I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the question “What is my style?”
There are some other handbag designers on Etsy that when you see a photo of one of their bags you instantly know who’s it is before you see the sellers name. I want that same brand recognition.
Finding your style is the fun part of the journey. I’ve been crafting my bags for 2.5 years and I’ve explored many styles of bags in the ultimate pursuit of finding my style.
The past can sometimes provide guidance for the future
Recently, I returned to a journal entry that I wrote over a year ago. I was given the opportunity to have a meeting in my studio with Liz Conover. Read her Linked-in profile and you will see why this was an amazing opportunity for me. The best part of that meeting had nothing to do with business. I was able to see just how sweet and utterly sensational she is. I’ve seen her at a few other events since this meeting and she has such a warm personable charisma (as does her husband Udi) that you just can’t help but want to be around them.
I digress but was necessary to explain the next part. She is a consultant for the highest end market of handbags and fashion. That said, she is a supporter of grass-roots efforts, Eco-friendly ideas and being yourself without compromise. Having a full on vision of where you want to be in five and even ten years. Is your life about bags or being the caretaker of your family. That is to say do I want sitters, long hours, vacations, and time with family.
You can’t honestly give it all, to all facets at the same level, I have to share my time with my business, my family, and me. In other words finding my ratio. All of these need to be considerations for growing your business. Whether or not you hire help or outsource any responsibilities is another consideration. Also, is this a business that I’d want to sell in 1o years.
Another important part of our conversation was more about the type of bags that I create. As I said, I’ve tried many designs in part to see what I like and in other to see what my fans/customers like. So when Liz and I spoke a year ago she said to me you are not preppy, preppy is plain and boring. You are unique and whimsical. That my items are not mass-produced and that I put detail in every stitch. The colors and color combination are outstanding and that I combine colors that your mom said you shouldn’t. That I am totally a spin-off from the 1950′s.
So needless to say I was floating after this conversation and sort of put aside the most important part. She told me to be me always me and that I should never compromise who I am or change for another person. Bag lesson and life lesson. As I said, she is sensational.
My personal style
My clothing style is a clash of preppy boring and sustainable. I only wear solids but especially when I get dressed up, I am all 1950′s and vintage (but mostly solids). Generally I seek out cottons, a whimsical feel (but not print) with ballet style tops but sometimes you’ll see me in a blue polo sweater and pink shorts but not everyday. I do like to accessorize with something fun like a bold belt, pink shoes (atypical), scarves, pearls, bracelets and fun handbags.
I know that when I design I take a risk that I will lose fans & customers but that happens from time to time even with big store chains. I take a look at their color palate for the season and sometimes I swoon and other times I run for the hills.
I like that I change and evolve with new ideas that meet my lifestyle as many others share the same style. I don’t just make one thing and stick with it, I always keep trying new things. Sometimes they work and other times they do not.
A recent design element that I want you to weigh in on
I believe that I have found my style and what I love most. I love embroidered elements. The time and skill that it takes to complete such intricate designs all by hand. I am not hip with the machine embroidered design. They are fine but not for me. You can tell the difference and I like that someone toiled endlessly to draw and then stitch by hand the fine little details that make an item certainly unique. As my daughter said when she was 6, it is the love that you put in it that makes it special.
Unfortunately my other half dislikes embroidery. His preference is my burlap designs with fabric band across the front, sometimes a grosgrain ribbon but usually that is too much for him.
I trust his judgement as we’ve done a lot of design work together. We argue quite a bit about design and we do disagree from time to time but most often we see eye to eye and our combined style is pretty nice I think. If you’ve been to my house, it is not just my thumbprint but a collective of both of our ideas on design, decorating, and photography.
I’ve not abandoned my burlap design and it is still one of my favorites. So he need not worry. I still want to make them but sometimes a girl needs options.
Enter…my new designs for the winter with the following features:
1. Wool, Tweed, Corduroy (we both like these fabrics)
2. Brightly colored whimsical interiors (same, we both like them)
3. The loop and button (me)
4. The embroidery (my favorite element and his least favorite)
Of course, I still do custom work so if you liked an idea of wool without an embroidery feature or you wanted a different color fabric that is always an option unless it is one of my OOAK designs and I have no more of that particular fabric.
What other elements of my designs that are my favorite
1. Burlap designs
2. Winter designs that are neutral with a pop of color
3. Winter colors that are bold, bright and whimsical like the purple flower tote
4. Spring designs with a whole lot of color
5. Short handles as I am not a shoulder bag girl
6. Small totes and honestly even my large totes are pretty small but no more weekenders or full on mom diaper bags
7. Wood handles may come back in the Spring
Thanks for taking the time to read but here is what I need from you.
What are your likes and dislikes about the colors, embellishments, size, shape, anything really?
I need your feedback to help me stay on track. Yes a large part of the design process is what do I like to make but if I am the only one that likes them, then my sales will reflect that and certainly that is not the road I want to travel.
peace, love and happiness,
Here are a few of the designs I mentioned
Winter Collection 2011