It all started with divine intervention. "I was lying in bed with my kids one night and I was thinking about another product I wanted to invent, and boom out of nowhere this idea literally popped into my head."
Cortese said she ran downstairs and googled for a product that would solve the problem of button-front shirts pulling and revealing one's bra, but she couldn't find one that solved the problem permanently or like she had envisioned. The very next day she contacted her then father-in-law.
"He was the only person I knew that I could trust and knew how to sew," Cortese said. "I took him one of my blouses and said 'Pops, don't ask any questions, but here is what I need you to do' and he said okay. A week later Cortese tried out her newly designed prototype and TUKKED Shirts was born.
"I tried it on and it was perfect," she said. "There was nothing I had to change about it. It worked exactly how I had envisioned it." "We have tweaked the design in many detailed ways to set our shirts apart from the run of the mill button front shirt styles on the market."
All TUKKED Shirts are patent pending designs. The front placket of buttons is sewn shut to permanently eliminate the gap that happens at the breast-line for most women. The top three "functioning" buttons allow for the consumer's personal style choices. The blouse easily slips over the head and zips with ease down the back with a hidden zipper. This stretch cotton blouse offers two body types, the classic straight body and a "rouched" style that is very flattering at the waist. There are three sleeve options; long sleeve, ¾ sleeve and sleeveless. "The hidden zipper in back starts at a women's bra line, which makes putting on a shirt a breeze," she added. "Most women can reach around their backs to where their bra connects."
Within a week, she reached out to a patent attorney, contacted a pattern design company that helped take her designs and put them into patterns for each size. A year later, her quiet little secret that only she knew about is being revealed for the world to see. "TUKKED Shirts can only be found in my retail stores and on tukkedshirts.com," said Cortese. "By selling direct to consumer and eliminating the wholesaler, I can keep the retail price low and create a high quality product the consumer can really appreciate."
"This shirt keeps a woman looking professional without worrying about adjusting her shirt all day," said Cortese.
"I want to give women the immense sense of freedom in their clothing. They don't have to look down and readjust their top, which has become second nature to most women. Every aspect of my design is methodically thought out, every little detail measured with purpose, intention and it's easy to wear."
Born into the fashion industry, Cortese has been in the trenches since she could walk. Cortese worked side by side with her mother, absorbing decades-worth of industry knowledge. "My mother taught me everything I know about this industry, working my entire life by her side absorbing a wealth of knowledge you cannot learn in fashion school."
"I am connected to my costumer." said Cortese. "I hear the complaints and I hear the issues that women have. I know what kind of fabrics they like and how much they are willing to spend. I have taken my life experience and have formulated a blouse for my customer. I'm not a designer sitting in a studio somewhere completed disconnected from those I'm trying to sell my product to."
"There isn't a person out there that doesn't have a use for a button-front blouse, from people in the service industry to professional women to women who love that classic Ralph Lauren look," she said. "The blouse is so versatile with a vest, a sweater and a jacket and you can style it however you want. The blouse will come in a variety of colors and every season we will have limited edition of colors and prints the" body" of the shirt will always stay the same, but we will be constantly switching it up."