Sparkly, stylish TCU handbag more than just an accessory

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    Horned Frogs have a new way to show their school pride, with the added benefit of supporting the university.

    Laura Lee Williams, founder and CEO of Laura Lee Designs (LLD), has created a TCU handbag. The bag is covered with more than 3,500 Japanese beads arranged in intricate patterns and accented with purple leathers.

    The product is part of a line called “Sparkle U,” which also features schools like The University of Texas, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University and The University of Alabama.

    Williams said TCU was one of the first universities LLD attempted to secure licensing for from the Collegiate Licensing Company.

    While her request was approved shortly after the Horned Frogs' Rose Bowl victory in 2011, she said she had already been pursuing a TCU design for a different reason.

    “I was asked to do the TCU bag because I kept coming to Fort Worth and doing the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo,” Williams said.

    However, she said the bag, intended to hold "a woman’s minimum essentials: makeup, money and mobile phone," is more than just an accessory.

    Ten percent of the profits from each TCU handbag are donated to the university to help fund various scholarships, she said.

    “I’m really passionate about giving back," Williams said. "So many people helped and supported me at UCLA, so I had to figure out a way to pay it forward.”

    “My team knows it, too," she said. "That’s part of the DNA of Laura Lee Designs.”

    It takes about a month for the Laura Lee Designs production teams in North Carolina and New York to create each one-of-a-kind handbag.

    “All of my bags are made here in the United States," Williams said. "I don’t do anything overseas."

    She said she hopes to open a warehouse in Fort Worth to further the production of her handbags and to support her attempts to expand the brand into NFL and MLB products.

    “My whole dream is to have all my Texas bags made here in Texas with the logo reading 'Made in Texas, for Texans,'" Williams said.

    She said the popularity and demand for the TCU handbag has been surprising, and she did not expect such a successful response.

    “TCU is a good school. It’s a proud school," Williams said. "I didn’t think it was a school that would be in such a demand for a bag.”

    The handbags are available for purchase at www.lauraleedesigns.com.