70-YEAR-OLD WOMAN RETIRED FROM AT&T, LAUNCHED A LINE OF CLUTCHES AND NOW SHE’S HEADED TO QVC
QVC here she comes! Dorothy Harris launched into the fashion world at 70-years-old with her line of reversible clutch purses, and the bags are already taking off!
It all started when Harris was searching for a clutch bag that she had a particular vision for, but couldn’t find anywhere. That’s when she decided to make one herself. She didn’t have a background in fashion or design and outside of little projects, here and there, she didn’t have expert sewing skills either. But she was determined. And with a little research and a sewing machine she had buried in her basement, Harris was able to create the bag she wanted. A reversible clutch purse that was both fashionable and functional.
Prior to launching this new endeavor, Harris was an employee with AT&T for 14 years before retiring in 2014. She had no plans of starting a new business but her bag was getting a lot of attention and she admits that it took her a while to realize that she was producing a product people wanted. But once she did, everything began to fall into place.
The New Jersey native spoke exclusively to Because Of Them We Can about what makes her bags so unique. “I believe that I have designed a classic clutch purse line that empowers women to be bold and purposeful in their fashion statements. Each purse is made by hand, reversible, and comes adorned with a tassel or charm,” she said.
Once she launched, Harris began selling the bags out of homes. Then, before she knew it, she was doing pop up shops at J Crew and other retailers.
Harris said she just can’t believe how much support she’s receiving. “The response has been absolutely overwhelming! I could not have ever imagined that people would like something that I designed so much. News publications, magazines, national retailers - I am so grateful to have been afforded this opportunity at my age! I still can’t believe people actually like my little bags!,” she told BOTWC.
At 70 years old, this Temple University alum is living proof that it's never too late to follow your dreams. She said she wants people to know to follow your heart and that age doesn’t matter. “If I followed my head, and the thoughts of doubt regarding my lack of experience, background in the industry and age, I wouldn’t be here. But I followed my heart and that has opened more doors that I could have imagined. Even at 70, I think that it’s important to serve as an example that your dreams can come true at any age with steadfast determination and drive,” Harris said.
She also said that none of this would be possible without the support of her family. “My family, while still in awe of the response, have been extremely supportive in this journey and have jumped in to fill any needs. My daughter Blair has truly been my partner in crime and the powerhouse behind the scenes. She jumped in to get the website, social media and business aspects of this business up and running and the momentum that she’s created has been amazing,” she said.
All of the attention that she’s been getting and the responses from people inspired by her is just more fuel for her to keep going. “It’s been amazing to hear so many of my customers and followers tell me that I am an inspiration to them as they pursue their entrepreneurial journeys. It just reinforces to me that I never know who is watching and being inspired so I can’t quit!,” Harris said.
Harris’ designs will be available on QVC in January 2020! Until then you can shop for clutches at www.thejharrisdesigns.com.