At 22, Deanna Sutton was working in integrated marketing and public relations with corporate giants such as Sara Lee, Wal-Mart and Starbucks. Yet her world suddenly changed when her father passed away unexpectedly in 2002.

“I was in a deep state of depression, and through an encounter with my best friend on the state of magazines for women our age, the idea was born,” Sutton told Madame Noire.

That idea was to create a magazine that, as it says on the Clutch website, “ushers in the new era for young, contemporary women of color.” They started out as a print magazine and later went to an online-only version instead in 2007.

Since Sutton grew up with parents who had a real estate and contracting business on the side, so it’s no surprise that she also has an entrepreneurial side.

“I always witnessed them working hard and, I think that rubbed off on me. Don’t get it twisted, this is the hardest job I ever had, but I have a plan and I plan on seeing it out to the end,” she told SistaSense.

After its online launch, Clutch Magazine experienced exponential growth and has become one of the leading websites for multicultural women ages 18 to 34. As the founder of Sutton Media, which publishes Clutch Magazine, Sutton controls the editorial direction of the site, which covers fashion, relationships, features celebrity interviews, and more. The site releases a new issue every Monday.

Deanna Sutton is making history … as the founder of one of the most successful online magazines for women of color. Using her educational and professional background in marketing and business, Sutton took two years to research her idea before launching Clutch, and judging from its success, her time was well spent.

What’s next for Deanna?

Sutton continues to oversee her magazine, getting user feedback and researching new trends in social media and content delivery.

In her own words …

“Know that success doesn’t come easy or fast, it can take years before your desired success comes to fruition,” she said in an interview with SistaSense. “Believe in yourself. If you don’t…nobody else will.”

A little-known fact about websites

Websites by and for women are experiencing rapid growth. There was a 35 percent growth in visitors to these sites in 2007 alone, reaching 84 million visitors, according to comScore.

For more information, click here.

Q: What’s next in this chapter of your life?

A: I’m really not sure. I am currently trying to figure that out – but whatever it is it’s going to allow me to spend more time with friends and family.

Q: What’s a fact about you that many people don’t know?

A: I’m not a writer. I have no background in journalism. My background is Marketing and PR. My friends and family as well as myself find it funny I am running online magazines. But, it’s cool – cause I am the audience and that makes it easier for me to figure out what our audiences want to read and see on our sites.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: “There are so many people out there who will tell you that you can’t. What you’ve got to do is turn around and say ‘watch me’.” – Unknown

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: My family and friends.

Q: Who are/were your mentors?

A: You know what – I use to believe in mentors – as I have grown up and learned lessons the hard way – I don’t believe in mentors. Looking back – my mentors were my parents – but I didn’t realize it at that time.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams?

A: You have to work hard and most of all be consistent.