FOFs Peggy Patterson and Judy Vojtech are giving away this stunning python-skin wallet from W.H. Petronela. Enter to win by answering in the comments below: Have you ever lost your wallet?
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Two Cleveland-based FOFriends, Peggy Patterson and Judy Vojtech, started a non-profit called H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everyday) in 2008 with the mission of giving support to 18-22 year olds coming out of social services or the juvenile justice system. “Peggy and I were never blessed with kids, so our hearts were set on helping children. There’s one girl I’ve taken in as my ‘pretend daughter.’ She was born a heroin addict and she recently told me she finally realizes she has to be the one to take the stop and will do whatever it takes. It’s been very rewarding.”
Peggy and Judy ran the non-profit for a year, powered by their own money and some outside donations, but soon realized they needed to come up with other ways of fund-raising to truly fulfill their mission. “It’s tough to always count on family and friends for donations. We really need to do something,” says Judy.
In 2009, Peggy and Judy launched W.H. Petronela, a handbag label featuring timeless leather bags and accessories made from exotic skins. Peggy had always been an avid handbag collector, and Judy graduated from L.I.M. fashion school in New York.
They decided initially 10% of the profits from the handbags will support H.O.P.E., and they will up the percentage as they grow.
And my, are they growing! Last year their handbags were ‘discovered’ at a Henri Bendel open call for new designers. “We stood on line for three hours in the freezing cold and everyone was getting rejected,” says Judy. “Then, when they saw ours, they asked us to do a trunk show. They liked the price point, the impeccable quality and the real exotic skins we use such as crocodile, sting ray, python, lizard and ostrich.”
Since the trunk show at Bendel’s, they’ve received international orders, a boom in business and even got the opportunity to display their bags in the window at the Henri Bendel store on Fifth Avenue. “They said it was the highest grossing sales from a window display they’ve ever had,” said Judy.
“The bigger we get, the more we’d be able to donate to H.O.P.E.” she says. Doesn’t this story just tug on your purse-…er…heartstrings?
Enter to win a stunning python-skin wallet from W.H. Petronela by answering in the comments below: Have you ever lost your wallet?