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TWO MOMS CAPTURE COUTURE

Elizabeth LeePublished: February, 2013

Erika Koorndyk and Lisa Grim
The Orange County moms team up to create a collection of fashionable and functional straps

Working mothers Lisa Grim and Erika Koorndyk co-founded Capturing Couture in 2009 with the idea of replacing the staple black camera straps (for both SLRs and point-and-shoots) with more stylish and personalized options. Since their first strap creation, they have continued to monitor the demands of the market and have worked on ways to expand their collection. After getting their products carried by national retailers, they looked into international distributing. More than three years of growth and development have passed; Capturing Couture now has an expanded and diverse portfolio that offers camera straps, wristlets, camera bags, guitar straps, key chains, binocular straps, small cases, and other accessories, allowing consumers with more personalization than ever before.

Capturing Couture products are offered online through their website, as well as through Amazon.
The company also has an online blog linked to their website that keeps customers updated with recent company news, fashion trends and tips, DIY project ideas, and photography tricks.

The co-founders were able to answer a few questions about their company and personal lives to help us understand the evolution of this quickly expanding company.

Q: How did Capturing Couture come to be? When did the idea come up and how did the company start?
Koorndyk: I’ve always been in love with photography, and during a family vacation I stumbled upon an old 70’s vintage camera strap, and it sparked an idea. When I came home, I shared my thoughts with Lisa and said, “Do you think we could do something with this??”

Grim: When she showed me the old camera strap, the wheels immediately started spinning in my head and I replied, “We can TOTALLY do this!” From that day on, we were obsessed 24 hours/day with making our dream a reality - gathering materials, trims, and fabrics, and began making prototype samples on our own home sewing machines. In our minds, we were about to create ‘the next big thing’ and the sky was truly the limit...we were determined to achieve success. Our vision from the start was to create a high-end fashion forward brand, one where we could innovate and truly make a statement.

Koorndyk: Soon we had transformed my garage and spare room into our 'makeshift' company. We pooled together every shared resource we possibly had from folding tables, to scissors, computers, sewing machines...you name it. I took all of the pictures of the product samples, and built our very first website. We both emptied our closets to style photo shoots and enlisted local friends to model...and soon CapturingCouture.com was officially launched.

Q: What backgrounds do each of you come from (family, career, etc.) and how did you two meet?
A: We both grew up in the same town, La Verne, CA and have known each other since junior high. After high school, we both went our separate ways and each got married, but then eventually relocated to Orange County to start our families. Both of our husbands are friends, and our children have grown up together since birth.

Grim: My background has always been fashion related, and I have a degree in fashion merchandising. I’ve built a career in apparel merchandising, sourcing and product development for large clothing brands over the last 15 years.

Koorndyk: My background includes both sales and marketing, related both to the electronics and real estate industry, and [I] also have a creative passion for interior design. I’ve been an avid photographer and enjoy the creative expression it brings, especially with my family.

Q: What is “the dream” for the company? Where does the company see itself a few years down the line?
Grim: Our dream is to continue expanding with different unique product lines under our Capturing Couture brand umbrella, and build on additional distribution opportunities worldwide. From the photography and music market, we have also considered innovating into pets and children’s markets, as well as designer collaborations.

Q: Are there any exciting new developments that are coming up in the near future that the company can tell us about?
Koorndyk: We’ve got some exciting projects in the works coming soon in 2013, including a new co- branded Chic Camera Bag line that is completely different than what we have now, and will hopefully appeal to a whole new customer. We’re also set to launch our Camera Backpack design as well as Couture Gig Bags for guitars this year. In 2013 we started exhibiting at large tradeshows such as NAMM (music) and WPPI (photography) and will continue looking for the right venues to showcase Capturing Couture to new markets.

Q: How has being a working mom shaped you as the owner of this brand?

A: We both feel that ALL mom’s have to be great at “juggling” no matter what, and even more so when you’re a working mom. It’s helped shape the brand through our dedication, sacrifice, and being resourceful to make things work even when times are tough, we’ve never given up. Capturing Couture in a lot of ways became ‘our baby’, and we’re proud to show our kids a strong work ethic.

Q: Do you have any advice that you’d like to tell working moms today? And is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: Our advice for other working moms is always to dream big, and never feel like something is impossible. We believe it’s OK to strive to “have it all” and embrace your ambition and passion...from a healthy family, to happy children, and succeeding in business.

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