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January 10, 2014 • 04:14:02 p.m.

Lake in the Hills designer’s clutches head to Hollywood ahead of Golden Globes

By JAMI KUNZER - jkunzer@shawmedia.com

Handmade clutches created by a Lake in the Hills designer are in the hands of celebrities.

Having already provided products for celebrity swag bags at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and the 2013 Primetime Emmys, Aileen Parks of Girl by Aileen was selected to include her Champagne Ivory Chiffon Rosette Pouch in 100 celebrity gift bags at an event in honor of the 2014 Gold Globes this weekend.

The invitation-only luxury celebrity gift lounge will include Golden Globe nominees and presenters, and take place Jan. 10 and 11 at an exclusive location in Beverly HIlls.

Parks also was asked to prepare a display piece for the event, showcasing a Champagne/Nude Chiffon Clutch

"Normally you don't get an opportunity like this to be able to connect with a celebrity by gifting them something," said Parks, who started her online business at www.girlbyaileen.etsy.com last year.

"We look at magazines and we see celebrities wearing the different outfits and accessories," she said. "It's a good tool for a business owner, because everybody wants to wear what the celebrities wear."

Parks earned the selections after becoming a member of The Artisan Group, an exclusive group for artists to promote their products to celebrities. With about 700 members nationwide, the group is selective. Must must apply and be accepted only by invitation.

Along with promotion, members are given guidance in sales, marketing, social media and public relations.

"We are just trying to bring handmade goods to celebrities," Parks said of the group. "Oftentimes, when they have those luxury lounges, nothing is handmade. Everything is produced in a factory."

Parks established Girl by Aileen after being laid off last year from a position she held for 23 years. She'd made clutches as a hobby for years before that.

Her products range from $25 to $55. Her typical customers are brides from their early 20s to early 30s looking for something meaningful to gift their bridesmaids, she said.

She's known for personalized clutches that incorporate photos and messages, and recalled gifting clutches at her sister-in-law's wedding rehearsal. Inside the clutches where photographs of the women with the bride, some from childhood, others from college and beyond. Many of the women had tears in their eyes, she said.

Parks' creations have been photographed with celebrities, such as Renne Zellwegger. They were given to celebrity moms, including Claire Danes, Penelepe Cruz, Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian, among others, in honor of Mother's Day last year as part of a gift bag created by The Artisan Group.


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