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Couture Planet

Handbags

Newspaper Chic

These chic, eco-friendly handbags have style written all over them.

They’re the handiwork of Connie Carman, a graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Connie works as a buyer for the gift shop in the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, and she’s also part of a “Green Team” that aims to increase recycling and reduce waste at the venerable Boston hotel. After seeing the piles of newspapers collected from guest rooms for recycling, Connie had an epiphany. Why not use the beautiful images from the fashion pages of
the New York Times to make handbags?

The idea spurred a new venture that combines Connie’s love of fashion, concern for the environment and her entrepreneurial spirit. Each one-of-a-kind handbag is made from 100% post-consumer recycled newspaper. We’re featuring two styles, the Clutch model has a flap with a magnetic snap closure, while the Coco bag has clear acrylic or tortoiseshell handles and a magnetic snap closure. Both styles are fun, fashionable, and fodder for a really great conversation.

— Ann
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Couture Planet - Handbags
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Connie
    Connie

    My name is Connie Carman and I am the President and Owner of Couture Planet™. I’m here along with like-minded newspaper aficionado, Kathy Cormier, our Director of Operations, to answer any questions you may have about our products.

    Couture Planet™ was born from my love of fashion and concern for the environment. As the buyer for the shop at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel located in Boston, Massachusetts, I observed stacks of newspapers going into the recycling bin – or worse yet, into trash. It wasn't long before I started appreciating the cool visuals and historic significance of our daily newspapers that some say are on the verge of extinction.

    I was involved with the hotel’s green team and began working on a prototype of a recycling bin for the hotel’s guest rooms. Well, one thing led to another and soon I was working on sample handbags. I began carrying the handbags and everywhere I went, folks approached me to find out where I got my handbag. Many of them insisted that they buy it right off my shoulder! I started carrying a

    plastic bag so I could be ready to empty the contents into it and hand over my bag – often to complete strangers. It was time to market the bags!

    If Couture Planet™makes you re-think before you throw something away, then we have achieved our goal!

  • Ann
    Ann
    9/9/10 12:14 PM

    I love these bags! I have 2 of them (both gifts from VERY thoughtful friends) and get so many compliments on them every time I use them (which is often!) They are really beautiful bags!

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    9/9/10 12:17 PM

    Good afternoon! I'm the Director of Operations for Couture Planet and am here to answer your questions.

  • Natha Tabor
    Natha Tabor
    3/13/12 5:37 PM

    @Kathy Cormier: i would llike to order a clutch for a charity auction but was wondering how long it would take to get an order.

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    3/14/12 10:52 PM

    @Natha Tabor: What a great idea. Our Customer Support Team will be in touch with you to discuss shipment options to get this unique handbag into the "clutch" of the lucky auction winner ;0)

  • Lynn
    Lynn
    9/9/10 1:04 PM

    Hi Carmen,

    Love the idea of the bag and the look, but am wondering what goes into the fabric other than the newspaper. Is it an eco-friendly material? Also curious about the packaging for these when they go out. Can you tell me about that too?

    Thanks very much,

    Lynn

  • Sue Raymer
    Sue Raymer
    9/9/10 1:05 PM

    I work for a magazine in Hollywood, CA. Have you ever considered working with another publication and making your handbags out of another magazine?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    9/9/10 1:16 PM

    @Sue - I will grab your contact information and put you directly in touch with them!

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    9/9/10 1:18 PM

    Hi Lynn, we are on an never-ending quest to make our product as green as possible. The fabric is created with layers of post-consumer newspaper to which a cool press laminate is applied. Our bag are packaged using all re-purposed materials -- recyclable/repurposed newspaper bags to protect the product when shipping. We are very concerned with the environment and are learning about how to do so every day.

    Thanks for your question!

  • kim
    kim
    9/9/10 2:01 PM

    I LOVE these bags and the concept is truly wonderful. How about using parts of either the magazine or newspaper that advertize food and make large bags for groceries. I use recycled grocery bags and would love this look. Give it a thought. I am a designer and teacher. This is something I would consider making with children's art.

  • Elizabeth
    Elizabeth
    9/9/10 2:05 PM

    These are so cute! I can picture them being even more iconic as the years go by and the current newspapers used in the bag become nostalgic or even historic.

  • Lisa Begin-Kruysman
    Lisa Begin-Kruysman
    9/9/10 2:05 PM

    I love my bag, got it as a gift and use it all the time!

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    9/9/10 2:10 PM

    I'm a newspaper junkie and couldn't agree more: newspapers are iconic! and a very important part of our culture. Thanks for all the comments!

  • Ellen
    Ellen
    9/9/10 2:23 PM

    I love the bags. The CoCo bag is so cute ... I think I need to get one.

  • Keith Lane
    Keith Lane
    9/9/10 2:37 PM

    Fashion handbags made from repurposed newspapers is a brilliant idea. If Paris Hilton could read she'd buy one.

  • Lisa
    Lisa
    12/3/10 1:50 PM

    @Keith Lane: THAT is hilarious!

    True, too.

  • Melissa
    Melissa
    9/9/10 3:25 PM

    I LOVE THESE!

  • Nancy Walter
    Nancy Walter
    9/9/10 3:44 PM

    I also received a bag as a gift. I love that each bag has different topics from "dining" (mine) to Red Sox or Jackie O. I get daily comments from the girl at Dunkin Donuts to my Boston clients!

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    9/9/10 4:26 PM

    The possibilities are endless!

  • Connie
    Connie
    9/9/10 4:27 PM

    Thanks for the great testimonials! Truly a one of a kind gift that is also a head turner!

  • ellen Purcell
    ellen Purcell
    9/9/10 4:34 PM

    I get more compliments no matter where I go on my purses. (I bought two)--everyday and my sassy clutch for evenings. A fashion-forward look for sure!!

  • Pat
    Pat
    9/9/10 7:06 PM

    This is much more than a fashionable bag, it's a piece of history.

    And... it's a great way to start a conversation :D Since I purchased

    my THIRD bag, it is my favorite way to network! I bring out my Red Sox bags

    for the sporty occasions. For once, I'm relieved to have an old bag for Red Sox articles!

    You gotta try it. Wait till you see how many people you meet.

  • Shaun
    Shaun
    9/9/10 7:27 PM

    I agree with Pat. Who would ever fathom a stylish bag could be good for business?! Although, where I come from, the Red Sox might not help with business... Manhattan is Yankee territory. My favorites are the SHOES. There is nothing as gorgeous as SHOES.

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    9/9/10 7:49 PM

    Shoes and handbags -- no one can get enough of them!

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    9/9/10 8:47 PM

    Each bag sends it's own message and is a creative piece of art. I love having more than one !

  • marilyn
    marilyn
    9/9/10 8:53 PM

    I love these bags! Are there any stores carrying them in New York?

  • kathy
    kathy
    9/9/10 9:01 PM

    I spotted a Couture Planet bag in Saratoga with the 2009 Kentucky Derby Winner on it. Did she get it in New York or Kentucky?

  • andrea
    andrea
    9/9/10 10:30 PM

    love these bags! anyway of "requesting" a particular portion of the nyt style section? for example particular wedding announcements? could be cute gift for a new bride-groom or just fun to read!

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    9/9/10 10:44 PM

    We made a few bags with images of MINE THAT BIRD, winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby. I guess our customer made it to the races this summer. Hope she was a winner!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    9/9/10 10:48 PM

    It is so great to hear from those of you who already own a Couture Planet purse! It sounds like they are a real conversation piece.

    @Andrea - that is a very clever idea to use the wedding announcement in a purse as a wedding gift. They do accept custom orders and I will contact you directly with Kathy's contact information.

  • jeannette
    jeannette
    9/10/10 1:26 AM

    would love to be connected with kathy for a custom order. thanks.

  • Eva
    Eva
    9/10/10 5:15 AM

    Why do you use tortoise shell in the product?

  • Connie
    Connie – Special Guest
    9/10/10 6:21 AM

    Hi Eva, I see you are an early bird like myself! Part of the mission of our company is to combine an eco-friendly product with a fashion forward edge. It has been said that people who shop the couture brands don't give a thought to the environment. Hence, our name- Couture Planet- and our tortoise-like handles.

  • Connie
    Connie – Special Guest
    9/10/10 6:32 AM

    In the past 3 years since we started this company, I can see that changing. Even H and M is using reclaimed textiles for some of their apparel!

    A big part of this product is the "in your face" fact that something that was being discarded is being given a second purposeful life.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    9/10/10 9:07 AM

    @Jeannette - I have sent you Kathy's contact information.

  • Mary DeChillo
    Mary DeChillo
    9/10/10 9:30 AM

    Not only are Couture Planets' products creative and ecofriendly, the company is run by smart, innovative women who are committed to ethical business practices.

  • Manette Loudon
    Manette Loudon
    9/10/10 6:14 PM

    I have several Couture Planet bags -- I love em! Why didn't I think of this? Are they still available at the LIMELIGHT MARKETPLACE? They make great gifts. By the way, I love Connie's haircut. Do people tell her that she looks like Sandra Bullock?

  • MKMC
    MKMC
    9/12/10 4:56 PM

    All of the information about the bags is suspiciously lacking details about how the product is made durable. Are the pages sewn between plastic or vinyl? Are the materials genuinely environmentally friendly?

  • Connie
    Connie – Special Guest
    9/12/10 7:07 PM

    MKMC-Your question is a good one. Couture Planet is good for the environment in several ways. First, we use only 100% post consumer newspaper-never purchased and never downloaded. This newspaper would otherwise end up in the trash or repulping plants. The second way is much more subtle- our handbags are a reminder to all who see them to think twice before throwing something in the trash! The future of recycling is in reuse and repurposing items that were destined for the dumpster. We also employee local manufactures and are proud that we can label our bags MADE IN THE USA. Using local labor has the obvious environmental benefits.

    Couture Planet handbags are made durable by coating 10 or so layers of newspaper between plastic. We also put an additional backing into the body of the bag to make it more sturdy. We are committed to constantly searching for products that are environmentally friendly and hope in the near future we can source plastics (handles and such) that are made from post consumer waste (such as melted down plastic water bottles).The strap on the large tote is scrap leather.

    Everyone at Couture Planet shares your concern for the environment and would be grateful if you had any sources or ideas for recycled hardware or plastic!

  • danny
    danny
    10/1/10 3:20 PM

    My wife is obsessed with these bags- are you looking for a partner?

  • Connie
    Connie – Special Guest
    10/1/10 3:25 PM

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Danny!

  • DeeAnn
    DeeAnn
    10/7/10 8:27 AM

    I LOVE your bags! Could you make a bag with a newspaper from where I live?

  • Kathy
    Kathy
    10/7/10 9:48 AM

    Yes, we do lots of custom orders. Daily Grommet can you put DeeAnn and us in touch?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    10/7/10 10:02 AM

    @DeeAnn - I will put you two in touch!

  • Tina
    Tina
    6/12/11 12:53 PM

    How much time do you need to do a custom order with my newspaper?

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    6/12/11 1:02 PM

    @Tina: I will put you in touch with Connie and Kathy directly. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kal
    Kal
    3/11/12 10:26 PM

    Hi,

    What is the difference between Clutch with grommet in front and just the Clutch? any differentiating features ? Also, if i specifically want the clutch with 'Chanel' in front, as shown on the website, can i order accordingly or will i get the clutch with any random story ? Please clarify. I am very much looking forward to ordering one asap.

    thank you,

    Kal

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    3/14/12 11:18 PM

    @Kal: The main difference is that the "Clutch with Grommet" has a round grommet in front and the Clutch does not. I've a message in to the Couture Planet Team to find out whether they can make a clutch with "Chanel" for you. Thank you for your interest.

  •  Wendy DiPeri
    Wendy DiPeri
    10/30/12 4:18 PM

    I absolutely love these clutches. They are so creative and environmentally friendly. I would like to order six as gifts, but absolutely need to have them in hand by December4th. Would this be possible? If so, as soon as I hear from you, I'll place my order. Thank you! Wendy DiPeri

  • Chew-Hoong
    Chew-Hoong – Grommet Team
    10/31/12 2:30 AM

    @ Wendy DiPeri: These purses will be very special & memorable gifts. Please order right away and email our Customer Support Team at customersupport@dailygrommet.com with your Order #. They'll give our Grommet partner a heads up to get the bags to you by 12/4.

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