We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristi Frank and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristi, are you self-funded or investor funded? If you could start over, would you make the same choice?
Clutch Creations has bootstrapped all funds from personal accounts to cover things like Intellectual Property and hiring creative services. We have been lucky enough to receive grant funding of a total of $12,500. Our team has been very active in competing in pitch competitions and although we’ve never won any, they were very valuable to our business because with every bit of the judge’s feedback, we were able to highlight areas of weakness and barriers that we have been able to pivot away from. If I could go back and change something about the funding of my business, I would have put forth a founders Work Agreement before putting any personal funds into the business. Our founding team has struggled with clearly defined roles and contributions and that is directly relating from not having a clear understanding of the ownership. This unclear structure has also caused an imbalance of funding from the founders respectively and thus causing issues regarding the bank account. We were ramping up to do a crowdfunding campaign when the Coronavirus became a world pandemic which caused us to stop all plans and postpone the campaign. We strongly believe (and have research to back) that our company’s product “The Clutch Strap” can be wildly successful with crowdfunding. I guess we will just have to see once that timeline is resumed!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Clutch Creations was built on a need to provide easy access to your smartphone while not having to compromise the style of an outfit. We like to call this intersection “Functional Fashion.” Compared to the Competition: “The Clutch Strap” differs from any other phone strap due to the unique functionality of the Clutch Clips. Unlike our competitors, The Clutch Strap does not come with an entire phone case connected. We wanted to allow for the freedom of choice in your phone case and your style! Utilizing an industrial-strength adhesive, you can adhere the Clutch Clips to pretty much any case or phone out there. Our clips allow for easy attach and detach capabilities if you need to quickly pass your phone off for chatting and handing your phone to someone to take a picture. The Clutch Clips are universal for all of our Clutch Straps and therefore you can have the ability to switch out any strap to compliment your outfit. Favorite Uses: Some of the best aspects of The Clutch Strap are the variety of occasions that it can make easier! Think about the times you are burdened with either carrying your phone or bringing along an unnecessary bag: walking your dog, taking a trip to the grocery store, strolling the park with friends, enjoying your favorite concert or music festival. Artistic Design: The Clutch Crew studies fashion trends, influencers and famous artists to determine the new seasonal line launches. We have explored a large variety of textiles including velvet, canvas, reflective fabrics, custom prints, leather, vegan leather and many more. Our manufacturers have produced Clutch Straps out of many of them – some materials worked great, others we learned from. We are constantly aiming to improve the product to be as “Clutch” as possible and hope to bring back the Classic Clutch Strap very soon. Months ago we had to discontinue this product due to issues in manufacturing and quality. Learning the Process: In developing The Clutch Strap, we’ve spent countless hours researching adhesives, materials, clips and clasps and consumer preferences. Having little to no design experience, we collected as many materials as we could and began developing the prototypes from scratch; there was a huge learning curve in this process however learning it first hand was keen to be able to speak the language of suppliers and manufacturers.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Atlanta is a great city for exploring… with a Clutch Strap! If I were to take a friend or colleague on a Clutch tour around Atlanta, here is the itinerary. -Sleep in to be fully ready for a day of activities. First, we would start with coffee at any of the local coffee shops around the city, like Dancing Goats coffeeshop. -Following a good caffeine infusion, we can walk next door to Ponce City Market, shop the local vendors and artisan shops then take the elevator up the rooftop and bring out your inner child. The rooftop is full of activities including carnival games, mini-golf and jumbo slides all with the beautiful backdrop of an Atlanta city skyline. -Once you’ve worked up an appetite from paroozing around PCM, we would next have brunch at midtown tapas restaurant named Bula and stroll to Piedmont park passing through the city admiring everything from the graffiti murals to the beautiful, marble federal reserve building to the eclectic rainbow corner of 10th & Piedmont. -Pro tip: Find a weekend to visit when Piedmont Park is hosting one of its annual festivals such as the Dogwood Fest. Next it’s time to rent bikes to ride along the beltline. -Along the beltline there are numerous options for great munchie foods. We could stop for lunch and depending on hunger levels, eat anything from an acai bowl at Playa Bowls to a burrito at Bell St. Burritos. -Following our bike ride, we could set up a blanket to have some R&R in the beautiful Old Fourth Ward park. -After a jam-packed day, we would refresh for dinner then head to Inman Park for seafood dinner at Beetlecat. -And last but not least, back into the city for dessert at Cafe Intermezzo
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to shout out the University of Georgia’s Entrepreneurship Program along with the Launchpad2X Core Program. Both groups have been essential to my growth as an entrepreneur and navigating unchartered waters. UGA ENTR taught me the ins and outs of entrepreneurship from a business formation standpoint and provided vast amount of resources for my business’ growth. The Launchpad2X Core Program was transformative for my personal growth as a CEO. Their 3 day course is designed to train women founders on how to own the confidence and title of being CEO and outgrowing the “Founder” title.
Jack Boring (Insta @jacksboring) Kristi Frank (@kfrankfrenzy) Carlie Adair (@shotsbycarl)