An inspiring women & entrepreneur, Cherie Carter, at the age of 60 established Cherie Carter Designs that specializes in creating unique fabric handbags and home decor items using decorator fabrics, great trims and beautiful embroidery. Born in Detroit and brought up in Ohio, she believes in creating something that she herself would use and appreciate.
Your Fashion Story presents an extract about her wonderful journey in her own words.
I was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA, in June of 1948. I grew up in Ohio after my dad started a new career in insurance, completed my schooling and graduated from high school in 1966. I married soon after high school and had two daughters. College came later in my 40’s and I graduated in 1993 with a major in Recreation and Leisure Studies, Therapeutic Recreation. I worked in the field of Addictions until age 60 and then started working in earnest on my business.
I never thought I would have a sewing/design business. I began selling my ‘stuff’ at work and local festivals while I was still working fulltime. I was making wreaths, holiday gifts, ornaments, tote bags and table runners. I called my efforts ‘Cherie’s Stuff’, and everything that I didn’t sell I gave as gifts – my daughters still call them ‘Mom’s Leftovers!’
It was when I bought my first embroidery sewing machine that I became excited about making and designing handbags. The designs were wonderful and the world of color and design just exploded for me. I called myself “Custom Bags by Cherie” and now, three-plus machines later, I am “Cherie Carter Designs.”
My biggest problem setting up my workshop was organizing everything. My brain is continually onto the next thing and I loose things – then when I find them I forget why I wanted them. For me, this is part of the creative process!
I believe I have been most inspired throughout this process by my family members – my father, mother, sister, daughters, and my grandchildren. When I was working out of my home, I made the spare room into my workshop, which then also became a magical place for my grandchildren when they would visit. They would pull out fabric, pick out designs, and line up the threads. They would also paint and cut and we had a great time.
For the past four years I have had a workshop in the city of Rochester, NY; a large room with windows, great people in other businesses in the building, opportunities for friendships and business connections.
I often stop people with interesting outfits and bags and ask to touch them, giving me an opportunity to talk to them about it. I tend to use decorator fabrics because they are basically sturdy, beautiful, have texture, and they are plentiful – Sale prices are always nice! And I just love trims!
I believe I design bags that I would want to carry. So, I guess that would be a person who hopes to be organized (lots of pockets) and want to keep everything with her (on the larger side) and that looks exceptional and different!
I love to make pillows, wine bottle bags and change purses. I usually have two or three things going at once. Something new for me is creating a smaller bag using very soft pleather, different straps, hardware, and closures. I’m excited!
I also do a great deal of custom order work – things I never thought of. Right now I am creating patches for an organization that helps people through suicide awareness and prevention.
I’ve met wonderful people and been given exceptional opportunities to give back – many lessons in Karma, trusting myself and The Universe, appreciating the good thought and watching great intentions becoming realities.
I have a website, a Facebook page, email, and a phone. I welcome any thoughts, questions, and comments you may have for me. I have found that artisans have wonderful energy and are willing to share creative ideas. I cherish this part of my life.
Story credits – Ankita Bhalani