We recently reported that rlee Collection on Spring Street had unexpectedly cleared out. Owner/designer Robin Lee Simmons just got back to us on her reasons for closing. Turns out, like most stores that have recently closed in the Upper King area, funding was the main issue. Lee says that she lost her main backer at the end of January, and she was forced to seek other options for selling her handbags. Her bags are currently for sale online and at Mary Mojo in Mt. Pleasant.

Despite the unexpected shift in direction, Lee is staying positive. “I am a survivor! I have been designing bags for eight years and refuse to disappear in fear of the economic strain,” she says.

She’s also got some fun plans for the future. “In March, I will be launching my clutchesandcocktails.com site which is for home, corporate, and fund-raising parties with chick flick themes featuring my bags and tasty beverages. Also in March, I am showcasing my new Spring ’09 handbag collection at the Saturday, March 28th Charleston Fashion Week Accessories Style Lounge… and they will certainly be venturing down the runway at a show or two!”

So there you have it. The store may be closed by rlee isn’t going anywhere.