched the label as Shana Luther Handbags, continuing to showcase her signature designs. Soon after the bags’ debut, numerous fashion magazines and blogs, such as Teen Vogue and The Pursuit of Style, featured the label, with Shana Luther Handbags becoming a finalist in Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards in 2013. In addition to that, Shana was chosen by American Express to participate in their OPEN Rising Stars of Fashion competition at Magic Market Week in Las Vegas in August 2014.

Shana Luther Interview for Clutch Made

Clutch Made: Modern, clean design made with a luxurious touch, tell us a little more about your brand. 
Shana Luther: My line focuses on quality, American made, contemporary leather bags.  I love trends as much as the next woman but my bags are designed to carry season after season with original shapes and clean design. I don’t skimp on materials and I love taking my customers into the production process with behind the scenes photos. I believe you should #knowyourbag!

Clutch Made: Manufacturing in Brooklyn, how has the journey been so far in the American market in terms of acceptance.
Shana Luther: It was never an option for me to produce overseas. I’m such a stickler for quality control that having some factory 7,000 miles away make my designs just made no sense. When I began the line in early ’12, there definitely was a market for American made goods but not as strong as it is today. Consumers are becoming more aware of Made in the USA and it’s become a factor in their purchasing decisions. Almost all of my customers applaud the American made aspect of my products.

Clutch Made: How has your collaboration with clutch made been so far?
Shana Luther: From the moment I met Laura Dotolo, I knew we would hit it off. She’s totally straightforward, honest and funny- my kind of woman.  Laura knows her way around a handbag (no surprise considering her own beautiful line of leather goods) so I felt totally comfortable and at ease working with her and her talented team.

Shana Luther Interview for Clutch Made

Clutch Made: With the rise of fast fashion, people are lacking in their taste for quality and good craftsmanship in products. Considering how well crafted your products are, how would you elaborate on the importance of skilled labor in this timeframe?
Shana Luther: Look, there’s always going to be a market for $5 jogging shorts- even I’m guilty of that on the rare occasion. Not everyone can afford a $400 leather handbag and I understand that. On the flip side, those who care about quality made goods aren’t going anywhere and I don’t think their beliefs will dwindle anytime soon just because they can get a knock-off vinyl bag in Chinatown. For American made designers, it’s important for us to stand by our brand and keep supporting our domestic manufacturers.

Clutch Made: Who is your ideal clientele? If you had to pick one celebrity to endorse your brand, who would it be and why?
Shana Luther: My brand is for everyone and having customers from age 23-65 only proves that. I don’t really have an ideal client. What’s ideal for me is having happy customers. In my mind, that’s all that matters. Ideal celebrity- I’m torn between Solange and Michelle Williams. Strong, smart, modern, very independent women who I admire and would love to see rocking a Shana Luther bag!

Clutch Made: Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years, do you plan to expand to other markets?
Shana Luther: Right now I’m happy being in the women’s American made market. I see myself doing the same thing but on a broader scale, with more stocklists, more styles, and more fans of Shana Luther Handbags.

Shana Luther for Clutch Made