Regional Startups 2 MIN READ

When attending parties and private dinners, it’s an Australian custom to bring along either a case of beer or bottle of wine to share.

Although with fine dresses and slick leather shoes on, transporting the alcohol from one location to another isn’t always the smoothest task, and often results in bottles rolling around the floor of a car or being carried directly in hand, ripe for judgement from other members of the public.

Providing a secure and handy way for patrons to BYO in style, regional startup Cool Clutch has developed a line of ladies’ handbags which act as coolers, shifting the BYO experience from bland to ‘cool’.

Suzanne Carroll, founder of Cool Clutch, developed the idea while looking for way to replace the unfashionable lunch bags and backpacks that women often carry to hold their cool items when going out.

Cool Clutch asks: “Why have ladies let their sophistication be questioned by arriving at a classy party or BBQ holding a bottle of wine in a paper bag?”

Built on an ecommerce platform, the brand’s collection is available in a number of different sizes and styles, from tiny purses all the way up to large backpacks.

The flagship Cool Clutch, however, is a regular handbag designed to fit a single bottle of wine or a few bottles of beer. This model, along with a number of others, comes with sturdy metal feet, tight shoulder strap and sturdy handles; all while maintaining an attractive exterior that can be purchased in over ten different colours.

Despite the stern design, each item still functions like a traditional handbag, allowing space for a consumer’s regular items, as much of the areas padded for cooling purposes are stuffed into discrete compartments.

“The Cool Clutch is perfect for storing food, drinks and medicine, but also features a generous outside side pocket to carry items such as a small purse, keys, phone and lipstick,” Carroll explained.

To help increase her business’s potential, Carroll applied to pitch Cool Clutch at the Australia Post Regional Pitchfest in Bendigo last year. Following a tough selection process and bootcamp weekend, Cool Clutch emerged as a top five finalist.

Pitching at the event, Carroll managed to dazzle the panel of judges and secure first prize, walking away with $5000 in prize money to help take her venture to the next level.

Moving forward in 2017, the business looks to add new products to the Cool Clutch range and increase its material and colour offering.

Image: Suzanne Carroll and Dianna Somerville. Source: Supplied.

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