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Cumi: A girlhood dream turns into a grownup fashion business

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Cassie Carter loved fashion and making things when she was a girl. Today she's the wife of NBA player Anthony Carter, and she's taken her childhood love of fashion and creation and turned them into Cumi, a line of handcrafted handbags and accessories. You can shop from her line at cumibags.com; we caught up with Carter before her designs were featured in a November 13 trunk show at Soignee to talk about Cumi.

See also: New York to Paris Fashion Show

Westword: Cassie, talk to us about how you became a bag and jewelry designer. And what is behind the name Cumi?

Cassie Carter: I have always had a love for fashion. Even as a little girl I would take fabric and make clothes, bead necklaces, anything crafty I could make with my hands. For the past thirteen years, being the wife of an NBA player, I was always exposed to the latest fashion. As I started traveling abroad and seeing the needs of the less fortunate, my heart was compelled to make a difference and start a brand whose purpose was to continually support these efforts. So I named my brand Cumi, which is an Aramaic expression for "Arise."

What is the inspiration behind your bag and jewelry designs, and how much time does it take to create a bag or a piece of jewelry?

The inspiration behind my bags and jewelry lines has come from worldwide travels with respected influence from the intricate details of international artisans. Our bags and jewelry are all constructed with the finest of Italian leathers and modern metals, and handcrafted in the United States. With special attention to our intricate details, some bags can take up to 34 hours to by hand to make.

How did the Soignee and Cumi show come to be, and what other partnerships do you have coming down the line?

Our trunk show here Soignee was put together by Jenny Baker-Strasburg after meeting her through a friend; she loved my products and thought it would be a great fit. My next partnership will be on December 15 through Fashion Denver at the Holiday Fashion Market.

What would you tell someone who has never owned a Cumi bag or piece of jewelry?

For anyone who has never owned a Cumi bag or piece of jewelry, I would tell them not only are they owning something handcrafted, but they are also making an impact in the world.

Keep reading for more photos of Cumi handbags and accessories.

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