Mod Straps + Giveaway!
I first met Amber Clay while I was walking around Christmas in Cowtown last fall. I popped into her booth because her colorful display of camera straps caught my eye. It clicked a recent memory of someone tagging @modstraps on my Instagram account, and it turns out it was Amber who had spotted photographer Bree Perez at the Central Market event photo shoot and commented on the post. Bree was sporting a cute sequins polka dot strap and right now I am also “connecting the dots” that we all three attended TCU at different times and with different majors. woohoo! #goFrogs
Amber graduated from TCU with an Interior Design degree, but after having children she became a stay at home mom. It was 2009 in preparation of her child’s 2nd birthday party that she and her mom whipped up a camera strap by covering the existing Nikon strap for her DSLR camera. It was perfect. So much so that they began making them for friends.
She went to Arlington Camera to sell them on consignment. They loved them, but preferred that instead of covering the existing Nikon straps they make them as a new product. Amber called local boot shops and sewing rooms and eventually found a belt factory in Dallas that had been family owned since the 1970’s. Since camera straps and belts are similar in construction, Amber thought this would be an excellent resource for her blossoming business. Her dad was an engineer and designed a construction that would hold up to 90 pounds. A rep for a camera store spotted the designs and Amber was contacted by a distributor. That distributor now has Mod Straps in around 800-1000 camera stores.
Her father passed away and Amber knew that she and her mom would need more help with the business. She caught the entrepreneur bug and was ready to take this new endeavor to the next level. A employee of theirs who handled PR as well as two others became partners. It was now 2012 and they were all-in. The business took off and the heavy hitters came a’calling.
Early on Amber and her mom had been approached by Michael’s but was badly burned in that deal. That experience made her leery of trusting any other big box retailers. Now that Mod Straps had an executive team they made an attempt with Target stores. Target’s business practices and support for small business proved successful for their relationship and they began carrying the products chain-wide. Are you listening here?? That’s INCREDIBLE. This does not happen every day. I am in awe of dreamers and doers like Amber and her team that took an idea for a simple product and knocked it out of the park. Kudos to all of them.
The rest of the team ran the day-to-day operations and Amber began new product development including working on the Strap-Wrap which holds a debit card so you can be unencumbered while going to the zoo with the kids or if you are sporting your “activewear” and do not have a place to put your essential ID and debit card. She also added camera bags. This was the first time the company looked overseas for production after exhausting her search stateside for quality bag construction that met their price points. Amber designed a bag that is somewhere between a purse and a camera bag. You can find all of the Mod Straps products on their newly designed website here: ModStraps.com. Exclusive designs are also carried at Target Stores and WalMart. Their in-stock product line can also be found at Best Buy, Amazon, Nebraska Furniture Mart, and at holiday shows (like where I spotted her at Christmas in Cowtown). Canon Canada also stocks the Mod Straps line and all of those straps are still coming from the Dallas factory with it’s own American success story.
Are you ready for this? Not only is Amber Clay a rockstar entrepreneur, she also started the Mod Movement. She didn’t set out to start a successful company and felt it was God’s calling for her to give back in any way she could. This initiative is not unlike Tom’s One for One. Charities that they have supported have included the African Feeding Program, The Kind Campaign,The Birthday Party Project for Homeless Children, Sweet Nectar Society, Honor Flight, and to help rebuild the town of West, Texas through Willie Nelson’s charity.
Amber, I can’t say how truly inspired I am by you and everything you have accomplished. Congratulations! I’m excited to see what else the future holds for you.
Because of Amber’s generosity, she is giving away a TCU bundle set which includes a strap, drop in pouch and cap saver as well as a black Luxe camera bag valued around $200. Please comment below by describing your favorite photograph you have ever taken to be entered for a chance to win! I will announce a winner on January 25th.
“mod is a Dallas-based, premium camera straps and accessories company with a passion for service, style, and superior quality. Created in 2009 by a mother and daughter team and fashioned from handpicked fabrics, colors and textures, mod produces straps and innovative accessories for DSLR owners who want a WOW factor.
Proudly made in the USA, mod. operates with a commitment to excellence in design, quality and customer satisfaction. mod is sold in over 700 camera stores & boutiques across the globe, and in 2012, expanded into retail chains. Throughout mod’s. journey, the business has been, and always will be, grounded in the founders’ faith in God, family, and friends.”
Well. Now, you knew I would have to comment. This is so cool!! I remember seeing that tag on your IG photo, and I thought you just knew the owner! Now you do! And she’s a TCU grad! That is so amazing! Loved reading her story. I was actually directed towards her website a couple of years ago from my friend Jill (remember Jill/The Rustic Thistle?) who knew her from TCU I think. What a stinkin’ neat community we live in. I don’t know if I’m eligible, but I LOVE this TCU strap!! My favorite photograph? Heavens. I’m going to have to say it would be when my son and my husband met our baby girl for the first time!
What an inspiration! I love knowing that she’s a local Fort Worth girl, and doing great things. I love taking pictures of my daughter as she’s growing, but have to remind myself to not get stuck behind the camera and miss real life.
OMG this is adorable!!!!! Love it!!!
This bundle is super cute! My favorite photo I have ever taken would probably be of this hidden canopy of branches and leaves in a nearby park. There is a trail that leads out of it that curves perfectly an sets the photo with a tone of mystery and adventure. It was one of the first more-professional shots I’ve taken and currently hangs in my mom’s dining room. 🙂
Favorite photograph I’ve even taken used to be one of my engagement ring but once I was asked to take a picture of my son and my cousins daughter together wearing Frogs for the Cure custom made tshirts I decided it was my new favorite! It’s on my Instagram account LoriSturman!
This is an awesome giveaway! One of my favorite pictures I have taken is of my grandfather when I was about 10 years old. He didn’t really like his picture being taken so when I asked him to smile he made a funny face and stuck his tongue out. I quickly snapped the picture. He passed away later that year and that picture is how I remember him. Happy, carefree, and a little bit of a jokester:).
Love this story & women who not only become entrepreneurs but give back as well!so inspiring!
My favorite pictures are of my twin girls who are now 16!
My favorite photo is when my two sets of twins were 9 months and 4 Years old ( all boys) and I dressed them all in TCU sweatshirts and surrounded them by Pom poms and took a great picture of them in our
backyard in Tanglewood.
This is so cool! Love the story. My favorite picture is my daughter giving her grandma a hug after eye surgery. Go Frogs!
I have seen these straps in ftw camera and a couple other places. Super cute!
Wondering if you are trying to make the straps in diff types? For instance, I have a D3 I like my cross body strap since the camera is heavy and I use lg lenses. Just a thought… Thanks!!!
I bought a mod strap a few years ago after a friend told me about them. Love supporting local moms! Favorite photo I have is actually not one I took but from my SIL’s wedding. She snapped a pic of my oldest children (4 and 2 at the time) slow dancing together. I never saw it (and it probably didn’t last long) but they are holding each other so sweetly and they are just so in the moment.
Wow! What an incredible story! As a TCU grad and photographer myself, I absolutely LOVE her stuff. My favorite photograph that I have taken was of my family sitting around at Christmas for Christmas dinner. It was such a powerful image and one that I will cherish forever! Go Frogs!
Alicia, you won! I’ll email you to get your address!
I’m not the perfect phitographer person , but I try. My fav picture was taking a picture of my hubby and daughter dipping their toes in the rio grande in big bend. All the Sierra madres in the background. I made it black and white and it screamed Ansel Adams .
Victoria, you couldn’t be more right–amazing! Inspiration.
Favorite photo is always one of the kids holding hands walking away from me with the sun gently framing them. They highlight any backdrop!
Although most of my photos are now of my beautiful children ( it would be hard to pick the best 🙂 I love a photo I took in Ireland in May 2006 at the Giant’s Causeway. Truly God’s country!
I bleed purple & take millions of pictures! Please let me win!! This set is absolutely perfect and in my favorite Color….TCU!!!!
My favorite picture I snapped was of my son when he was 2, he had a black eye (accidental self inflicted toy incident) wearing a I love danger Tshirt. The look on his face is priceless!