Trish Sweeney’s bag hasn’t hit the ground since 2006. That’s when she bought a purse hook in a Chicago store. Chances are if you’re a mom you’ve either considered a purse hook or made the plunge… and chances are it didn’t quite work out in some of the most important moments (can anyone say bathroom stall?). That’s how it went for Trish. Her purse hook went in her purse, but she soon discovered that it didn’t work where she needed it most; when she could use it, it waswobbly; and she found herself constantly rooting around for it in the bottom of her bag.
After doing a little digging, she discovered the basic design of purse hooks hadn’t changed since the 1940s! Her husband Mike had a background in engineering and manufacturing and suggested that he could come up with something she’d like better.
Dozens of drawings and several prototypes later, Clipa was born. Clipa is the purse hook that hangs on your purse strap, and hangs your purse on just about anything – countertops, chairs, rails, fences and, yes, stall walls. Clipa is automatic; just open one end and hang. When you’re finished, just pull your bag strap and it slides back onto the bag.
When little Sam came along, Trish found that Clipa worked well on his stroller, the stall door at Target, diaper changing stations—everywhere they went. One of their first customers discovered that when she clipped her bag to the passenger seat headrest, her bag stayed in place instead of spilling onto the floor.
Since formally launching Clipa in 2009, Trish and Mike’s nifty little invention has kept purses off the ground and away from germs, water and dirt in more than 23 countries. For Trish, who began in marketing then eventually took on the sales and distribution responsibilities of this truly home-grown company, it has been a challenge with a toddler in tow.
“It’s a balancing act for sure, but we keep it together,” Trish says of being an entrepreneurial mother. “Sam comes to the office. He builds forts with cardboard boxes and watches DVDs, works on his homework and goes to lunch with us.”
With her child’s future in her line of sight, Trish is proud that Clipa is part of the conscious consumption movement, where products are made to last, from materials that are safe and responsibly procured. “We wanted to make Clipa in the USA,” she says of their decision to keep Clipa local. “There are still viable manufacturing options in Southern California, and we wanted to produce a quality product.” The metals and clear crystals (Swarovski, by the way) that are used in Clipas are free of lead (great for moms of young kids) and Clipas are tested to last for ten years of daily use (great for moms of any kids). And since Clipa holds up to 45 pounds, there aren’t many bags that couldn’t use a Clipa.