If you could turn your passion into a career, would you take a leap of faith to make it happen? That’s exactly what Cortnie Elizabeth, the brains and beauty behind the Love, Cortnie handbag company did when she decided to leave the worlds of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy for a fashion career. After earning a B.S in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland, College Park, Cortnie packed her bags and headed to Los Angeles, Calif., to attended one of the most coveted schools in the fashion industry, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM). Fast-forward to now and she is designing drool-worthy handmade bags and accessories with luxe textures and patterns and is fully immersed in the world of entrepreneurship.
I snagged an interview with this refreshingly talented businesswoman and she shared amazing tips on turning your dream into your career, what inspires her amazing Love, Cortnie designs and more. Prepare to get your life!
What inspired you to start Love, Cortnie?
I could never really find an oversized clutch in stores or online. They were all really small and really boring. Solid black, satin or just big enough to carry your phone, credit card and lipstick if you’re lucky. I wanted a clutch that was large in size so I could carry almost anything I wanted, was brightly colored or had a fun print and was just as fun on the inside. So I started making them myself. What started off as a hobby eventually turned into a business.
Your grandmother taught you how to sew. How was this learning process and why did you seek her out as your teacher?
Why wouldn’t I? I grew up watching her sew all the time. She can make her own clothes, she’s made clothes for me when I was younger, she can reupholster furniture, make drapes…you name it, she can do it. Of course, I would want someone like that to teach me. And it meant a lot to me that it be her. It was something we both enjoyed.
You’re not one to shy away from different patterns and textures in your designs, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Everywhere! Outside, a magazine, something I saw on TV or online, current or past trends, color combos; inspiration is everywhere.
What advice do you have for people who may be in limbo about pursuing their passion as a career path?
You really just have to go for it. No one is going to do it for you and you definitely don’t want that ‘What if?” down the road. There is no other alternative. You won’t know how successful you could be at something unless you try, right?
What’s the best advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
To be yourself and not to let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.
Do you have any designers that you look up to or admire? If so, who?
I always found it extremely interesting and inspiring that Tory Burch started her brand in her kitchen. Love,Cortnie started in my grandmother’s kitchen. To see her start out with shoes and expand into bags, clothing and accessories is encouraging. I also love how Tracy Reese designs such unique pieces. She remained true to herself and designs what she loves.
What can we expect from Love, Cortnie? Any exciting launches or news to share?
Well the Fall/Winter’15 collection just launched about a month ago. It’s probably the collection that has me the most excited since I started. New pieces and new designs. I have a few favorites.
Don’t you just love Cortnie’s belief in herself and her fab creativity? She’s definitely an inspiration and living proof that chasing your passion is the way to go! Be sure to get your shop on for these gorgeous handmade bags at LoveCortnie.com. ( I ordered the Cool Cat Statement Clutch and trust me you’ll be seeing it on the blog!)