Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

Fabric shopping for fall!

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:

You've got it all in here. Loose rules that can leave you wondering just how everyone manages to make it from one side to the other!

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!

Every inch is covered with all kinds of fabric imaginable!

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!

The bazaar! Shoppers are very gracious but the sellers are quite pushy! All Westerners and expats have virtual targets on their face$!

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.

Pax petered out after our morning walk. It's cooler here than the current heatwave in the US! He loves lounging on Hayley and on the cold tile floor.

That’s all for now.  I’ll be back soon!


July 24, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips, WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Settling in our new home for 3 years!

Thanks to all who convo’d or emailed asking how I’ve been doing.  As most of you have known since January, my husband was relocated to Viet Nam and had been working there since this March.  The kids and I have finally joined him after the school year was done and I’m pleased to say … we’re finally here!

Where is here?  Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

Our household furnishings will arrive in 2 months so I’m blogging and working while sitting on the tile floor or on what little rental furniture we have.  But my dream of living where I can wear flip-flops year round is finally here.  I just didn’t count on the mosquitoes though!  🙂

Here are some pics.  Enjoy and as soon as I can get WiFi hooked up and my regular Mac desktop plugged into that, I can really start working again.  The sewing will be done at the kitchen table, not unlike many of you who start out making clutches!  Lastly, thanks to all who have tried the Snappy Clutch Wallets and the PurseFramesOutlet shop.  The feedback has far surpassed what I had expected and it really made working on that design for 6 months and finessing the photos and tutorial soooooo worth it!

Our home for the next 3 years.

We live 3 houses away from a playground and skateboard park. Kids have their gear and are getting to go!

We have a pool in the front yard! The kids swim twice or three times a day for about 1.5 to 2 hours each time.

My 5 year old daughter Hayley at the park.

My 2 boys at the adjacent skateboard park.

My 6 year old son Noah in deep sleep. The 11 hours time change took a week to really get used. They were sleeping by 5pm and waking up at 3am for the first week!

We’re all still adjusting.  I haven’t had much time to work since it’s summer break and I cannot get to work until they are in bed at 8pm.   I know a great many of you have young children and are also facing this same issue:  the increased familial demands as the kids are on summer break.

No worries on your shop sales during summer months as you will see activity pick up in the fall when the kids are back at school.  Remember that it’s cyclical!  Be sure to start your production of new clutches in August so that you will have new collections for customers to see.  School will start before you know it and the Fall Collections should be ready by September.

One important note for those of you who have expanded into local boutiques and into arts and crafts shows:  make sure you have your fall collection ready to show the shops and make sure you pre-register to take advantage of discounts for fall craft shows.  My best sources for color palettes are the national magazines – Vogue being the main barometer.

I’ll be in touch again with pictures of my garden.  The garden came pre-planted with the house and the variety in textures, colors, and composition is amazing.  Puts my gardening skills to shame!  🙂

Have a splendid weekend!


July 16, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | 1 Comment

Snappy(TM) Wallet clutch – download the latest version!

Hi all from the other side of the world!  I made it here fine and after 5 days on the ground, the kids are just starting to adjust to the local time.  It’s p.m. here to your a.m.  There’s currently 11 hours difference than East Coast time!
I will post pics when I can find my camera cord to the computer.  I just got the Internet up and running today so I thought I’d do a quick post before hitting the sack!  I’ve been running around getting things done for the house here as we have only what we packed in our luggage.  Our air shipment won’t be here for another 10 days.  Many things are needed just to make a meal:  eg. after I boiled the spaghetti, I realized I didn’t have a strainer,  and when I went to cut the mango, I didn’t have a knife.  Little things that cause you to improvise…  🙂

Just a note for those who bought the Snappy(TM) Wallet Clutch, please use your existing password to access the tutorial that I recently updated.  I revised Step #1 to include a new picture and notes to trim your templates to fit the width of the frame before tracing them onto the interface.  What 2 of you have done is cut on the outside edge of the template causing extra length, which can cause puckering.  To prevent this, you only have to trim it to fit.

Please go to the PDF Order and sign in to download the most recent tutorial.  The templates remain the same.  I will make changes and additions to this tutorial and add new templates as time goes on, but please keep your password, which you can use to access it for free.  (If you lose it, it will be $5 to resend it to you.)

Thank you for the photos of your Snappy wallet clutches!  I love the variations.  Keep them coming!

Thanks and I’ll post again soon.


July 7, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , | 2 Comments


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