Quinn Conyers and her husband Isa Abdul-Raheem are the owners of The Purse Paparazzi, their affordable handbag business. All purses and clutches are less than $100, a price that would break the bank.
When I first began communicating online with Quinn, The Purse Paparazzi line was featuring a line of clutches featuring First Lady Michelle Obama. They also offer Breast Cancer Awareness clutches for supporters and survivors.
This year, the duo channeled their HBCU Alumni pride and is rolling out their creative purses catering to the historical Divine Nine Sororities including Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated. The custom clutches are primarily sold on the company’s website www.PursePaparazzi.com and at various sorority and HBCU events.
Quinn shared with me how The Purse Paparazzi came to be. She also gave me the HBCU Tour itinerary where you can meet up with them to get your clutch in person. Quinn also had some valuable advice for married couples who are thinking abut going into business together.
MRTV: How did your husband-and-wife business turn The Purse Paparazzi from an idea into the phenomenon it is now?
Quinn, TPP: Ironically Isa was selling men's clothing and women's purses before he met me! It wasn't until he allowed me to take a few bags home to my hometown in PA and sold all the bags I had in 20 minutes that I wanted IN! I told him if I'm going to be in this business we must make it legit! I didn't want to be "the bag lady" so we created the name (Purse Paparazzi), got a website (www.PursePaparazzi.com) and become an LLC! This was all before we got married and had 2 kids! We were just 2 very motivated individuals who wanted to make some side money! Little did I know I would quit my job to sell bags 5 years later!
MRTV: Describe how you have incorporated your HBCU pride into your business?
Quinn, TPP: Isa and I are both proud HBCU alumni! I earned my Masters from Howard University and he obtained his degree from Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland! We already were licensed with Divine Nine Greek Sororities and wanted a way to expand our bag brand! Like sororities, many HBCU students and alum have a lot of pride and loyalty to their HBCU! We wanted to capture that passion through fashion so we decided to allow HBCU students and alumni to carry what they care about in the form of a clutch purse!
The 6-City HBCU Homecoming Tour includes the following Black Colleges:
* North Carolina A&T – October 7, 2017
* Tennessee State University – October 14, 2017
* Virginia State University – October 14, 2017
* Hampton University – October 21, 2017
* Howard University – October 21, 2017
* North Carolina Central University – October 28, 2017
The Purse Paparazzi is now taking orders for the new collection and will showcase them as a vendor during their Homecoming tour starting October 7, 2017.
MRTV: In what ways do Paparazzi clutches compare/contrast to other brands?
Quinn, TPP: We are different from most bag brands for a few reasons! We cater to women in large organizations or who are members of the same group! We promote unity and inclusiveness. The only way you can carry one of our bags is if you went to that HBCU or are a member of a particular sorority. This goes against everything in fashion! Most women don't want to look like someone else UNLESS they are in the same group! Then it becomes an instant connection!
MRTV: Over the years, who/what has inspired you?
Quinn, TPP: To see where this business is now from where it started is a true inspiration! I was able to quit my job and raise 2 boys by simply following my dreams! Isa had a great business before he met me but together we are turning it into a corporation! With 6 clutch consultants to date being an entrepreneur and knowing where this business can go is my true inspiration!
MRTV: What were some of the most challenging moments you’ve experienced in building your handbag business?
Quinn, TPP: Cash for inventory and events is always hard! In order to run our business, we need money for inventory to get product to sell. We cashed out 401Ks and i won a few business pitch competitions to secure capital but to this day it's still a challenge because even when we make money we still have operating expenses that need to be paid! Also finding the right manufacturer that can deliver our products timely and at a good price point was a challenge in the beginning.
Now we have 2 manufacturers we work with!
MRTV: What advice do you have for husband-and-wife business partners?
Quinn, TPP: We were business partners 1st then we got married! So now we have to remember that our marriage comes 1st then business! I would tell couples in business to remember that even if you lead in business as the woman to make sure you allow your husband to still lead in the marriage. Also, know when to shut it off and don't always stay in business mode (we are still working on this lol). And lastly, let whoever is good at the task do that task! All too often couples in business work on things they are not good at because they want to control certain aspects of the business!
Want to know if The Purse Paparazzi has your HBCU clutch for you? Find out here. If your institution clutch is not available yet, it will be soon. Make sure to follow Quinn and Isa on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Which HBCU are you reppin'? Leave me a comment below.