ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Clutch Creations has made the move from Athens, GA to the St. Louis region where founder Kristi Frank has hit the ground running with a supportive entrepreneurship community.
Clutch Creations was first thought of out of a necessity for Frank when she attended a music festival and needed a place to keep her phone safe and secure.
“It mocked my camera strap at first,” Frank said. She saw her vintage camera strap and realized that she could attach it to her phone case and Clutch Creations first product, The Clutch Strap was created. Clutch comes from a slang term that Frank and her friends use when something comes in handy.
Frank said that during the festival her innovation was receiving a lot of attention and she knew that she had created something worthwhile. Frank understood that women face a common problem today of wanting to keep their phone in arms reach, but lacking in options of where to put it so they are forced to hold it in their hand.
“Our product solves this problem and embraces the ability to live with both hands,” Frank said. “The stylish and practical cell-phone strap allows women the ability to wear their phone comfortably around their neck or on their shoulder for a convenient and useful experience while reducing theft and lost or damaged devices.”
Frank said that there are many uses outside of festival grounds where the product comes in “clutch”. From walking through the airport to walking the dog, to skiing and running quick errands, The Clutch Strap has become a stable for people who are on the go.
The Clutch Strap comes in two different styles: The Classic Clutch and The Leather Clutch Strap. The Classic Clutch Strap is equipped with two loops on the front, intended to hang your sunglasses and attach a small key and the inside back of the strap has two pockets for the purpose of storing small items and other things like pens, lip gloss and e-cigarettes. The Leather Clutch Strap is slightly thinner in its design and utilizes 100% genuine leather in black and brown. The Black Leather Clutch Strap is embellished with a variety of marble rivet color options including black, white, red, blue, turquoise and purple.
“Either strap uses the same clip mechanism to attach to the back of most smartphone cases using an industrial strength adhesive,” Frank said. “We recommend and love when our customers switch out their Straps to match and compliment any fashion style.”
Frank was only a sophomore in college when the idea came to her. She focused her efforts at college with the UGA Idea Accelerator Program in 2016 to get Clutch Creations started. The company was filed as an LLC in 2017.
As many start-up companies do, Frank has experienced some roadblocks during her journey with Clutch. She had four different pitch competitions and got nothing. She worked to apply for her first grant through Kickstarter, which she sees has her first win.
Teaching herself how to sew, Frank was able to make a prototype of her creation. She then reached out to a non-profit company called Peace of Thread to help get more clutch straps created.
“My recent win,” Frank said. “Is the order of 500 straps from Stiefel in St. Louis.”
Clutch Creations has the mission of empowering women and is focused on embracing a lifestyle that encourages adventure by creating the most Clutch products, gadgets and tools to enable efficiency in everyday lives and tasks.
Clutch Creations has an octopus logo which represents fluid motion, being versatile and allowing the use of having a spare hand. It symbolizes that customers will be able to enjoy everyday tasks with ease and comfortability while in motion with a Clutch Creations product.
“The octopus has three hearts and so does Clutch Creations. Our brand encourages taking adventures, expressing your true self and emitting positive energy back into our local communities and our mother nature,” Frank said in another interview.
Frank said that she has always been interested in fashion and creating things. She said that through the creation and matching that is done, Clutch Creations is fashion.
“I’m always creating something,” Frank said. “I get my craftiness from my mom.”
Frank received her business degree from the University of Georgia with a marketing emphasis in professional sales. She also started the Society of Entrepreneurs at the university to help entrepreneurs grow and have fun while creating something they are passionate about.
Frank moved to the St. Louis region for her family and has continued to be innovative and creative with Clutch Creations and the relationships that she continues to make along the way.
“I love being able to spread knowledge and satisfy minimums,” Frank said.
Quick Fire with Kristi Frank:
What is your favorite place to eat at in St. Louis?
California Pizza. I know it’s a chain restaurant, but I’ve only eaten it in St. Louis when visiting family, so it always reminds me of that.
What show are you currently watching?
I don’t really have time for tv, but when I am watching something it’s either Family Feud or Cash Cab.
Have you read anything lately?
“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” [by Richard Carlson], which I highly recommend.
What are your future plans for Clutch Creations?
Pursue it more as a promotional product for businesses. Eventually, hire an outside sales team so that I can continue to make new Clutch products to enable convenience.
Are you seeing any trends inside the entrepreneurship realm?
Mobile transactions. Things have moved from desktop to an app allowing more people to do business from their phones.
What is your best advice?
Meet people and network. Find out what you can do to help the people you meet instead of what you can get from them. Don’t burn bridges.
Who inspires you?
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanks. She completely bootstrapped her business and created a product because of the need for it.
What do you do in your free time?
I make a lot of other things, like jewelry. I like to go to thrift stores and find new purposes for things. I got into photography and I still go to music fests and explore.