Ceri Hoover started making premium leather handbags three and a half years ago. It all started from pillows she was sewing, and she realized that folding over the leather pillow casing made a highly functional and stylish clutch bag, the type of bag she had been looking for but couldn’t find. Today, that same bag continues to be a bestseller, and her namesake product line can be found in over 100 stores throughout the United States and Canada. And, she just opened her flagship store on Nashville, Tennessee’s trendy 12th Avenue South. The line has expanded to include shoes, sold both online and in her store, as well as clothing sold exclusively in her flagship store.
Ceri Hoover products are all designed in the South and manufactured in the USA. The styles are timeless and resonate with both the women who love a bold patterned blouse and the women who prefer a stream-lined, minimalistic silhouette. Her look finishes any outfit with an effortless style appeal. These aren’t bags made for a certain age; they are made to be embraced by many with quality and luxury that far exceeds what is expected in this price range, as most are under $500, competing with bags more than double and triple the price.
One reason Ceri Hoover bags resonate so well among a large swath of women is the point of view from which they originate. Ceri comes from a background of interior design, which means her business originated in creating stylish places that were made to exude comfort and a sense of place for her clients. The same thing can be said about all of the pieces in her collection: they are highly functional and have a chameleon-like tendency to mold to the personality of the woman wearing them.
And, as the author of this piece, I continue to be amazed at my 2-year-old Ceri Hoover handbag. You see, I abuse this bag with the amount of weight I place in it on a daily basis. I carry my laptop, charger, wallet, clutch, planner, phone and usually a book or two, a hairbrush, sometimes a full-size camera and more. I weighed my full bag, and it came in at 18 pounds! I throw this bag everywhere, and the stitching and grommets have held with no signs of giving out. This is the type of quality that most of us look for but don’t often find. That is another reason Ceri Hoover items continue to enjoy a large fanbase: her customers love what they have bought and tell their friends … kinda like I’m telling you today!
I asked Ceri a few questions recently to get a better idea about her influences and collection:
Do you have any new items coming that we should be excited about?
I’m planning to add zip wallets in two sizes. They are in-store now and will be on the site after Thanksgiving. Cheetah prints and solid grey nubuck with red goat skin interior.
How does your interior design past influence your collection?
I think your style is your style, and so I probably brought my love for simplicity and classic beauty and my aversion to adornment in interiors into my work today, for sure.
What has been the most unexpected surprise since opening bricks and mortar last month?
I had certainly hoped we would see the amount of traffic on the block and through the doors, but I have definitely been pleasantly surprised by how welcoming the neighborhood has been to us as a newcomer. I mean Jeremy Barlow, who owns Sloco and Meet Room next door, has been so sweet and supportive.
Who would you say your customer is?
Anyone who appreciates great quality, simple elegance, without unnecessary fuss and flash.
How many boutiques are currently selling your line?
Somewhere between 100 to 125 …
For busy women, what are your secrets for trying to keep it all together?
Put great people around you, and try not to sweat the small stuff.
Best compliment you hear about the Ceri Hoover line?
I love it when I hear the pieces are “timeless.” When I work on a new design, I picture myself pulling it out of a grandmother’s closet.
There you have it. If you are in need of a new handbag or pair of shoes, and you want to support a Southern brand that’s made in the USA, consider Ceri Hoover. We’re guessing you are going to fall for this collection as hard as we have! To see the collection online visit cerihoover.com.