Vintage Caron of Houston Purses

Caron of Houston Purses

I did a post recently on how to make raffia flowers to decorate a purse like the ones that were popular in the 60s and 70s.  Then, lo and behold, I came upon this beauty while out vintage shopping.

The label affixed to the interior reads “Hand decorated by Caron of Houston, Texas.”  Had never heard of this label before. It just goes to show that no matter how many years you spend immersed in the business of vintage, there are always new discoveries and things to learn.

I was completely smitten with this cutie. The black tweed material, the raffia flowers with velvet petals, faux jewels and the metallic braid trim. I waivered on whether to keep or sell.  But I have so many vintage purses in my closet right now, including a few I already picked up this summer, that I decided  to put it for sale in my Etsy store  so maybe it will go to a good home!

Caron of Houston raffia flower purse

But I did want to see if I could find out any history on these bags. And after much digging through the deepest of the interwebs I found out some very interesting facts. I really do love this success story because it’s all about a tiny,  home based business that ends up making it big,  especially because it was started by women.

The founder of the company was named Velva Pepper. Don’t you just love that name?

Back in 1957, as a part time hobby, she started decorating ladies handbags with seashells, jewels,  pearls, artificial flowers and beads for gifting to friends.

Apparently word spread about her adorable embellished purses and some local stores began carrying them. Velva’s daughter pitched in to meet the demand. Then once their husbands realized what a hot product their bags were, they partnered with them to form the official company,  Caron, Inc.

They ended up with 65 employess and annual sales of $2,000,000.00.  That’s equivalent to about $18million today!  So they did quite well for themselves with their whimsical handbags.

Just think about it. This was way back before Etsy or any other online venues were available as a way to get a home based product out in the marketplace. Just word of mouth. It’s quite amazing, actually. Of course, back then you weren’t trying to compete with Amazon either!

I wasn’t able to find out why they chose that particular name for their company or how long it was in business. But since I can’t find any of their purses online past the 1960s era,  it appears the company was only in operation less than a decade. But during their short time they sure made some unique, eyecatching purses!

Here are some newspaper advertisements I found for their bags.

Caron of Houston purse ad 1959

Caron of Houston purse ad 1959

 

Caron of Houston purse ad-1961

Caron of Houston purse ad-1961

 

Caron of Houston purse ad-1963

Caron of Houston purse ad-1963

 

Caron Bag ad-1963

Caron Bag ad-1963

Caron of Houston Texas bag ad 1964

Caron of Houston Texas bag ad 1964

 

 

Here are are couple of fabulous examples of Caron purses I found  from the archive on the  Vintage Purse Gallery blog.

Caron kitty purse for Vintage Purse Gallery archives

Caron of Houston bag from Vintage Purse Gallery

And here are some lovely ones available now.

60s Caron of Houston purse on Poshmark

60s Caron of Houston beaded purse on Poshmark– $57

Caron of Houston gold bag on Etsy
Pretty metallic gold lame’  Caron of  Houston purse. Available  on Etsy   – $45

 

Enid Collins was another successful Texas designer of embellished purses  and her bags are much more well known. Though I have to say, I think I like these Caron bags better! And they’re somewhat rare compared to the Collins bags.

So if  you love unique purses and appreciate USA made, hand crafted products from women owned businesses,(even if it was over 50 years ago!) then consider a vintage Caron next time you’re in the mood for a standout statement bag.

Till next time….

xo
Theresa

 

By | 2017-09-25T14:21:52-04:00 September 25th, 2017|Fashion|4 Comments

About the Author:

Theresa
Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.

4 Comments

  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell September 26, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Thanks Suzanne. I didn’t know. Was away for the weekend and was not keeping up with my online reading. Really appreciate the mention!

  2. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell September 26, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I never thought about that. But you’re probably right! Of course, Britain more than made up for that in the 1960s, bringing us those amazing mod fashions and let’s not forget the music! Nothing boring and practical about that 🙂

  3. Avatar
    Suzanne September 26, 2017 at 8:26 am

    What an interesting story. I love the history of vintage pieces.

    You find the best pieces.

    BTW I featured you on my blog last week : )

    Suzanne

  4. Avatar
    Vix September 26, 2017 at 8:19 am

    You lot had all the good bags – I suppose it was because we were still suffering after affects of rationing and post war austerity. Nothing flamboyant – just boring practical stuff. xxx

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