Designer Jennifer Nicole Cullen’s love affair with handbags began in middle school when she started cultivating her own collection. “My mom also loved a great handbag so I definitely picked it up from her,” she says. “Every time she got a new bag, I was all over it. I ended up claiming quite a few as my own!”
It didn’t take long for the Raleighite to realize that there was a need in the market for high-quality, affordable and stylishly useful bags. So she decided to start her own company at the age of 22: “Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge Disney fan. There is a Disney quote that says, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’”
And that’s exactly what she has done with the Jennifer Nicole Collection, in which she personally designs each handbag and has it manufactured in Florence, Italy using the highest quality leathers and sterling silver clasps.
The designs, especially the Suki woven bag named after Cullen’s Shih Tzu, have already attracted attention in Hollywood—actresses Shohreh Aghdashloo and Felicity Huffman both own one. While locally, one of the most popular styles is also one of the smallest, the Bug, a cross-body bag.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that our most popular bags are our smaller [ones],” says Cullen. “They really embody what we stand for as a brand – small designs that were created to travel with you on the go, a functional bag that carries everything you need, without the clutter.”