I’ve been reading stories about brides getting married on 12/12/12, and my dear friend Yvonne is one them! And that reminded me of the elegant clutches made by Cynthia at Belle Jou Jou. Her massive collection is just chockful of clutches made with sumptuous materials like lace, satin, silk and brocade.
But it’s just not bridal clutches. Belle Jou Jou has over 7 pages of clutches at the shop so the selection is quite good for the picking.
Go check Cynthia’s clutches out! I hope you find that perfect gift for the loved one on your list!
Hi!!!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! :) We’ve had our first Christmas here in Vietnam and my 9-year old said that it was “the best Christmas EVER”. We brought along our trusty Christmas tree from Costco (and all of our other furniture and furnishings) and put up stockings on our electric fireplace mantel. It worked to preserve and continue our Christmas traditions. The kids were worried Santa wouldn’t know where they lived in Vietnam (they assumed New Jersey was well-known by Santa and his elves) and the fact that we have no chimney for Santa … but thanks to Norad, Elf the movie, and some great books to help explain it all. Oh, the magic of Christmas!
During the holidays, International schools here let kids out for three weeks in order for expat families to return back to their home countries. And since the kids and I only got here in July, we stayed here during the holidays. After celebrating 30+years of snowy and cold Christmases in the Midwest and NJ, it felt really weird not having the cold weather for Christmas! I’m sure that is nothing new to those in the warm climates though.
Here’s my family holiday card to you all. E-card this year via Smilebox!
So with 3 kids home, you can imagine what little work I’ve got done. But thank goodness for my sisters, Thy and Y who have been working quite hard. Thy missed Christmas altogether due to illness! She’s on the mend but her little one who’s only 4, is just recovering from another bout of something! I miss the cold but I do not miss cold & flu season.
Oh, I’m a couple weeks late and giving you the news but I just want to let you all know that the 12×3.5 nickel-free frames are back in stock. This one is a bit hard to manufacture and carry since it’s our costliest frame with all the iron and the large surface making a superb finish harder to achieve. But with winter here and winter bags, this large, heavy and sturdy frame is ideal for the big bags. This frame has been used to make the bigger carry-all bag. It can support leather, vinyl, upholstery-weight and other heavier fabrics. I designed a wide u-channel to accommodate both the heavier, thicker fabrics and the fusible interface/fleece. The walls of the u-channel were also designed to be higher. Check them out!
My internet connection has also been very frustratingly troublesome. I get very slow service and when I do, I get disconnected frequently. I have a fiber line but it gets throttled due to the servers here. :( Makes for long hours and a low productivity rate. Alas, I will be back to sewing once I clear out a few things off my desk!
So since the kids went back to school today (yay, thank you teachers!), I will be able to work more (yay, my sanity returns!). Love my kids, but I miss working. Miss you all! Thanks for your messages!!
Hoping you all are healthy for 2012!
Just read a quick article in USA Today’s Travel section. Thought you might like to check these excellent craft shops out.
As you can see, these craft shops are trending up so if you are near, go take a look! See what crafts are displayed. If the store’s aesthetics fit, inquire about having them display several of your handmade, one-of-a-kind clutches! It would be a great coup!
Check out the list of the top 10 places to shop for crafts by clicking on the pic below:
Have a great weekend everybody!
WOW! I can’t thank you guys enough for all the wonderful and heartfelt “welcome back” notes in via the convos and “Message to Seller” in your check outs. Thank you, again, for the thoughts and prayers for our Grandma. And thank you, for your loyalty during our shop closure to tend to our family.
Oh, thought you might like this pic of my son Ethan showing his Great Gram pictures of family on the iPad. She was like “This thing takes pictures? This records videos, too? It must be really expensive.” When I told her how much the iPad was, she said “I can buy a lot of land with that!”
Many of you have asked about our 20% OFF total purchase sale and specifically taking rainchecks for items currently out of stock or sold out. I wanted to clarify it for those still unclear. Just like any brick-and-mortar retailer, I also offer a raincheck. What does this mean for you?
*A “raincheck” is when you pay at a sale price for item(s) that are not currently in stock or are sold out due to the sale. In other words, if the shop had those items, you’d be able to cart it out with you to the minivan (or insert cool ride you have here). What, I’m the only with a minivan?? :) I digress … but since they don’t have said item(s) (not your fault) you still qualify for the sale price, but you’ll just get those items when they come back into stock.
*Sale ends at midnight EST on November 20, 2011.
*… BUT with Etsy’s convo system and the nature of the back-and-forth communication of custom orders, I am allowing for convos asking for a custom listing with details on what you want sent in by that deadline to qualify for the 20% off sale. Even if we do not nail down 100% what you want, you will qualify as that was submitted before the deadline. It’s as if you’re at the store and there are long lines and only 2 registers open, and you’re the 8th person in line with a cart full of things and the shop will close in 10 minutes. But once your Custom Listing is up, you must pay within 48 hours or your order will be cancelled. (We convo you with a link to let you know that your custom listing is up.)
*Your order will be shipped altogether in one shipment when they all come in. (4-6 weeks). If you want to break the order up and ship them as they are available (same shipping options that Amazon allows), your shipping costs will go up accordingly. Just let us know. We will only charge what it costs to ship, not the time spent to ship multiple packages.
One more note, thank you for your loyalty and orders. I want to reiterate clearly that this sale of this magnitude only happens once a year on the anniversary of my shop (11/11). Under the legal guidelines, I cannot extend the sale to orders placed, paid or shipped prior to the sale, and it will not be extended past the end of the sale (barring the note about convos submitted by the deadline above). If you have a Custom Listing that has been made per your request, please pay ASAP. All custom listings not paid after the sale will be deleted.
Please keep in mind Christmas time and gift giving: start making your clutches and have them ready to sell for Black Friday. I would highly recommend planning your order and ordering what you need. Remember that as long as they are unused and in same new condition as was shipped to you, if you have excess that you want to return or you simply changed your mind, I accept returns for any reason for 30 days. You will get a full refund minus the shipping fees paid. Unfortunately, no exceptions can be made to the sale terms. So please plan well and order OR convo us with what you need.
Now, once I get out from under this mountain of to-do’s, I will be shopping for fabric. YAY! Something to look forward to! I will take pics. I will sell the fabric. I’ll get on it. It’s on my list … several of you have asked and I thank you for liking my taste!
With fall around the corner in the US, you might want to get ahead of the curve and get your Fall Collection planned out. I see that many of you have already started your fall lines by ordering Gutermann glue and purse frames. Next is the fabric!
As I’ve mentioned in my many previous posts, I will be looking for fabrics while residing here in Viet Nam for my short 2.5 years! And good news guys … I’ve hit the mother-load! Let me explain.
The traffic here consists of pedestrian, bicycles, automobiles, motorcycles, and about 50% of the entire traffic is motorbikes or motor-scooters. They are not as powerful as the motorcycle, and are similar to the branded Vespas that you would see in Europe, for example. This picture captures it all beautifully:
That said, my husband’s employer provides our family with a rental car and driver. There’s no way expats can take the test and drive over here (especially when we are only here for a short period of time). In addition, vehicles are prohibitively expensive. Whatever you would pay for in the US for your vehicle, double that price for here!
And to get to my original point of this post – the fabric – it turns out that our driver used to fix sewing machines and knows ALL the fabric mills in the city!!!
When the kids are attending school in August, I will be able to shop in earnest. I’m so excited to see the silks, cottons, and hand-embroidered fabrics. This place is Etsy come to real life: all are handmade by artisans!
Here’s a pic I snapped of one fabric shop. Look at the variety!
Like you going through the bolts at Joanne’s, I will have to dig through to find the designs and styles that are really magnificent and remarkable! I generally hate shopping but I can spend all day looking at fabric.
Here’s how shopping can look like over here — barely enough room through maneuver through but it’s worth the hunt!
So head out and start your journey for fabrics for your clutches. With new offerings for fall, this is a great way to freshen up your shop to prevent it from being too stale: give your customers a reason to take another look!
1. Plan out your Fall collection and colors. Read Vogue, Marie Claire, Lucky, InStyle … any of the national magazines and find the trends that are being reported. What clutches can you sell that will compliment your buyers’ fall palettes? Last I heard, lace is in for this fall.
2. Start your fabric search and look for the colors and fabric designs that you want for your Fall Collection. Remember to save fabrics with big, bold designs for your bigger clutches and bags. The fabrics with smaller motifs can be used for the smaller clutches, wallets and coin purses.
3. Go back to your stock of fabric and pull from those any remnants that can compliment as well. I only throw the smallest of my fabric away. I keep it all! I use the smallest pieces that I can no longer find for use in the Snappy(TM) Wallet Clutch: the ID pocket needs only a tiny rectangle of beloved fabric! I also use slightly bigger pieces as lining for my coin purse clutches!
4. Lay out your frames and mix and match inner and outer fabrics with the different frames. This allows you to visually see what your boutique or online shop will look like when you’re done. You will see where you may be short on one size purse frame or short on a certain fabric, and you will have time to buy as needed.
Shops that have a cohesive and strong aesthetic really do well. Shops that offer willy-nilly don’t do as well, because the customers get confused. Brand identity is so important and critical to shops. Shops that stick to what they are good at and that exhibit great craftsmanship do really well.
And remember to take good pics! If it takes you 3 minutes to take a good picture of each clutch, remember that 2 minutes of 45 seconds of that should be spent setting up the shot: lighting, positioning, focusing …. and then snap! I see lots of clutches that are shot poorly. Why spend all your time and effort in making the clutch only to ruin the chances of selling it by having a bad photo?
For those of you who own your own boutique or sell in your local boutique, spend the time to have it displayed in a nice case with good lighting. Have the display ones be the ones that customers can touch and feel and open, but be sure to sell them the unopened and tissue-wrapped one. After the display sample has been handled, remember to wipe off fingerprints and lightly dust the fabric.
Hope your summer is going well! Oh …. one last thing! Pax is here! He’s been here for a week and has adjusted splendidly. Just like in NJ, Pax hops in the van when we go shopping! (Pax gets to stay in the van with the AC on with our driver while the kids and I run in to get groceries.) Everywhere we go, every day and every time that I walk him, he gets attention! He’s a superstar here. His breed (goldendoodle) is non-existent here. I don’t even think anyone has even seen a poodle, much less a golden doodle. So they ask:
*Is he a goat?
*Do you perm his hair?
*Where is he from?
The van is usually surrounded by 4-6 people looking at Pax! I feel like I’ve got Lindsey Lohan or some other starlet in there! :) LOL. And everyone who comes in contact with him just loves him to pieces. Everything just seemed to fall into place upon Pax’s arrival. That loud sound of exhaling? That’s me! Here’s a pic of Hayley with Pax.
That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon!
I am known for my plain ‘ol rectangular frame. Nothin’ fancy to look at folks.
But there’s a reason to my madness after all: it was designed to be neutral so that your art, your creativity, your fabrics and your embellishments can stand out — and not my frames.
I’ve often said that while I think my frames are the best there is, they are designed to be just that – to frame your work. I do not want to detract from the true part of the clutch and that is the part where your artistry comes in.
I recently did a photo album of red clutches to promote my handbag makers for Valentine’s Day on the Facebook fan page. All used my fine frames, but look at the variety!
Just a note on FB’s redesign of fan pages: it does not allow the wall posts to be listed chronologically. It’s nonsensical and I hope it will be changed.
But never fear! Please know that every wall post of a clutch gets hundreds of post views. It shows up on search engines and a lot of people stumble upon it. I am happy to have noticed that there have been clutches that have appeared on the wall that have been sold. Several have been sold many times over.
So keep posting your clutches on the wall at your pleasure. And I’ll do my best to keep promoting your work!