POV's from The Clutch Team
Clutch Creations was built on a shared love for music, fashion, convenience, and style. Our Clutch products can be described by a phrase we like to call “functional fashion.” Over the past 5 years our team has received countless hours of mentorship, guidance and assistance from friends, family and strangers but our core team has been dedicated to building this brand’s reputation to what you see today and we could not be more proud of the hard work and dedication each one of us brings to the table. Building Clutch has been a wild ride to say the least and this is just the start! Read along for a glimpse of what our core team has learned and experienced along the way.
From our founder & CEO, Kristi Frank (Aka Cam)
Clutch is now embarking on its fifth year since conception and as this brand’s founder, I think it is so important to take some reflection to recognize the growth that both myself and the team has experienced along the way. I came up with the idea for The Clutch Strap when I was in college and although no one said building a business was going to be easy, I was told it would be rewarding and I can confirm, it definitely is! The first thing I would say is it takes a special kind of unapologetic optimism in your vision to achieve milestones while growing your own business and it's so important to define your wins so you can recognize them for yourself and your team.
The other thing I’ve had to come to terms with as an entrepreneur is understanding many things will go wrong, plans will change, people you thought you could count on won’t always show up and your gut intuition will always guide you – listen to it. The foundation of getting out of bed every morning when you are the captain of the ship is first and foremost - believing in yourself. You have to believe you are the best person to be in the position you’re in and not over-think the “what-ifs” that will inevitably cross your mind. You must first have a mission and vision and believe in your mission and vision. Being a founder also means you have to make decisions and be decisive. One of my favorite mantras to live by is “fail fast.” Make the best decision you can based on the information you have and stand by it; if it wasn’t the best decision in hindsight, all you can do is learn and try to make a better decision the next time around! There is no one who can tell you what the best decision is, they can only share their opinions and wisdom based on their experience. It’s our responsibility to have the final say!
I vividly remember one time hearing someone very close to me say “Ya know, you wouldn’t be so stressed about money if you got a real job” and in that very moment, my perspective changed and I realized that I am wired differently than other people. At the time, I guess you could say I was ‘stressed’ about money but the so-called stress, or pressure, is what forced me to think outside of the box to figure it out. It’s never been about selling out and only making money to support my lifestyle. For me, it has always been about the journey, leading my team to work together and enjoy creating this business and brand in collaboration with each other. Along the way, we’ve learned so much about each other, our work styles and how to productively communicate. I personally have learned more than the average person needs to know about adhesives and bond strength as well as an in-depth understanding of leather…and I couldn't be happier about this random skill set I now have.
I know if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change my decision to start Clutch Creations. Building this brand has introduced me to many wonderful people, exposed me to many different points of view & ideas and has challenged me in ways I never thought I’d be challenged. I’m sure if you talk to any founder/CEO/entrepreneur, they will all say something similar about the risks and rewards that happen in this role but it’s so different to hear about it versus live it. If someone reading this is considering starting a business or quitting their job, my question to you is, Do you love it? Do you love talking about it? Do you lose track of time when you’re working on it? Would you say you’re passionate about it? If your work and play can align in the business, I believe you will have a better chance at success because you will work harder toward making the goal and vision come true. From my point of view, Clutch Creations is the best decision I’ve ever made and I continue to live my purpose every single day.
POV of Taylor Cottrell, Creative Director
My journey with Clutch has been during the most transformative part of my life thus far. I was introduced to Clutch during my junior year of college after meeting our founder, Kristi Frank, by chance one sunny afternoon in the spring of 2017. I was going through the motions of school, still trying to understand what I wanted to do career-wise. I wasn’t sure of the exact role I wanted to pursue, but after pondering my core two passions (music and fashion), I had my heart set on finding a way to incorporate them into a successful career.
When I first met Kristi, we instantly connected over our shared love of music (both being avid festival-goers), but not too long into our conversations, we uncovered our shared love for fashion as well. Ironically, she initially approached me because she saw my festival wrist bands hanging on my keychain and liked my outfit, and in turn stopped me to ask my opinion on her new product. It was there in the middle of the UGA crosswalk that she first introduced me to her new invention called, “The Clutch Strap.” I was immediately intrigued and in turn saw the vision of how it could become a breakthrough necessity for music lovers and concert-goers alike. A functional AND fashionable phone strap that I had never seen before.
After meeting Kristi for coffee and hearing more about her vision for the brand, I realized the concept met me at the intersection of my two passions. I was all-in. I’ll never forget that afternoon at Walkers Pub and the booth that would be the birthplace of our working relationship. That very next week, we hit the ground running and we haven’t stopped grinding over the last 4+ years.
In the same year as my involvement with Clutch began, I was accepted into UGA’s Music Business Program where Director David Barbe played a critical role in encouraging and supporting my dreams of artist management.
Looking back, I feel like I met two of the most important people in my life all at the same time. Joining a startup team and realizing that both vision and execution started and ended with us was empowering and daunting all at the same time. It was the start of understanding that if you want a skill, you gotta go out and teach yourself. If you want to make an idea into something tangible, you have to put in the hours and do the dirty work. Clutch has sculpted my work ethic and has consistently challenged me to never stop out-performing myself. It has sharpened my creative skills and has taught me how much I'm capable of if I set my mind to growth, hard-work, and dedication to learning from others. Kristi is a leader, a CEO, but more importantly, a friend. Our friendship and business relationship has come with true support, encouragement, and above-all, a common goal to achieve something bigger than ourselves.
Clutch to me means women supporting women. In careers, in relationships, and in life. It is what I hope our ambassadors feel when they join our crew, and how our team members feel when they take on a position within our start-up. I can't wait to see where this incredible team of women go!
POV of Meredith Grill, Clutch Crew Community Manager
Hi, I am Meredith and I am the Clutch Crew Community Manager. I started off as an intern working for the Clutch team and I am now a year into working with them but honestly, it feels like just yesterday I reached out to Kristi to see if she could find me a role on the team. My time spent working with Clutch has provided me with some of the best professional learning experiences to date as well as has pushed me to pursue new passions and personal achievements. I know I wouldn't have had the chance to be as versatile and learn as much as I have in such a short span of time in any other work environment.
When my journey first began as an intern working with Clutch, I was finishing up my Marketing degree at the University of Georgia. I had been dreading the process of searching for an opportunity to satisfy my internship requirements because the world of corporate business has never been interesting to me and quite frankly, always bored me. After meeting Kristi and her amazing energy, I knew that I would thrive learning from her while working for Clutch. Since then, I will always recommend students looking for work to start small. I have received so much more attention, responsibility, and versatility here than in other job roles as I imagined. I also enjoy how closely we work as a team and therefore get to be exposed to all the different parts of the business. I definitely suggest working for a startup if you really want to explore your talents!
I could go on forever listing all the skills and new knowledge I’ve gained first hand helping run a business on social media, but one of the main things I learned is that content takes A LOT of work to produce on a regular basis and the details are KEY. The creative process is ongoing and rarely a one person job. A lot, if not all, of our work needs a fresh set of eyes or hands to look over it and collaborate together before we share/post to our audience. This not only helps us see where we can improve, but to also apply each of our strengths as a team. Thanks to Clutch, I have seen what true teamwork and good communication in the workplace actually look like. I definitely wouldn't trade this past year for anything. This experience overall has taught me that you can never stop learning/improving personally, creatively, or professionally.
We hope this blog will pass on some of the knowledge we have learned over the years building Clutch and inspire you to embrace all the different challenges and opportunities life throws at you! If you are interested in working with us, we are always open to hearing from you and what wonderful talents you can bring to the team; please email Kristi directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with your information, resume or something quirky and she will get back to you. Our passions lie in influencing more people to life the Clutch lifestyle and grow this brand, one another and our community. We take pride in holding each other accountable for constantly improving! #thatsclutch