Monday, February 23, 2009

The Obama Bag Mini Series part II

Obama Bag Story Part II

Right place, right time? Networking is the key to success? Hard work pays?

These are all things that we hear all of our lives. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I am a doubter ( I need to stop that).

I was a presenting artist at the Columbus Winterfair, I got a lot of interest, but not many buyers. The economy has just been really rough. I broke even. Many of the artists there barely broke even. Poor sales = rough economy.

The following weekend I did a very small show at a local Salon, DJ’s Art a Palooza. I almost didn’t do it. I was exhausted from the four day art show. I just didn’t have enough energy.

I made myself go and set up. I met a lot of really nice artists, some of them will be friends for life. Not a lot of people came through that weekend, but one person did that changed things for me. I will call her Miss Rhonda.

Miss Rhonda really liked my Obama Clutch and thought that a friend of hers who happens to work at Ebony Magazine would love it. She suggested that I send a bag to her, and I did.

Sometimes you just have to go on faith, a lot of work goes into making that bag, and it’s hard for me to just give it away as a result. I had to just trust that the bag would get to Ms. Norment, and that she would love it. As most people do!


New Years Eve, and I am on my way to the Russian liquor store (no one there speaks English) to get a bottle of Vodka. Hey it's New Years Eve, I am not drinking soda! As I am leaving my little house in Bexley, I get a call from Ms. Norment at Ebony. I had to sit down.

She tells me that the Obama Makes History Clutch is exquisite (yes, those were her exact words) She wanted more bags for photography.

My feet did not touch the ground on the way to Boxmaster on Broad Street. I chased and tried to pass the Federal Express truck as I knew it was headed to Boxmaster and I wanted to beat it.

Broad Street is too congested for a race, so I resigned myself to following the truck. He was kind enough to wait while we got the bags packaged for their big trip to Chicago.

I was so excited I forgot a return address. OOPS.

Time passes, and the day after my birthday (of which I completely forgot it was my birthday) I get a call from Ms. Norment (who has since retired) and she wants to interview me about the bag, how its made, a little about myself, and she indicates that the article will be in the March issue of the Magazine.

Yaya. I did the ‘happy dance’ in my office all by myself.

Since its release, I have been so hit by orders, all I do is make Obama. I have a friend Larry Conroy who is helping me ink the bags now. Larry is a clothing designer and made it as far as meeting Heidi Klum in New York for Project Runway.

I try to ship them within a week although I ask for 3 weeks delivery just in case.

I am having a lot of fun, and I am talking to women all over the country who call to tell me they love their bag.

I have never worked so hard in my life. I work a full time job in IT and then I come home and work my night job. Design work is my passion. I love it, so I don’t mind working from sun up to sun down!

One of my biggest business goals this year is to pay cash for a Toyota Minivan, and a website. I have a photographer and a model, and I need to find a really good web designer.

Let’s just say, I am halfway to paying cash for the Toyota minivan!

Hard work pays! Right Place, Right Time! and Network, Network, Network. Doubt no more!

Best of all, my son Mando who makes leather wristbands is very proud of me.

There will probably be a part III

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Featured Artist: Anvil Art Shop

Custom design website:
B&M gallery: (coming in June!)

How long have you been in business?
Since 1992.

What inspired you to start your business?
I originally planned to study costume design, but FIT didn't have any courses in that field so I switched majors to eveningwear/apparel. I've been designing gowns and couture suits for diplomats and CEOs ever since, then added custom leather jackets and handbags about three years ago.
How do you get the word out about your shop?
I work best with referrals from existing clients. Having couture clothing designed for you is a very personal -- and often lengthy -- process that doesn't suit everyone's lifestyle. In my online Etsy shop, I do a lot of Alchemy (custom) requests for leather handbags. Since my specialty has always been custom work, this has been a good fit for my work so far. I also started a blog this year, but I see it more as a fun way to share a "behind the scenes" viewpoint with clients and friends, than as advertising.

What’s unique about your items or what do you want people to know about your work?
My gowns have been worn to the White House and Buckingham Palace, but I'm just as happy when a disabled client tells me that my designs make her feel beautiful again. :)

What would you like us to know about your business?
I design with leather, silks and delicate beadwork but I'm usually found working in jeans, handknit sweaters, and boots.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Free time to spend with my husband. He makes me laugh, makes sure I remember to eat, and puts up with my artistic temperament.

What do you most value in your friends?
I value them more than they probably realize, for still being there after all these years. I'm terrible at keeping in touch.

What is your principal defect?
I get too absorbed in my work -- the highs and lows of working out a new design become reflected in my own moods, and that's never good.

In what country would you like to live?
I love being a Canadian, living in Canada. Every time I travel, I like coming home the best.

What is your present state of mind?
Wishing I had more hours in the day!