Smart Purse design business born as a solution for a dropped smartphone

Video posted April 15, 2013 in News by Victoria Wain


Nicole Kelner dropped her phone a lot as a freshman at Penn State. She needed a purse or wallet for her iPhone so she would be able to use it without having to constantly take it out.

She realized this isn’t a problem that she just faces, but many other college kids do, too.  This is how the idea of the Smart Purse was born. A patent pending purse that allows you to use your phone through a waterproof screen.

The purse comes in different colors and sizes. Kelner sells the purses for $50 on her website.

Kelner designed the first prototype last year after teaching herself how to sew. “I knew the basics of hand sewing so I was just going with that,” Kelner said. She plans on taking night classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City this summer to learn more of the technical side of sewing.

Since creating the Smart Purse and Nicole Kelner Designs, Kelner has sold more than 200 purses and made a profit of more than $7,500.

She hopes that the company will continue to grow while she is a student, and becomes a million dollar company by the time she graduates in 2015. She also hopes to be known as the Tech Accessories design company.

Currently, she is working on prototypes of Kindle and iPad cases along with laptop cases. She has already seen some success and exposure with her purses, which have been shown in magazines and websites on three continents, Europe, Australia and the United States. Her biggest spreads have been in Glamour UK and Vogue UK

Her next step at expanding her company is by attending open auditions to ABC’s entrepreneur show, Shark Tank in May 2013 and plans to show the panel of judges other prototypes she has made.

Balancing school and a company 

Being a sophomore at Penn State, design company owner Nicole Kelner has to find a balance between running her company and managing her schoolwork. She has to teach herself how not to procrastinate so she could find the time for running the company, schoolwork and extra curricular activities such as THON.