Sometimes our best ideas appear at the weirdest times. For Raleigh designer Jenny Ross, her a-ha moment came in the wee hours of the night.
At the time, she was running a monogramming business and received an acrylic monogram necklace for Christmas. She noticed her nieces receiving purses with similarly-sized brand emblems on their exterior.
“So in January of 2012, I woke up my husband in the middle of the night and said, ‘Why can’t the purse logo be your monogram, or your brand?’ ” she says.
That year, she founded Grateful Bags (gratefulbags.com). The company makes handbags with a patented removable acrylic monogram system that allows the wearer to personalize their look and coordinate with a rainbow of hues.
“Because the Grateful concept is patented, there isn’t anything else like it,” Ross says. “Women love to customize their own initials with different fonts and colors. They personalize it and make it their own. And it’s ageless – our customers are truly high schoolers to grandmothers.”
Though she doesn’t have a background in fashion, Ross designs all the bags herself. She looks to fashion trends, and gleans insight from a mentor in New York City, to inform her design process.
One of the company’s biggest hits has been the Izzy cross body. The bag was designed to comply with NFL stadium bag size restrictions – guidelines also being adopted by a number of NCAA teams – and allows the wearer to add their team colors for game day.
As her company has grown, Ross has adopted a mission in line with the business’ name. Grateful partners with nonprofits such as Zoe, which assists orphans and vulnerable children in African countries, helping them overcome poverty and become self-reliant. For Ross, a sense of gratitude begets a desire to be a blessing in the lives of others.
“The verse Luke 12:48 has a lot of meaning for me, and for Grateful,” Ross says. “It is: ‘For those to whom much is given, much will be required.’ Giving back is our ongoing responsibility and commitment.”
The latest looks for fall and winter from Worth New York will be at Hunt and Gather in Raleigh for a sample sale, Nov. 27-Dec. 3. Shoppers can enjoy 40 percent off items during the event. Hours are by appointment only, Nov. 27-29, then 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Nov. 30-Dec. 2 and noon-3 p.m. on Dec. 3. Call 919-605-1062 to schedule an appointment.
Belk Supports Habitat for Humanity
Belk partners with Habitat for Humanity this holiday season to build a home for a family in need. Through Dec. 16, shoppers can donate to the nonprofit. For every store that raises $1,000, Belk will match that donation to go to the cost of the home build. Visit belk.com for more info.
Deep Sea Cosmetics has opened a holiday pop-up shop in Durham’s Northgate Mall, through Dec. 31. The shop specializes in skin treatments made with Dead Sea minerals. Learn more at deepseacosmetics.com.
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