“Do you like guys who make left turns?”
At the time, 20-year-old Bobcats dancer Jordan Fish didn’t know what this question meant. She was on the sidelines when she caught the eye of a NASCAR driver sitting courtside. His friends tried to set the pair up, but she initially said no.
Not long after, she entered a pageant and needed a sponsor. Luck would have it that the NASCAR driver wanted to sponsor her. She thanked him and in return took him out to dinner.
No, this isn’t the beginning of a fanfic story, it’s how Fish and Denny Hamlin met almost eight years ago. While it hasn’t always been easy, Fish said the two are inseparable.
“I was so young and trying to get to know somebody while they were still in the prime of their career and always traveling,” she said. “But we’ve grown up together — we’re best friends.”
Now the two have a 3-year-old daughter, Taylor, who regularly appears on Fish’s Instagram. Taylor loves race days because she gets to see a lot of her friends at the track.
Though Fish didn’t watch NASCAR before meeting Hamlin, she is a big fan now.
“A lot of wives are pretty calm, I am totally the opposite,” Fish said. “I am like a soccer mom screaming like it was my kid.”
So this year when Hamlin made history with his photo finish win over Martin Truex Jr. at the Daytona 500, Fish was ecstatic.
“I get goosebumps just talking about it,” she said . “The whole pit box was like a slow motion jump.”
But today Fish is excited for a different reason — she launched her own business June 1. Kustom Klutch is a line of clutches, ranging from $55-$85, and 10 percent of each bag goes to a different charity. They’re made from fabric, calfskin and leather and will come in around a dozen styles.
Kustom Klutch is the brainchild of Fish and her business partner, Stan Fraser, of Anarke Jeans and Straight Stitch & Co. Fraser has worked with the likes of Frank Kaminsky and John Isner.
“I’ve always wanted to do something as an entrepreneur and I could never figure out what that niche was,” Fish said. “It just kind of hit us. It was so organic.”
Fish and Fraser first met more than two years ago when she worked at Wheelhouse Media. When they ran into each other at a photo shoot this spring they decided to act on their clutch idea. Within a couple months the pair put together a business that has gained momentum on social media.
Admittedly, I was giddy when she invited me to Fraser’s shop for a behind-the-scenes look at the clutch-making process.
They’re all cute, but my personal favorite is the Palm Pom Klutch.
The bags were made with sporting events in mind. For Fish, who used to carry her belongings in Ziplock bags on the race track, she said these are the perfect size to stay hands-free.
Pro-tip: they also look small enough to bring into Panthers games.
Now you can spot Fish sporting one of her creations on the race track every Sunday, and even Victory Lane.
Shop Kustom Klutch online.
Photos: Sarah Headley, @kustomklutch