Clutch-Me.Com

Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

Shop transition

Dear loyal, wonderful Etsy and non-Etsy customers,

It is with great excitement and joy that I announce upcoming changes to my life and business.

Backstory:

I started my company in 2001 because I knew that re-entering the job market (after staying at home to have and raise babies) would be challenging at best.   And having had 3 kids in less than 4 years, one of whom is special needs, a full-time job was out of the question for my family.  So having been out of the workforce and looking for a part-time job became impossible when the economy took a nosedive in 2008.

I started with the jewelry business which is the last industry to recover in the recession.  I had success with handmade clutches as well.  It gave me flexibility to work at home and carve time to take my kids to school, activities, and therapies as needed.  After reading scam after scam for stay-at-home moms (selling vitamins, stuffing envelopes, beading … you name it), I was appalled by the vultures out there targeting women who needed to make some side income via a home-based job.  Feeling so blessed, I started to teach other women to learn this skill and provide the best supplies needed to start their own businesses with a very low start-up cost.

My business grew exponentially when I opened that business up to the world of Etsy.  Here is a market of craftspeople who were entrepreneurial, artistic, visionary, and hard-working!  With the growth on the Esty venue, I really focused my efforts in helping my handbag makers hone their skills, improve their marketing and sales venues, and I really strove to earn and keep their business.  The customer service aspect of my shop is 90% of the job.  Filling the orders really did not take my time:  answering convos, emails, and blogging took away the bulk of my time.  I do a lot of research and with my experience, I know a lot about the clutch handbag business.  I continue to pass this knowledge on (e.g trends with frames with loops and chains) and blog about it.

But I wouldn’t have had this success and start if it hadn’t been for my sister, Y (pronounced EE), who told me and introduced me to Etsy a couple of years ago.  She told me about this amazing venue and it was through her that I first heard about it.

Now:

My husband just got promoted to do marketing for his company in another country and we are excited to be moving our family for his new assignment.  We will be moving to Viet Nam and live there for 3 years.  It’ll be a cultural shock for him and the kids, I’m sure, and I’ll have my hands full moving our entire household.

That said, Y flew up here from Florida this week and has been working with me to fill your orders and learn about the business.  She will be in charge of the order fulfillment, packaging, shipping and all customer service questions related with your orders.

Moving forward:

I will handle all marketing and sales as it relates to the business.

Y will handle all operational aspects (shipping out orders).

How this will effect you:

It really shouldn’t at all.

You place an order, you receive your order, and your frames are still the same fine metal purse frames that has a  30-day FULL REFUND guarantee.

You will continue to convo me via Etsy or at my company’s email address that appears with every order.

The ONLY difference that you might see are:

*Any questions as related to the orders (e.g. did my order go through? when did you ship it? will I get my refund?) will be answered by Y as it should since she is the one getting the orders and shipping them out.

*Any custom listing for new orders will also be done by Y as it should since, again, she is in charge of shipping out the orders.

What’s the same:

* The 90% of the business that I have been providing:  all the blogging, marketing of your business, sales and market place trends … everything that I spend so much time doing.

I will continue to be on Etsy daily.  I will continue to be the voice, driver, and owner of WhileBabyNaps.Etsy.com, WhileBabyNaps.com, and Khuong LLC.  The voice you hear will be mine.

Effective date:

*Starting Feb. 1 all orders will be shipped from Y’s home studio in Florida.  You will see the return address coming from FL so all orders with a ship-to address of FL and NJ will be taxed accordingly.

Other changes:

*My other shop OhClutchMe.Etsy.com which had been featuring Y’s clutches has been put on vacation mode since her arrival here this week.  (Anyone notice that she was no longer listed as a seller on the Sellers page?)  She will no longer sell her clutches on Etsy as her style is really targeted for her local area and shops.

*The OhClutchMe.Etsy.com will become my demo shop. What this means is I will use that shop to showcase clutches that can be made from my frames.  One of my top questions is “what does this frame make?” “what will the finished clutch look like?”  So I will be making clutches and listing it on that shop only as demo products.  Note that this is not yet set in stone, as there’s lots to do before I even get to there and there are only 24 hours in a day!  🙂

My business slogan has always been “Putting Women in Business” and based on my own history that you now know, that’s what I will continue to strive to do.  All of my life’s work will be in helping other women, regardless of their personal circumstances, learn a skill that they can make money and is flexible enough for them to raise kids, perhaps work another job, or have other familial obligations.

I know that it takes money to make money. And if you are short on cash to start with, how are you ever going to make money?  That’s why learning to make clutches with its low start-up cost is a do-able business.  Entry fees for craft shows are often under $100.  There are often no fees for church or school fundraisers.

I will keep you abreast on any and all developments as I have done in the past.  While in Viet Nam, my plan is to source unique fabrics (e.g embroidered silks) that can only be found in Viet Nam for my customers here on Etsy to make unique, beautiful clutches.

Please email or convo me with your comments or concerns.  Until the next blog or convo, I want to thank you all for your wonderful, loyal, and supportive business.  I hope to keep earning your business.

And introducing … my sister, Y!

My sister Y

Warmly,

Winn

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January 15, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | | 1 Comment

Valentine’s Day clutches … do you have yours made?

For my Etsy shop owners, one of the key ways to get your products noticed is via the Treasury.  I highly recommend spending the time to create a Treasury.  As per the guidelines of Etsy, you can only feature one of your own items.  But it’s really worth it.

I’ve had a couple of Treasuries in which I featured other Etsy artisans and they’ve even made it to the front page of Etsy and sold that item!  I am a big believer in supporting other women and their work!

Several of the Treasuries that have made it to the front page within the last week have had Valentine’s Day as a theme.

Theme: LOVE

Theme: shades of pink

Theme: peach

Theme: red and gray

Theme: heart

So as you can see, Etsy is really pushing products that are geared for Valentine’s Day.

There are 3 things that you can do to take advantage of this marketing push by Etsy:

1.  Create clutches to sell for Valentine’s Day. Stick with what you know and what you are good at.  Some ideas include:  find a wonderful fabric with a splash of red, or embroider it with “LOVE” “dearest” or other like sentiments, or a red silk clutch embellished with Swarovski crystals.  Keep in mind that although you want to incorporate this Valentine’s Day theme, make a clutch that can be used for other times of the year and occasions such as a dinner date, brunch with the girls, or a night on the town.

2. Create a Treasury list featuring this clutch. Spend time to find other unique items on Etsy to round out your treasury.  Convo all the featured sellers to let them know and ask them to tweet it or share it with others.

3. Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Digg …), email, blogs or any other means to tell all your friends about your clutches available for Valentine’s Day gift giving.  Plant an idea in those guys’ heads!

I know it’s only the 2nd week in January, but you would be amazed at the number of items that sellers have already made and listed for sale for Valentine’s Day.  Get your shop ready!

January 10, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | | Leave a comment

Shout out to SELLERS on my whilebabynaps.etsy.com shop announcement

As I continue to get more hits on my blog — about 1000+ hits a month — the SELLERS page continues to be in the top 3 pages that is searched.  All the sellers listed have had referrals leaving my blog to go directly to their shops.

If you haven’t submitted yours, do check out the current sellers on there to see what they’ve done.

I am so impressed with the craftsmanship of these artisans.  I am so proud how many of you have taken my basic ( – yet thorough :))- PDF tutorial for making clutches and have flourished with your creations.  The creativity and techniques are amazing!

And I love that you stick to what you do best:

* Your photos are consistent in tone and look and quality

* Your clutches are within the creative style that you’ve picked.

* Your product listings do a great job explaining the fine work that went into making it.

You can look at all the sellers and see how unique each shop is.  Each artisan has really carved a niche out for herself.  Kudos to all of you!

Oh, the point of this post was to let you all know that I’ve updated my shop announcement to let inquirers find out how to find you sellers.  So here’s another way that I am supporting your work.:

Another way for my referrals to find you!

Just spreading the love!

Many love the idea of making a clutch, but few have the time.  So buying a kit will satisfy some, but some would rather buy a clutch already made.  There’s nothing like instant gratification!

So be sure you have enough in your store!

January 9, 2011 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | | Leave a comment

Selling your clutches at Arts and Crafts Fairs

Nothing is better for selling your handmade clutches than selling them yourself in person.  Customers are really buying your work from you:  it becomes a personal transaction!  One venue that I highly recommend is Arts & Crafts fairs.

Since posting this in my previous post on where to sell your clutches months ago, many of you have had great success at these arts and crafts shows.

With that in mind, here are my recommendations:

1.  Have plenty in stock to sell. Go into the show knowing that you will not sell out everything (and you shouldn’t):  you should have plenty for customers to pick and choose from.  Make it look like a real shop!  The saddest thing to see is an emaciated booth!

2.  Have differently sized clutches and price points. If all your clutches are cotton in the $65 range, that leaves opportunity on the table for someone who only wants to spend $40 on a gift to her mother-in-law.

3.  Have all your wrapping/packaging ready to make that transaction happen: tissues, bags, business cards, ribbon …

4.  Decide how you will accept payment and have that ready. Will you take cash?  Then have singles and fives and coins to make change.  Local checks?  Credit cards?  With merchant fees, credit card processing can be costly.  Look into alternatives such as Square at SquareUp.com where you can accept credit card payments using your mobile device.   (There are limits to this, so do check them out fully before the free installation.)

A small square device that you attach to your mobile device to accept credit card payments.

5.  Bring a friend to help and gift her a clutch or dinner as a thanks.  Your friend can help “man the booth” for potty breaks, snack breaks, coffee breaks … not to mention, you need someone greeting customers, answering questions, selling the clutches while you may be busy ringing up a sale and packaging it.

6.  Plan now for the shows by registering early for early-bird discounts. This will also benefit you in knowing who your audience is so you make the clutches to sell at the show!  Start getting your fabrics, frames, interface and all that you need to make your clutches.  Plan out the sizes, the fabric colors, the pricing … and buy in bulk so you get a volume discount.  As per my previous post, Joann’s has an amazing 50% any one cut of fabric sale until the end of January!

With this in mind, check your local city and community listings to see the local shows.  If you’ve never been a seller at a show, start locally.  You can also check any directories to see where the shows are near you.

http://www.craftsfaironline.com/region.html Great for viewing shows by geographical location.

http://festivalnet.com/ You can view directly by state with detailed listings that has direct links to the shows.

http://www.artfaircalendar.com/ Another good source for the ARTS fairs.

http://www.onewed.com/bridalshows/ LOVE this one for the bridal clutch market!  Who knew there’s 34 bridal shows in NJ alone?

http://www.greatbridalexpo.com/TourSchedule.aspx This is only for the Great Bridal Expo but they may be coming into your area.  It’s all encompassing for today’s bride.

This is not an exhaustive list, by any means.  Check your local Chamber of Commerce and the University of Google to find out!

Remember, choose well. Choose the right show for your clutches.  If you don’t do bridal clutches, it doesn’t make sense to pay for a table at a bridal show.

Lastly, on pricing:  everyone loves a good sale.   Have a sale on those days at the show for 10 – 20% off.  So price your clutches 10-20% above what you would sell it (prior to the discount).

Be flexible to offers.  If a clutch is listed at $45 and someone offers you $35 … what would you do?  I would counter with $40 and a smile!  🙂  That customer will feel like she got a good deal and you will have a sale.

Good luck to all!  ~Winn

January 8, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , | 9 Comments

BIG sale is up! Don’t pass it up!

New markdowns and discounts are up.  Please check it out:

Shop rearranged with sales listed on the first page!

You will see that I’ve taken all the prices of these two nickel-free frames with loops to the lower tier and slashed the prices.

I really want you to take advantage of this great offer and introduce the latest craze in the clutch handbag category:  frames with loops.

Of course, you can find coordinating nickel-free chains under the “Purse Chains” section on the left hand side.  They come in 2 sizes:  clutch handbag size of 14.5″ and the newer shoulder length or cross body size of 45.5″.

Another idea that some customers have done is using ribbons!  You can also bead your ribbons to further embellish it.  Some have also used braided leather.  The creativity is pretty amazing. 🙂

Prices are marked and lowered so check out is a breeze.  No need to wait for a refund from my Etsy shop.  Those on my webstore will get a refund as per usual.

January 6, 2011 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | Leave a comment

8×3 Nickel-free with loops on sale!

January sale is here!  To coincide with Joann’s sale that is going on right now (amazing 50% OFF any one cut of fabric), I’m offering a sale off of my popular nickel-free frames with loops!

I call these my “2-in-1” frames because you have the option to use the loops or not, giving your customers 2 looks from 1 clutch!

You have 2 styles to choose from:

8×3 nickel-free purse frame(TM) with kisslock and loops:

Prices discounted to the same as nickel-free kisslock!

OR 8×3 nickel-free frame(TM) with EleganceLock(TM) with loops:

Price discounted to the same as nickel-free kisslock!

Prices will be up and changed tomorrow.  They will be priced the same as the 8×3 nickel-free kisslock frames.

Take advantage of this great offer.  You have the option to use the loops or not.  When not in use, the loops lay nicely inside the clutch.

Shown with loops not in use.

With the extra raw materials and labor needed to adhere the loops to the frames, frames with loops will always cost more to make than those without.  While non-looped frames continue to sell out well, everyone is trying frames with loops these days.  It really is an added nice touch for your customers.  It’s a nice addition to your line of clutches!

I will endeavor to have the new prices by noon EST tomorrow.  (I’m burning the midnight oil right now …)  You can convo me for a custom listing if you’re in a hurry.

To see the new discounted lower prices during this offer, take a look at the regular nickel-free kisslock frames and know that they’ll be priced the same.

Offer good until … 1/13/10 midnight EST.  All prices will then revert to their pre-sale levels.

January 6, 2011 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | 1 Comment

Etsy shop redesign

Good morning and what a great way to start a New Year here from New Jersey:  the sun is out and has been melting what’s left (still a whole bunch) from the blizzard.  I’m sure you’ve all heard about our Governor Christie vacationing with his family at Disney World while NJ was hit with its biggest blizzard in decades!

So I’ve been housebound and having been sick as well, I’ve willingly handed the parenting duties over to my hubby who took care of all 3 kids and walked the dog!

With all this ‘free’ time, I’ve finally gotten around to redesigning my shop.  What a major undertaking.  Please check it out:

New categories on the left!

Thank you all for your comments on how to improve my shop.  I took it into consideration and so far, this is the result from your many feedback.  I feel privileged that you will tell me what you need!  I hope this helps you all find the inventory much better.

At any time, you can convo me for a custom listing.  I don’t mind doing the legwork and I can combine the shipping upfront and you don’t have to wait for the refund.

Some changes to the shop:

1.  New categories on the left: I’ve grouped all the 8×3 frames together, but differentiated them by the quantities.  There are no sections for special finishes as they are all grouped in the 8x3s!

2. Standardized the contents in the pics. This is good for visually-oriented learners who learn more quickly by seeing than by reading or hearing.  For example, all Skinny Bride(TM) frames have a distinct wording and look to their pics.  (All other 8×3 frames are in Perfect Fit 6(TM) u-channels.)

Skinny Bride(TM) with EleganceLock(TM)

Skinny Bride(TM) kisslock with loops

3. Standardized the Product Titles to be more clear.  I’ve shortened the titles quite a bit.

4. Noted the volume discount up front in all the bulk listings. This will help those who ask what is the volume discount for a set of X, for instance.  Every frame listing also gives the volume discount in great detail.

5. Redirect back to the shop home page in each frame listing to help you get back quickly to find what you are looking for.

As always, keep your comments coming and email me any time!

January 3, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | Leave a comment

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