Featured in a Treasury

My Ikea print bag is now being featured in a Treasury on Etsy called Magic Forest. I love being featured so go check it out and post a comment

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c7010ec28256d9193bdf546/magic-forest

Jacqueline

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New Developments

I’ve had a rather productive few days. I’ve finally got my sewing mojo back after loosing it from lack of sales. I decided that people needed to see new things from me so I’ve been creating non stop for three days.
So far I’ve done some new lower price accessories to entice people to keep visiting my shop. These include a floral themed headband in orange (pictured below) and a turqoise bangle with fabric roses in Ultramarine blue, black and turqoise (Spring/Summer ’10’s hottest colour)
Orange Rose Headband
I’ve also begun some more complicated bags including a blue leopard clutch with a woven flap (it’s REALLY cool)

Not only am I set on making some new product I also have a new outlet for my fabulous bags which is Tango on George St. owned by Rebeca who aproached me after seeing my shop on Etsy.
This is all rather exciting to me but I kindof wish it had been this way earlier in the summer. Oh well not much I can do about it now except keep plugging away. As long as I’m busy sales will come.

Jacqueline

A Real Job

As September is looming down on me once again it is time for me to secure a “real job” for the school year. This makes me kind of sad because I will once again have a fixed schedule and creativity will be discouraged. However this year I am determined to get a job at a place where I can actually learn something about the fashion industry besides how to fold t-shirts (fold the sleeves in and fold the end twice to display the front nicely)

However, it always seems there is a trade off with this type of job. I can pretty much guarantee that it will pay me nothing. (It’s supposed to be a chance to gain experience and growth. Now having a good job is nice, but having money is also nice. Especially since right now I have negative money the dreaded D word (debt) So I’ll either have to be resigned to a job that doesn’t pay in money that I like, or a job that pays well that I hate. (would you like fries with that).

I’ve already applied to a retail job a a cute boutique in Toronto so I hope that I get that job I think it would be great. I’m also hoping that they might take on some of my bags as a favor and maybe actually make me some money. You never know.

I’m sure i’ll work it out somehow but I’ll likely be hugely stressed out for the next eight months. Hooray.

JacquelineSparkle denim hobo bag on blue chair

a tiny bit discouraged

There was a space in time when I was selling bags. I remember it, it wasn’t a dream (I think) but lately I seem to have hit the wall. No sales for the last 3 weeks.

To attempt to combat this screeching halt in sales I’ve approached several stores in an attempt to have my bags in more places to be seen by more people. However, I seem to be getting no where. I think maybe it’s the time of year, every store I go to the owner seems to be away on vacation or in the case of the last store I approached. actually selling their store and not ordering any more inventory. A lot of them seem interested, but not right now.

Maybe this is just normal ebb and flow but as I’m going back to school in the fall it doesn’t really bode well for me. Oh well I guess I’ll just start thinking up some new ideas and hope for a miricle

Jacqueline

Huge Relief

Last month I had a sale on Etsy. I was so excited and i packaged up my bag, put a free fabric bow on it and skipped on down to the post office to deliver it. I then waited to hear back from my buyer when she received it.

And I waited, and waited, then two weeks later I heard from her asking where her bag was! I was panicked I sent her a note saying that maybe it was just held up at customs and I nervously waited to hear from her again. Then after a full MONTH she finally received her bag. I was so glad because just the day before I had been planning to bring another bag up on my camping trip to NY and ship it to her. That would have meant I would have LOST a lot of money on that sale.

As scary as this episode was I realized that from now on I HAVE to include tracking numbers on all the orders I ship out because that way at least I can guarantee the buyer that it has been shipped and where it currently is.

I hope I never have a scare like this again because I just about died of a heart attack at the age of 20 (I don’t think my parent’s would have appreciated this with all the money they’ve put into my education)

Jacqueline

Networking

People always tell me that networking is important, that it grows your business and encourages potential customers. All this is true, however it’s nice when you find someone through networking that can actually help you improve your product. This past week I was at my grandparents and I met a very nice older lady named Carol. It turns our Carol LOVES to do machine embroidery. Now this doesn’t really seem like something to get excited over, except that I’ve been wanting to get tags for my bags for awhile now to help expand brand awareness when I sell through other shops.

Now since Carol loves embroidery she agreed to do some tags for me. And not only that, since she likes doing this she isn’t even going to charge me for anything but materials! This is very exciting to me because the whole reason that I don’t have tags is that when you order them through professional companies they make you buy 1000 tags as your first order! I’m not going to use that many tags this summer so it just seems silly to have that many.

So thanks Carol for doing this huge favor for me and I once again learned that networking helps.

Jacqueline

Selling on Consignment

sparkle denim hobo purseI’ve been selling my bags actively for two months now, and so far my most successful way of doing this is through consignment with a local shop. I’ve been trying the internet, but it takes a lot of effort to keep everything at the top of lists, to update it etc. I’ve also tried tables at local markets and events and they’ve all been a huge waste of time and money.

So far I’ve been getting my most consistent sales from consignment. I go in once a week to check out how they are selling and every time I’ve gone in they’ve sold one. I think it has something to do with the established nature of retail stores. Even local boutiques seem to project a more reliable and trustworthy image than my little booths. I think people take my product more seriously in a shop than they did when it was me doing the selling.

I also think that Markets here in town weren’t the right market for my product. People who went to the local market weren’t really looking to buy something (I know that sounds crazy but it’s true, people would tell me they hadn’t brought any money!)

So in conclusion I think that the best way to establish yourself as a brand is to sell through someone else first.

Jacqueline

Canadian Shipping and why it sucks

Since part of my retail business is internet based through Etsy.com I have recently become aware of the giant rip off that is Canada Post. When I have purchased things online from a US supplier I paid very little for shipping (under 5$) and I even had something shipped from singapore for less than it costs me to ship something even inside Canada.

The problem is that for me to ship one of my bags in an envelope with NO TRACKING NUMBER it costs $7. Now this isn’t much more than what it costs to ship from the US, the REALLY BIG PROBLEM is shipping in Canada. What if I told you that to ship in the country that I live in it is going to cost me $14! that’s almost as much as it costs to buy one of my bags. So Canadian consumers are essentially paying DOUBLE just because it costs so much for me to ship.

The other problem is the slot of doom. That tiny little slot, where if your package doesn’t fit you get to pay twice as much to ship it. Mine all fit through the slot thank god but if it didn’t I’d be taking a serious haircut on profits to ship things or I’d have to make my customers pay more. Is that fair I ask you? I don’t think so.

I just don’t understand why it is such a difference in price between 2 countries that are right beside each other and why it costs more to ship in our own country.

I think we need to band together and tell Canada Post that enough is enough! We want better shipping rates. And while they are at it those awesome flat rate shipping boxes that they have in the States would be nice too.

Jacqueline

My first sales

White Ikea Print Hobo Purse

It finally happened! Today I found out about my first two sales to non family/friends. I woke up this morning (at the shameful hour of  11:00am) and checked my e-mail to find out that while I was peacefully slumbering in my comfortably bed my Etsy site had been hard at work making me my first internet sale! I am very excited about this because I’ve been sitting around thinking that all my time on etsy was just a waste and that perhaps all this listing and re-listing as well as promoting myself on the forums wasn’t getting me anywhere and that maybe I should just let it be for a while. Well clearly all that work I put into it has indeed payed off! I am now not just a national manufacturer/retailer I have now made a sale to someone who, without the internet would never have had any access at all to my product.

After I found out about this I felt very energized and so since my mother was already going out to Fabric Land to get oil for her serger (to help me with my bags) I decided to go and check on how my consignment efforts were going at the local store I’ve picked to stock my bags (the Benevolent Stranger on Hunter St.) and yesterday they made a sale for one of my bags too!

Tomorrow I have a table booked at a local music festival so I think that the mojo’s finally on a roll and that tomorrow’s going to be just as great as today was. I have optimism and that’s what’s going to make sure that this all works out (plus I’m adding pockets to my bags)

Jacqueline

I stepped out of my comfort zone BEST RESULT EVER

Now I know that this is crazy, we live in an age where we use technology to communicate all the time and the phone has been around since long before I was born. However even though I know it is irrational I have an odd uneasyness about calling people on the phone. I would much rather send them an e-mail or facebook them. Talking to people in person is no problem for me and oddly when someone calls me I have no problem answering the phone. But making a phonecall now that puts a cold sheen of sweat on my forehe

So on Wednsday I decided that this whole fear was totally stupid and I shouldn’t let it impact my business by making me incabable of getting my bags into a store on consignment. So I called up a bunch of stores and one said they would take consignment. As a result of this yesterday I marched into the store in question (no problem with this though possibly because I had an overabundance of caffine in my system from the medium IcedCap I’d had that morning) and I pulled out all my bags and said you know you want these awsome bags. And you know what SHE DID! she took TEN! I haven’t been able to sell one out at the market and here an actual store owner thought that my bags were good enough to try and sell ten in her store!

So conclusion stepping outside your comfort zone can sometimes lead to really greate things that you really hoped for but didn’t count on at all! From now on I’m not going to let my wierd phone fear control me . I now control the phone.

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