A Maker’s Row Success Story: Texi Leather

In a month, I was able find American made leather at a good price, work with a sample maker to create my first two bags, and find a handbag factory that is willing to produce small batches of designers’ handbags. The dream of Texi was becoming a reality. – Jessie Cragg, co-founder of Texi Leather

It always makes our day here at Maker’s Row when we hear that a designer found a manufacturer through our site.  When we heard the story of Jessie Cragg and Laurel McEuen, we were so excited to share their success story!  The duo met at Southwestern University and later decided to collaborate and make a handbag line, Texi.  Texi combines a rustic western style with an urban twist and is made 100% in the US.

They would like to take part in bringing American manufacturing back and help out locally by creating an America made handbag line. They pitched their brand idea to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), and were accepted!  Jessie and Laurel used their experience in art, fashion and design to start designing their product, and with the help of CGI and Maker’s Row, their vision started to become a reality.  We talked to Jessie and asked her a few questions about her experience producing in America:

Congratulations on being chosen as Parson’s representative for Clinton Global Initiative University 2013.  What inspired your project idea to develop a handbag line that is made in the U.S.A.?

Thank you! My project partner Laurel and I were inspired to develop Texi, a handbag line made in the U.S.A. because of our backgrounds – both of our Texas grandmas knew how to sew and taught us at an early age. I knew that I wanted to attend Parsons School of Design for grad school, so I worked for a local seamstress in Houston, Texas for two summers in college. When Laurel and I moved to New York, we were surprised to see how many local designers outsourced their production.

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What sparked your interest in American Manufacturing?

I’ve had a lot of fashion internships in the city. I learned a great amount from those internships but I also found out how difficult working with overseas factories can be. There is a lot of lag time and usually the quality of the piece is sacrificed. I kept thinking about the quality of the garments my grandmother and the local Houston seamstress would make and how it was always perfect. At this point, I started to research local American Manufacturing.

How were you searching for Manufacturers before you discovered Maker’s Row?  

A lot of unsuccessful Google searches and wandering around NYC’s garment district; it was not going well.

How long did it take after using Maker’s Row to find a factory?

I found Maker’s Row, searched on it, and found factories moments later. It was amazing. Laurel and I found out that we were accepted into the Clinton Global Initiative University and had a month to get prepared for the conference that is this weekend. In that month, I was able find American made leather at a good price, work with a sample maker to create my first two bags, and find a handbag factory that is willing to produce small batches of designers’ handbags. The dream of Texi was becoming a reality. I believe I was able to do all of this because of U.S. local manufacturing that I found through Maker’s Row.

If you were to give one piece of advice to a new designer producing in the US, what would it be?

Use Maker’s Row! Be persistent. You can actually go to these places and talk face to face. If a phone call doesn’t work, go visit them! Make sure you are constantly working on it and asking a lot of questions. A lot of what I learned was through asking questions.

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What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Working at Texi full time, Texi being a full-blown thing and really have our factory grow.  The factory we are working with has had to let got of a lot of employees.  We would love to bring back some business and see him rehire employees. That would be great.

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Texi website: http://texileather.com/

Follow Texi on Twitter: @TexiLeather

See more Maker’s Row success stories here: makersrow.com/stories