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June 2009
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Spotlight on Rebecca Ray Designs

Rebecca Yuhasz Smith started her Rebecca Ray Designs handbag business about eleven years ago, but says she feels like an overnight success, even though she’s been working at the business for years.  A couple of years ago she says her business made $24,000, but that all changed pretty rapidly when she won the Country Living Magazine’s Pitch Your Product Competition in 2007.

Business started really picking up after that so Smith brought in her first employee, childhood friend Michelle Luciano.  The duo expect that bag sales alone this year will be at least $300,000.

Their company creates unique handbags, many with antique equestrian and dog images, but they also create accessories like belts and dog collars, and home decor items like pillows and napkins.  Since Luciano came on board, the business has opened its own store, and increased the number of boutiques that stock their designs from 35 to 50.

The gorgeous handbag designs are customized with vintage trims, recycled pins, and are available in all sorts of colors and fabrics.  As the business has grown, it has also evolved from using patterns made from grocery bags to acrylic pattern pieces, and instead of the one seamstress Smith originally used, the company relies on the talents of about a dozen Amish artisans who use treadle machines and hand stitching to create the bags.

Read more about how Rebecca Ray Designs has grown in the Cleveland Ohio Business News, or visit their website at

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