University City

Designer bags created in Charlotte

The day after Morrise Crawford graduated from Huntersville High School, she headed to New York City.

She’d long fostered dreams of being a designer. “I couldn’t see (myself doing) anything else,” she said.

After completing Parsons Design School, Crawford spent 30 years designing women’s clothing for major designers in the Garment Center in New York City. She said she enjoyed her life in New York but returned to Charlotte because of the mild weather and quieter lifestyle.

Crawford is retired and settled in Ballantyne now, but her designing days are far from over.

“I thought I could just relax at home, but that did not work at all,” she said. “I needed to do something to keep myself motivated.”

An idea came to her in the middle of the night, hours after she’d watched a New York newscast in which a reporter asked people on the street what they were reading. Many fished through their bags to show the reporter a book.

Crawford woke up at 3 a.m. with a plan.

“I wanted to design a bag to encourage people to read more,” she said.

She called the designer she’d worked with for years, who thought the idea was crazy until she showed him her sketches.

“He looked and said, ‘It’s wonderful,’ ” Crawford said.

That was in 1997; she’s since founded MC’s Creative Touch and sold more than 50,000 jute bags of different sizes designed to hold books, Bibles, wine, snacks or shoes. She settled in Charlotte in 2007 and is expanding her business in the area.

The bags are made in India, where jute and bamboo – which the bags’ handles are made of – are grown. The insides are laminated so they can be wiped clean. Crawford creates designs for the bags’ exteriors.

“I always wanted to give people something that lasts for a while,” she said. The bags sell for $14-$25.

Crawford has sold bags at airport gift shops, large bookstores, libraries and book fairs. She’s also given away thousands to children and schools. “I just love helping kids,” Crawford said.

Proceeds from a pink-and-white bag with a “For the Cure” slogan will be donated to Levine Children’s Hospital.

Crawford has designed several bags with local motifs, including large bags with North Carolina themes that are available at gift shops at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. Her latest design features a crown graphic, “NC” and “Charlotte,” and will be available at the Charlotte Visitors Center on South Tryon Street in uptown Charlotte.

For more information about Crawford’s bags or to order, visit http://mccustomjutebags.com.

New Firestone store

A new Firestone Complete Auto Care store opened this week in Indian Trail, celebrating its grand opening with an appearance from the 10-foot tall red-white-and-blue Firestone Bigfoot Monster Truck.

The store, which specializes in tires and vehicle care and maintenance, is at 5870 U.S. 74 West in Indian Trail.

For more information, visit www.firestonecompleteautocare.com.

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