Famed Designer Back Home With Spring Collection

April 13, 2010 | by Christian Collins

newspaper clipping Enid Collins in her studio

The following was taken from an a newspaper clipping. Source and date unknown.

By Peggy Hamilton

Enid Collins, designer of the famous Collins of Texas handbags, is a former resident of Birmingham. She personally introduced her spring collection April 23 at Jacobson's, autographing bags selected for purchase.

Her famous jeweled wooden box bags, colorfully decorated linen totes and handwrought leather are joined this season by new "mini" proportioned boxes styled for evening as well as daytime. Other new creations for spring are her papier mache handbags and jewelry.

From a beginning on a dining toom table on a ranch in Texas 23 years ago, Collins of Texas has expanded and flourished until it now consists of two plants supplying purses to 2,000 stores located all over the United States.

When they were first married, during World War II, [Frederic] and Enid Collins lived in Birmingham. But, they decided to buy a ranch and moved to Texas in 1945.

"We tried ranching, but found it was not very profitable for amateurs, so started making leather handbags on a small scale, then went into jeweled linen purses and decorated boxes," she explained.

"We built a plant in Medina, population 300, near San Antonio and as the demand grew we kept adding on to the plant. We now employ 110 people in Medina and have 12 sales representatives, " she said.

For the past two years there has been a Collins of Texas plant in Puerto Rico. A third one will be opened this summer in Fredericksburg, Tex.

The Collins purses, silk-screened and set with brilliant jewels and flowers, have a personalized appeal with names such as "Slow Poke," "Daisies Won't," "Wise Guy," "Jewel Garden," and "Road Runner."

Asked how she continues to keep the custom look even through the volume of business has increased, Miss Collins answered, "I teach my employees to do the work exactly right. I am a perfectionist, and demand that each jewel and flower is in its proper place on the finished product."

Talent, perseverance, and hard work, that unbeatable combination of ingredients, went into the Collins success story.

It is no longer a husband and wife team, as Enid and [Frederic] recently decided to dissolve their marriage, however, they are "still good friends and business partners."

If you were interviewing Enid or meeting her at a showing, what would you ask her? Comment below.

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