UT student founds business after clear-bag policy becomes standard at university stadiums

Madelyn Reiter

After Texas Athletics passed the clear bag policy prohibiting non-transparent purses from all sporting events last August, biology senior Marie-Claire Huff took matters into her own hands.

Huff and her sister Jennifer Pierson created their own handbag line, Femme Fete Fashions, after acknowledging a strong demand for fashionable, yet affordable, purses to fit the policy’s standard. Huff said the two sisters began selling clear purses to a wide audience in September.

After looking at the prices of other clear purses, Huff said she knew she could create an equally valuable option at a lower cost.

“I am a college student, and I know we are all budgeting,” said Huff. “I’ve seen our stuff comparable (to) or double the price.”

Customers can choose to customize their bag by adding a monogram from a wide array of colors. Femme Fete Fashions has also spread its business to other universities across the country through their brand ambassador program, according to the handbag’s website.

“I definitely expect for Femme Fete to take off at A&M, especially for football season,” said Brooke Hiller, a Texas A&M brand ambassador and sociology senior. “(Marie-Claire’s) gotten herself into cool shops and has become very well-known in Austin.”

While the brand started to address college students’ frustrations, it has reached a larger audience, including adults, Pierson said.

“It’s not even just college football games, it’s NFL policy too,” Pierson said. “Any concert that you attend at a stadium where the policy is implemented will also require you to have a clear bag.”

The sisters plan to continue expanding their brand by adding more merchandise and a blog, Huff said. Ultimately, their vision is to open a physical office.

“With the way this world is and coming to, and with everything that’s been happening in the news, I think that the policy was something we all could have seen coming,” Huff said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if other places, like amusement parks, started to implement it. I really feel fortunate to be the ground of this because there’s so much potential.”

As a stay at home mom, Pierson said it’s important for her to pursue something that she enjoys.

“Everyone — my husband, our other sisters — can’t stand to be around us when we’re working because we just have so much fun together and we laugh so often,” Pierson said. “One of us will start laughing over nothing and it’s a chain reaction. We don’t stop until our cheeks are hurting and we’re in tears.”