Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

The importance of plating in metal purse frames.

As many of you have noticed and inquired, we are currently SOLD OUT of most of our nickel-free purse frames.  I wanted to take time to let you all know why and when we will have them back in stock.

What happened?

A:  We sold out many sizes due to our massive growth this year.  We have put all our profits back into every production but we are having to produce every 4-6 weeks to keep up with the demand.  With over 3000+customers on Etsy plus big orders from our webstore, we have continually surpassed our projected needs.  Thy is doing just enough to keep up with orders with 98%+ of orders sent within 24 hours of payment.  THANK YOU for your continued loyalty and support.  We do not take that for granted, whether you order a set of 3 or a set of 100.  Every order is taken with the same care and appreciation.  🙂

Why is it that only the nickel-free purse frames are sold out?

A:  WhileBabyNaps is known for our nickel-free finish and antique brass finishes.  We finally found a good antique brass finish earlier mid-year and got enough in stock to last until the Fall.  However, the nickel-free products encountered some issues with our plating company, which did not meet our manufacturing specifications.

What were these issues?

A:  In each production, our specs must be followed, e.g. the trademarked Perfect Fit 6(TM) u-channel size must meet the design, the rectangular shape, the size of kisslock balls.  Other specs must be met as well, and one of the most important ones is the plating that goes on last.  In the last production, the plating uniformity did not meet our specs and the entire batch had to be thrown out.  We had to go back to square one!  This set us back leaving us unable to restock our inventory.  Coupled with an outstanding August, we quickly ran out of purse frames to sell.  I would rather have nothing to sell you, and have you buy from a competitor, than having less than optimal frames to sell to try to “pass” it by you.  You may never know the difference but I cannot risk WhileBabyNaps’s reputation and more importantly, your trust in us and our products.  And that means not having any to sell and disappointing many of you in the short-term.

What is the importance of plating?

A:  I’ve long shown you what to look in your purse frames such as the amount of lead, stray fibers, a grey coat.  Plating is one where it’s my job to ensure that you never have to worry about it.  Plating is the process that gives my purse frames their finish.  And I use a nickel-free coating that’s good for many reasons, such as, nickel-allergy is a rising allergy amongst women.  On top of this nickel-free coating is a clear protective coating that allows the frame to last the lifetime of the clutch.  The frame will last as long or longer than the fabric portion of your clutch.  In a nutshell, the way that the metals get applied to the frame is like a chemical bath using electricity.  It is not painted on.  It’s the same process used for doorknobs, drawer pulls and handles … all products that are handled daily.  Those products use a much thicker plating process (more industrial) due to their functionality, but all will wear out as well!

Why didn’t the last production meet your specs?

A:  In metallurgy, I see where and if I can make changes in the manufacturing process to lengthen the life of the frames. But so far, the thickness of the plating in my fine purse frames is already thicker than all other manufactured frames out there. I originated and am the only one to use a nickel-free plating process on purse frames which meets our Environmental Protection standards.  I continually investigate if there are changes that I can make that will allow me to improve on the wear and tear without compromising anything else (Env. Protection, lead levels, etc…).

In plating:

*I use 10μm for the thickness.
*The lower range for plating of 2-5μm is good to prevent mild corrosion, and higher thicknesses of 5-10μm is ideal for mild wear and tear.
*Anything higher requires a much higher cost as the process requires careful attention to prevent pitting on the surface and roughness.

The last production that we received did not meet the 10μm thickness.  Although anything between 5-10μm is ideal for mild wear and tear, I did not feel that these met my updated standards set in 2010.  A thickness of 10μm is ideal and is on the very high end of where I want to go with my frames. The fabric will wear out at the same rate, if not sooner, than the metal frame. The metal purse frames are considered mild use, as opposed to metal on a motorcycle that is exposed to rocks, loose asphalt, road salt, etc… which would require much higher thicknesses.  (In 2009, we used to have thinner plating in the mid-range for this class at 5μm and it was increased to 10μm.)

What are the factors in its wear-and-tear?

A:  The daily use of it will cause it to wear down.  “Occasional” clutches such as bridal bags, bridesmaids clutches, satin, silk or other fine fabric clutches do not get used very often (due to their design aesthetics) and will last a lot longer. Clutches made using quilting cotton and other wearable-type fabrics will be used much more often and will wear down faster due to its frequent use.  However, the frame will last as long as the fabric does.  Air exposure of sun and salt does not contribute to its wear-and-tear like daily touching it with natural oils on your hands, lotions, perfumes and soaps will.  For example, if your customer by the sea used it on occasion and sat it perched on her open window, the fabric will fade from the sun’s rays but the metal frame will NOT have any effect from the sun or salty air.

What can I do to protect my clutch?

A:  Like all fine handbags and purses, you, and your customers, can wipe the clutch after use for storage.  Wipe the frame to remove any oils and residue, and wipe the rest of the bag to remove lint and dirt.  If it’s a leather clutch, use a cleaner made for leather specifically to remove dirt that will not harm the leather.  In my closet, I have my small batch of various handbags, clutches made by me (yours truly) and purses Furla, Kate Spade (I’m totally name-dropping  …) all with tissue inside to retain their shape.  I wipe them all with a soft, lint-free cloth, and some I have them in lint-free bags that they came in.  So when you sell yours – especially in a boutique setting that you have no control of – do include instructions on its care.  This will improve your branding as well as present your hand-made, original clutches in a great light  with this extra customer-care that customers like!  Some clutch makers go a step beyond and include a lint-free bag with the purchase as well as a lint-free cloth.  If you have clutches displayed in a boutique:  have sample clutches that can be handled by customers but have duplicates in their original lint-free bags to fulfill orders.  Tell the shop clerks to wipe the sample clutch’s frame with a cloth after it has been handled so it can be gleaming and shiny.  This is the same level of care that is taken for bags in department stores, so you should present your handmade bags in the same manner.

When will the nickel-free frames be back in stock?

A:  We started a new production about 3 weeks ago and should have them for sale in 4-6 weeks.  With the recent production failing to meet our manufacturing specifications, we will take more time in the plating process to ensure uniformity.  As it’s a big production, more time has been dedicated for the QC process.  I will, as always, let you know first hand here on this blog, when they come in.  In the past, I have taken pre-orders for them on my Etsy shop.  You can convo us to request a custom listing for a pre-order.  There is no discount for pre-orders but it will get you in the queue for order fulfillment.

I hope this post helps to explain our continued commitment in providing you only the best purse frames for you in pursuit of your craft, your goods, your shop.

Thank you for your continued understanding and commitment to our shop, our livelihood.  🙂




September 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments


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