Letters

Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Getting Blu for the holidays
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Getting Blu for the holidays

Erin Crowell - November 21st, 2011  
Local designer creates new line of handbags


It’s once again that time of year when we whip out the credit cards, cash and checkbooks to splurge on our loved ones – which can leave little left over for ourselves. For women hoping to dress up for a holiday party or New Years Eve bash, this can pose quite the financial predicament.

Enter Hydrangea Blu handbags. “They’re perfect if you’re looking for something special to wear with that 10-yearold little black dress,” said Kristy Kurjan, owner and designer of the Traverse City business. “You can spice up an old outfit without having to buy a whole new one.”

PATTERN & VARIETY

The line now includes holiday patterns from Christmas plaids and golds to shimmery pastels and blacks, and come in four sizes: the signature clutch, a 10x6 bag ideal for carrying all the essentials such as a wallet, cell phone, lipstick and small camera; the worker clutch, which is large enough to snugly fit documents, an iPad and its case; the over-sized clutch, which is similar to the signature, only longer and “easily can carry a pair of flip flops to switch into from heels,” said Kurjan; and finally, the wallet size — or ‘mini clutch,’ as she affectionately calls it. The mini holds all your plastic and cash for a night at the bar.

“Hydrangea Blu is for stylish women who are looking for something unique,” said Kurjan, who writes the weekly MyStyle column in the Express. “Anyone can carry them…from 80-year-old grandmothers to 16-year-old high schoolers.”

CREATIVE BUSINESS

Started this July, the Hydrangea Blu handbag line has already found a steady market – simply by word of mouth.

“I have a lot of repeat customers. There’s a lot of ‘My daughter took mine, I need another!’” she laughed. “Either that, or customers just want them in a different style.”

Kurjan started Hydrangea Blu about a year and a half ago after moving to the area with her husband, Aaron, who works as an anesthesiologist for Munson Medical Center.

“I didn’t know what opportunities were in Northern Michigan, but I knew I wanted to own my own business…something that would allow me to create things,” said Kurjan, who has had a love for fashion since designing clothes as a little girl.

After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in fashion journalism, Kurjan has worked for Glamour Magazine, Claire’s and the Oprah Winfrey Show. And while she still enjoys writing about fashion today, Kurjan’s real passion shines through her own work. That is evident throughout the upstairs of the couple’s home.

“I like to call it a creative explosion,” she smiles, alluding to her work space that trickles into other rooms.

Hundreds of fabric swatches, in a variety of patterns, textures and colors, sit in plastic bins among zippers and labels. Kurjan finds most of her materials at local trunk or art shows while the Hydrangea Blu labels come from New York City.

The bags are sewn and assembled by women hired through a local contractor in Kingsley.

BLU AND BEYOND

Hydrangea Blu started as a dress line, but has since phased into handbags.

“It was hard doing that and being a one-man show,” said Kurjan, pointing to her multiple roles as designer, marketer, accountant, and sales rep.

However, Kurjan said the move has worked and allows her to see where the handbag line can grow from here.

“I’d like to eventually do bags with leather straps and large diaper bags,” she noted, although some moms will use their stylish clutches as one-time diaper changes. Hydrangea Blu also offers custom handbags for brides and their bridesmaids, adding personalized embroidery or a vintage lace for sentimental value.

The bags come in a variety of patterns and colors available year-round, including the ever-popular zebra and leopard prints.

Just one question remains: Why keep the style to yourself?

“They make great stocking stuffers,” said Kurjan.

Hydrangea Blu handbags are available at Ella s Boutique in downtown Traverse City, Vogels & Foster s in Chelsea, Green Goodness in Leland and Mecca Boutique in Benzonia. For more information, visit hydrangeablu.com/Hydrangea_BLU_ Handbags/Home.html.

 
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