Hands-Free Fests: Chatting with the CEO of Clutch Creations

All photos courtesy Kristi Frank/Clutch Creations.

When you’re at a show, hiking, or just on-the-go, nothing takes you out of the moment like worrying about your phone – is it in your pocket? Did you drop it? Could it get stolen? Locking it in the car or leaving it at home may be the obvious way to ensure this doesn’t happen, but you also probably want to have it with you all the time to capture the moments.

Enter the Clutch Strap: A hands-free solution that enables people to carry and have access to their phones without the fear of it being misplaced or taken. We recently got the chance to discuss the Clutch Strap with Clutch Creations CEO Kristi Frank.

Katie (Festival Squad): First of all: Who are you? Where are you from, and what are your favorite festivals?

Kristi Frank (CEO, Clutch Creations): Hi! I’m Kristi Frank from Atlanta, GA and a 2016 graduate of the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!). I recently moved to Chicago, IL to grow and expand my company’s reach. I am passionate about fashion, new friends, and efficiency! I am also a huge fan of music and arts festivals – but given the current situation with COVID, I too have had to find new hobbies and interests while live music events are changing. I have always been drawn to creating new fashion looks, making new friends, eating good food, and especially dancing to great music, hence why I was so drawn to music festivals. I’ve been religiously attending festivals since 2012. My first and favorite festival is Buku Music and Arts Fest in New Orleans. Some of my other favorites include Hulaween, Nocturnal Wonderland, Wakarusa, Counterpoint (RIP!!!), Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, and Okeechobee. 

FS: What is the Clutch strap?

KF: The Clutch Strap is the epitome of what we call “functional fashion” – a comfortable genuine leather, designer phone lanyard strap that utilizes super strong adhesive Clutch clips that you can attach to your favorite phone case. We aim to add a little extra pop of style to your look and add an extra component of ease when you don’t want to worry about where your phone is at all times. Ultimately, the Clutch Strap is a lanyard for your phone solving the “no pockets” problem for women and men in a universal, reliable, and stylish manner. 

You can rock your Clutch Strap around your neck or shoulder and conveniently have it within arm’s reach. We offer our Clutch Straps in a variety of colors and patterns and come out with new designs seasonally. We’ve been selling the Original Clutch Strap for years and our customers have expressed that they would love our product in a cross-body fashion, so we’ve decided to take our launch to crowdfunding to support bringing this product to life! 

Our existing customers love the Clutch Strap and use it on a daily basis, or so they tell us in their reviews and recommendations.  We have long developed this product to be high quality and fashion forward and by listening to our customer’s wants, hence why we’ve decided it’s time to make a Cross-Body version of the Clutch Strap! You can follow our campaign and pledge when we go live on November 2nd, 2020 HERE.

FS: Why a cross-body strap? How will it differ from the original, and what are the benefits?

KF: We’ve decided to introduce the Cross-Body Clutch Strap based on customer feedback and preference! The Original Clutch Strap was designed to mock a camera strap and we assumed our customer would enjoy wearing it in front of them, around their neck for some occasions or on their shoulder like a bag for other occasions. Turns out, our gals would also like the option to wear The Clutch Strap as a Cross-Body. This design change will allow for your phone to comfortably rest on your side/hip and be very discreet. Ultimately, we are creating this variation of our Original Clutch Strap so the customer has the freedom to choose how they prefer to wear it. 🙂

FS: How has the development process been with your first new product after the original?

KF: Thankfully, much easier! We have amazing manufacturers down in Medellin, Colombia, and they were happy to see us expanding our product lines and creating the tooling to introduce this new length. Our quality will remain very high as well, as we will utilize the same hardware and stone rivets we have for the Original Clutch Strap. Our products come in both genuine and vegan leather to cater to anyone’s lifestyle preferences.

FS: When will it be available, and when will the Kickstarter launch?

The Kickstarter is launching on November 2 – we encourage you to take advantage of the early bird pricing package! As for when the Cross-Body Clutch Strap will be available on our website, it all depends on the success of our Kickstarter campaign. We need your help and support to bring this product to life, so please consider making a pledge. The Kickstarter algorithm awards campaigns with features based on the number of backers and engagement. What that means is you don’t have to pledge to receive a prize package, you may donate whatever amount you wish and leave a comment and we will get rewarded by the platform. Simply put: $1+ and a comment on our project does us LIGHTYEARS OF GOOD! Additionally, feel free to send an email to [email protected] if you’d like to be added to our promotional email list to be notified when we launch.

FS: How did the product come aboutwas there an “aha!” moment at a fest when you realized how helpful it could be, or was there a longer development process?

KF: I realized how truly convenient The Clutch Strap can be when I was attending a music festival while still in college. I was gone for the weekend at the fest and always on high alert about losing or having my phone stolen (simply because I couldn’t afford to replace it if something were to happen to it). I attached a camera strap to the bottom of my phone case and really enjoyed how convenient and worry-free the situation was [while] having my phone attached to a strap.

The “aha moment” came when I got back to Entrepreneurship class on Monday and my professors were explaining how the best businesses “solve problems.” A light bulb in my head lit up remembering the problems that were solved for me by having my phone on a strap. That’s when the Clutch Strap was born; I went home and immediately began working on my designs.

FS: How does Clutch differ from other phone activity holders (fanny packs, backpacks, etc.)?

KF: The main differentiator that makes the Clutch Strap so “clutch” is the utility of how it was designed to attach to nearly any phone or case with ridiculously strong adhesive clips (I have a picture of my cat on my phone case and did not want to change cases, so I made sure to design this product with the ultimate freedom to choose and express yourself how YOU want).

The second main difference from other solutions that allow you to keep your phone nearby is that they often involve stashing the phone away somewhere. For example, with a fanny pack, purse, or backpack, I was constantly taking my phone in and out and would therefore just end up holding my phone in my hand. With The Clutch Strap, the face of the phone is exposed for easy grab-and-go access whenever you want to quickly just check something like the time or a notification.

FS: Who is Clutch for and who can use it? How customizable is it?

KF: The Clutch Strap was made for girls and guys who are on the go! Whether it’s just running errands, going out, carrying in loads of items from the car or riding a bike around town, it’s made for anyone who could use an extra hand. The hands-free lifestyle that comes from owning and wearing a Clutch Strap is gender-neutral and widely essential for any multi-tasking millennial.

We are not yet to the point where we can customize individual customer orders, however we do offer bulk pricing and have worked with businesses who can customize the Clutch Strap using a high powered laser to showcase their logos. In the future, we plan to work with meaningful causes and charities to customize Clutch Straps that incorporate a give-back component with every design and sale.

FS: Can Clutch be used with any phone (Apple, Android, case or no)?

KF: Yes, the Clutch Strap can adhere to nearly any surface (excluding silicone or anything super matte) – think like this: if a sticker will stay stuck on it, so will your Clutch Strap! The industrial strength 3M VBH adhesive has been tested to withstand lots of head banging and mosh-pitting. Don’t you worry, you can always test your strength with our “Swing Test” once the adhesive has set overnight.

FS: Clutch was made with the festival industry in mind—do you foresee expanding to other arenas as well? For example, I hike a lot; it would be really useful for outdoor adventure activities like that as well.

KF: Yes!  Many, many adventures could be made a little more “clutch.” We love when we see our customers expand the use cases of the Clutch Strap. Skiing is a great example of when it becomes a necessity to avoid dropping your phone on the ski lift. Same for extreme sport paragliding – unbelievably handy and gives you the piece of mind that you can capture the perfect picture without worrying you might fumble your phone. 

Or perhaps on a bike when you need directions – it’s so nice to just pick up your phone and determine your path and pedal on without skipping a beat.

Our goal is to expand in new markets where it makes sense. We aim to grow our Business to Business channel specifically so that we can make more lives Clutch by promoting directly through events where their lives can immediately be benefitted from sporting a Clutch Strap – from charity-driven 5K walks and parades, to cruises and beer festivals. We are pursuing working with any events and occasions when an extra hand is really nice to have.

FS: What’s next for Clutch? Do you think you guys could expand into other festival products, or do you plan to keep improving upon/making different Clutch straps?

KF: We are taking our first Clutch Creation (The Clutch Strap) to Kickstarter! Our customers have always desired the ability to wear the Clutch Strap as a cross-body accessory, and we are granting their wishes with the support of backers who believe in the hands-free life. In launching a crowdfunding campaign, we hope to grow exposure of our brand and existing products, as well as increase our budget for marketing and advertising.

Aside from introducing The Clutch Strap to new markets, we plan to expand our product offerings to provide more “Clutch Creations” that are functional fashion for active lifestyles and enable that convenience. #thatsclutch

Ready to get your own Clutch Strap? Stock up here, explore their Instagram for Clutch outfit inspo, and check out their Kickstarter + Cross-Body Clutch Strap here.

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