Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Featured Artist: Easily Suede

What inspired you to start your business?

I was given a book of different shades of blue suede swatches and, remembering the belt that my next door neighbour - Auntie June - had made me when I was a kid way back in the 70's, I cut out lots of pieces and looped them together and voila I had myself a really cool belt. I wore it to work, people admired it and asked me where I'd bought it - I didn't think they were serious at first, but I went home that day with 3 orders. I bought some leather and just charged the belts at cost - at that point it never occurred to me to make some money out of it. So I carried on making the belts and a few months later decided to try and sell at a great local craft market and to my surprise sold lots of them - at a profit. I then started to make notebooks and manuscript covers and in August 2007 I was very lucky to spend a couple of days with Bill (Satchelman) and he taught me how to make bags - and oh my goodness, I haven't stopped making them since!!

How do you get the word out about your shop?

It's mainly word of mouth - my friends and colleagues are far better at promoting me than I am! I have postcards that I put on the noticeboards at work and have a regular stall at a craft market.

What's unique about your items or what do you want people to know about your work?

All the bags are hand stitched. Every inch! People at the markets usually ask 'do you have an industrial sewing machine to stitch the leather?' and they're always amazed when I tell them it's all done by hand. To be honest I can't work a machine, I bought one a couple of years ago and got so frustrated I nearly threw it into the back yard, so I gave it to my Mum!

What would you like us to know about your business?
That it's really just a hobby that has completely taken over my life! I just wish I could make a living from it and do it full-time.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

Spending time with my boy. Sunshine and blue skies. Having no regrets.

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, loyalty and integrity. And a wicked sense of humour.

What is your principle defect?
I'm a Virgo, therefore a perfectionist. I pick fault in everything I do.

In what country would you like to live?
Somewhere with long hot summers - Siesta Key, Florida or Sydney, Australia.

What is your present state of mind?

My head is so full of stuff at the moment - it's crazily busy at work, I'm in the process of buying a house, I've got orders to fill - but actually, that's how I like to be. So, yes I'm pretty content.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Obama Bag Mini Series

Obama Bag Story - Part 1
lynda zamora of armando javier design

So this is a story about a Mother – Son company called Armando Javier Design. Who like every other small company is ALWAYS looking to find the right item that appeals to the right woman, for the right price.

Sometime over the summer I came up with this idea to transfer newspaper headlines to one of my popular clutches. Well, it sold pretty quickly. I thought to myself, ‘hey make one of those again’ I never got around to it.

Well the election happened. This guy Barack Obama, he made history. A couple of days later, I get the idea again: Hey why not try that newspaper transfer idea with Barack Obama’s news headlines.

I made eight that week. Within one hour, I sold all of them to a boutique in Florida. Yes they have the first set of signed and numbered Obama Bags.

WOA. I thought I am on to something here. So I made some more. I showed them to my friends. Again, I sold them all.

WOA. Pretty soon I became the Obama Bag Girl. I could not keep up with demand.

Amongst many other places, I have sent many to England and Canada, one to Australia and one to Japan! I sent one to Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, Birmingham. Etsy is good for it's world wide appeal.

I sent one to Oprah. I got it back in the mail so fast, (within a week) my head spun. I sold it that night. So wasn’t too bummed out about the rejection!

Later that week, I get an email from the Style Writer at the Washington Post Express. They would like a bag for photography. They are doing a piece on unique Obama items the week of the 11th.

WOW. So I send it. WOW

Last week I get a call from Ebony Magazine. They would like some bags for photography as well. I was so excited, that I sent the bags with no note as to who to return them back too.

OOPSIE. I will write them a note this week, correcting that error.

I think I should send one to Joy Behar on the View. She would like my bag. I know she would.

There is more to write about this story, but I must get back to work. I don’t know whether to make 100 bags or 1000. I think maybe I will shoot for 150. Getting back to work now.

Now I know 7 hides makes about 100 bags. Phew….its was work getting that leather in the house to cut up. Poor Mando, he asks me if there is any leather to make his wristbands.

BOATLOADS Mando, BOATLOADS!!!!! maybe we should make some Obama wristbands...oooo now there is a thought

More later.