89-year-old entrepreneur makes tote bags for little girls

December 24, 2018

An 89-year-old entrepreneur has started a new business in Aiken.

Grace Schiavone is the proprietor of Tutu Cute Totes by Grace.

As a young woman, Schiavone worked as a tailor at a shop in Philadelphia, and she has always loved to sew.

She spends many hours in the sewing room that one of her daughters, Eleanor Togneri, set up for her in the home they share in Cedar Creek.

Recently, Schiavone began making little tote bags for girls. She selects special fabrics, tulle and ribbons to create the bags. Each bag has a matching bow that a girl can wear in her hair.

When Schiavone showed the bags to friends and family, everyone thought they were wonderful and encouraged her to share them with others. By word of mouth and high demand, the new business came to life.

Schiavone sold her totes at several local craft shows during the holiday season. They also are available at Artisan Market and Decor at 119 Laurens St. N.W.

Schiavone moved to Aiken in the spring of 2017. Originally from Philadelphia, she relocated from New Jersey with Togneri. They came to join other family members who were already living in Aiken.

Schiavone enjoys having three daughters, a son and their families close by in Aiken.

She also has a daughter and two sons in New Jersey. She has two grandsons, and she loves her large family.

In addition to making tote bags for girls, Schiavone also is a volunteer with the Lydia’s Project team at Cedar Creek. She cuts fabric for the volunteers who sew the bags for cancer patients.

Schiavone loves to crochet, so she makes caps for those who have lost their hair due to treatments. The caps are placed in the finished bags that are given to the recipients.

She also crochets tiny caps for newborns that are donated to a local hospital.

When she is not sewing or crocheting, Schiavone can be found in the kitchen cooking meals and baking treats for family and friends.

She also is having a good time exploring all that her new hometown of Aiken has to offer.

For more information about Tutu Cute Totes by Grace, call 803-226-9687, send an email to tutucutetotes@gmail.com or visit the Tutu Cute Totes page on Facebook.

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