We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrana Saulter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrana, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The idea to start Simply Clutched surfaced since becoming a mom and realizing I no longer purchase shoulder bags, and mainly carry clutch handbags. I thought to myself I can’t be the only woman who prefers something small to carry that’s also functional. So I created a survey that I sent out to family and friends to determine if there was a market for clutches exclusively. Turns out, there was. Most of the responders said they prefer a clutch or crossbody, with functionality being their #1 priority. At that moment, Simply Clutched was born. As a woman who loves fashion, I thought why not pursue a boutique geared towards fashion that is easily accessible from the comfort of your home; plus it’s something I can personally relate to. It’s been known that when a woman looks good, she feels good, and I love the thought of making others feel good and confident. Clutches are a must-have accessory every woman carries, whether day or night, because they are practical and convenient.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I currently work in an elementary school as an ESL Specialist. My role primarily consists of coaching teachers who teach English learners, and working closely together with English learners to help them acquire English. Prior to that, I taught 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th grade English Language Arts.
Being an educator isn’t something I’ve always wanted to do. When I lost my job working as a consultant for an educational firm, I started substitute teaching. I made it a point to substitute at every level (elementary, middle, and high school) to determine which level was right for me. I chose high school. After 2 years in high school, I quickly realized elementary is where I need to be. Teaching is anything but easy. The hardest challenge for me was teaching concepts I took for granted when teaching high school. Such as the ability to read. I never knew I could teach letter sounds, and the basics of learning to read, because high school kids already know how to read. However, it pushed me beyond my comfort zone, and I learned that all kids learn differently. Years later, I wanted to work exclusively with English Learners, to help them get accustomed to living in a brand new country, and having to learn an entire language from scratch. One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my role is to never assume students understand what you’re teaching. Always double check whether they are grasping what you’re teaching them.
Most of my clutches are named after various cultures, since my career consists of working with students from all over the world. It represents the diverse world we live in, and I want my boutique to be reflective of diversity, not just in the cultural sense, but the fashion sense as well. Not every woman has the same fashion style, which is why I carry a variety of preferences. I also want to make sure my website is accessible to all, which is why I have taken measure to ensure customers needing assistive technology can still shop on my site.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m thinking we could hang out at Loft 18, which is an interactive sports bar and lounge, featuring a variety of simulation games (golf, football, basketball, etc.). There’s nothing like playing sports and not having to break a sweat!
Shopping is a must on any vacation, and at the River Oaks District/Galleria area, you are sure to find something. After a few hours of shopping, end the day with a full body massage.
I am a foodie, so I would have to take them to some of my favorite restaurants: Pappadeaux, Loch Bar, Bosscat, Black Walnut, Toasted Yolk, Lost & Found, Taste Bar & Kitchen, just to name a few. I recently visited the Sugar Room on Washington Avenue, and I loved how it played a variety of music, even old school hits.
It’s always a good time when girlfriends get together, regardless of where we go.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am so grateful to my husband, two daughters, my sister, and family and friends who have supported my journey throughout this entire process. Especially my friends who became my models for free, to help support me during the startup phase.
I joined an organization called The Boutique Hub, and the amount of support that community provides is unbelievable. It is a great community of other boutique owners who share their experiences in this industry, a podcast that discusses numerous topics surrounding business, live virtual meetings to answer questions, exclusive members-only Facebook group to connect with others, in-person networking opportunities to meet people from various areas of business (attorneys, wholesalers, website/graphic designers, etc.). Not to mention an entire hub of information and training videos in my own personal dashboard to watch over and over again.
I also conduct research on my own to learn about marketing strategies, until I can make enough profit to hire a company to assist me further. I’m currently reading the book Permission Marketing by Seth Godin, which has a few tricks to learn from as it pertains to marketing.