Clutch-Me.Com

Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

Helpful Hints: How to put glue into U-channel purse frames

It’s really hard to capture the clear liquid glue of Gutermann’s glue on camera, so I’ve taken pics of the inner views of new purse frames and used a painting tool to demonstrate how I apply glue into the purse frames.  Everyone has their own techniques and these are my tips:

*Only apply glue to one side of the frame at a time.

*When you take the cap off, upend it and leave it sitting with the cap ready for you to reinsert the tube.

*Remove any dabs of glue on your frame by “rolling it” like cement glue.  Any thin excess can also be gently picked off by your fingernails.

*When done gluing, gently wipe off your fingerprints with your cotton shirt sleeve or a damp cloth.  Yes, you will leave fingerprints (see pic below) on it because we all have lotions and natural oils.  That’s why my frames have 2 coats allowing you to wipe your fingerprints off with ease!  🙂

*If you are a novice, pre-tape your fabric to protect it from excess glue.  Tape the areas where you don’t want glue to end up.  When done gluing, simply remove the tape.

Use masking tape or Scotch(R) tape. Tape along the frame borders, shown in purple.

*After inserting the fabric on that side, let it set for 5 minutes before starting the other side.  I always make my clutches in batches so while side 1 of clutch #1 is setting, I am gluing side 1 of clutch #2 and so forth.  When done with all side 1s, I go back to clutch #1 and start gluing side 2.

Save time and improve your craftsmanship by making clutches in batches.

*When working with small frames that have a narrower U-channel, start with the corner and move outward.  Gutermann glue’s thin and pointy tip will fit into all of my frames.

Start your tip at the corner and move outward. Makes for easy work!

*You can go heavy and apply one thick strip of glue at the bottom of the channel.  When you insert the fabric into the channel, the excess glue will be pushed and moved up onto the inner walls of your clutch covering the walls.  However, I only recommend this for expert clutch makers who have done this many times and can gauge just how much glue to put in.  For others, you risk putting in too much glue so that there will be a lot of excess that will be pushed out onto your fabric.  (You can mitigate this by pre-taping your fabric.)

This method is best for experienced clutch makers.

*My favorite way that ensures 100% coverage without wasting excess glue and wasting time to pre-tape the fabric is the following:  apply the base of the u-channel with enough glue to cover it, then apply the side walls.

My favorite way to apply Gutermann glue!

With the above method, I do not have spillage onto the fabric yet I know that the glue has attached all surfaces of the fabric when I insert it.  This also means I never have to apply glue onto the fabric either.  (It gets very messy and tricky when you’re inserting fabric with glue all around the edges!)

*The glue sets quickly, which is great for your production time, but it means you need to insert the fabric in right away as well.   So for bulky edges, press and/or do a dry run by inserting it without the glue.

*Wipe off the tip after you are done and before storage.

And I also use Gutermann glue for other household projects including re-gluing a broken guitar neck!

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February 4, 2012 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , , | 4 Comments

Shipping Policy and 2012 Rates

USPS raises rates yearly and 2012 rates were effective January 22, 2012.  (All photos courtesy of USPS.com)

BEFORE YOU BUY, it’s worth repeating: As per Etsy policy as well, I am not responsible for lost packages. Once it leaves my hands, it’s out of my hands.  We hate lost shipments as much as you do:  we spend our time and money to make the frames, inspect, package, ship and track and when a package doesn’t arrive, we are upset that all our hard work is for naught.  And when you don’t get your package, you understandably get upset because you paid – and waited – and didn’t receive your package and now want a refund for items you didn’t receive.  However, you would still be short on the shipping fee.  And we would be short of the time and money we spent on the frames and glue and packaging.  We are both out of luck and the only party that makes any money – and coincidentally the one to blame – is USPS.

…Therefore, to avoid this unfortunate situation, the only way to ensure that when/if your package is lost that you can claim your money is to send it with Signature Confirmation, Insurance or Guaranteed Express Delivery.  Just add a note in your order that you would like to pay for either Signature Confirmation, Insurance, or Guaranteed Express Delivery and we will get the quote from USPS and charge you for it.  NO refunds of goods purchased or the shipping fee paid will be refunded to you when your package does not arrive.  We ship 99% of all orders within 24 hours of receiving payment because we want you to have and start making your clutches.  Signature Confirmation is only a nominal fee around $1-2 extra per package (I think).  With these added services, if your package is lost, you can file a claim and get your money back for the items shipped.  Per USPS we are not able to file a claim: only the recipient (you) can file a claim.  Since 2009, only 3 packages have been lost so this rarely happens.

I combine ship.  This means that if you order several items from me, I will try to fit everything in as few boxes as I can and give you the most economical shipping.  You will be refunded any excess shipping fee that was charged to you in Etsy’s cart.

The shipping program within Etsy makes it very difficult to get the correct shipping rates for the various items in my shop.  Shipping metal purse frames that are heavy and that come in many sizes is most economical via a flat rate Priority Mail box.  Shipping Gutermann glue, while extremely light, but takes up precious space when added in with the frames makes this task even harder for Etsy to have the correct shipping rates applied.  Below are the boxes used along with rates and dimensions.

1st tier – small flat rate Priority Mail

US:  $5.35

Canada and Mexico:  $12.95

All other countries:  $16.95

2nd tier – medium flat rate Priority Mail – **Best bang for your buck for US customers**

US:  $11.35

Canada and Mexico:  $32.95

All other countries:  $47.95

3rd tier – large flat rate Priority Mail – **Best bang for your buck for all other countries outside of US**

US:  $15.45

Canada and Mexico:  $39.95

All other countries:  $60.95

The key is:  whatever I can fit in the smallest box, I will try to fit.

My recommendation:  plan your purchases and save on shipping!

February 2, 2012 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , | 2 Comments

Selling your handmade clutches, wallet clutch, and reversible bag

Guess what I just read?  This just confirmed what I wrote last year in January!

So we all know about social media and many of you participate in several platforms such as Facebook fanpages, Twitter feeds, or your own blog.   Some of you have heeded my encouragement through many posts and have been selling your clutches at arts and crafts fairs.

So take a look at this:

Did you get that? It will explode!

Some things (e.g. your own app for your online shop) are neither cost effective for you nor will allow you to get your investment back given the small nature of your business.  However, Square via Squareup.com has a fast setup and offers you a free reader and a free app.  I do not get paid to promote this, by the way.  So what’s the catch?  As with any banking system, they get a percentage of what you get.  They get 2.75% of each transaction.  As you know, systems such as Paypal also take a transaction fee.  But the good news is Squareup.com has lifted the $500/month limit on the amount of money you can swipe and accept.  So this makes it worth your time to get this.  Those of you who will offer this at the craft/art booth will be ahead of those only accepting checks or cash.  Research has also shown that people spend more when using a credit card than they do when using cash.  In fact, one way that is recommended to cut back on spending is by using cash to pay instead of credit cards!  But with Square, you will give your customers much needed convenience.

Read this post I wrote last March about Business Tips for Clutch Makers talking about Jack Dorsey, founder of both Squareup and Twitter.

I’ve already gotten good feedback last year from those who used Square.  If you try it out at Spring craft shows, please let me know how it goes.  Be sure to put up the sign at your booth noting the acceptance of “Credit Cards”.

Have a great weekend!

~Winn

January 14, 2012 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Arts and Crafts Fairs info for Fall 2011.

I know many of you have heeded my advice and have registered to show and sell your clutches at local/regional arts and crafts fairs.  I wanted to update you on some good information that my sister Y, who helps run PurseFramesOutlet.Etsy.com, has provided.  As you know, PurseFramesOutlet is literally our sister shop where we sell upcycled purse frames that did not meet our QC process.

Here is a great article on the pro’s and con’s between juried and non-juried arts and crafts show.  This author does a superb job explaining the difference and  offering you great tips to get your clutches ready for a juried show.  Personally, I prefer juried shows because:

*It’s a good bang for your buck!  In addition to selling some merchandise there, you can advertise and promote your clutches as having been accepted to show at XY juried show.  That is a great plus!

*The quality is built in.  Juries have screened all vendors and have a good mix there.  As a jeweler as well, I’ve been to shows where I would be up against 25 other jewelers!  Juried shows balance out the type of vendors showing providing the right mix.

*Juried shows typically have higher-priced goods sold.  (Their entry/table fees are typically higher so that weeds out many.)  This allows you to sell your clutches at very competitive prices.  You will also see that you are often the only 1 of 2 handmade clutch makers there.  This is still in its infancy.

“Juried” shows just means that a jury of people (2 or more judges comprised of other artists or people who know about the crafts) pick out who they let in to be a seller/vendor at their show.  They have to balance the types of vendors at their venue, pick out the best vendors, and weed out any suppliers who do not meet their criteria.  ALL shows that I’ve been to have had a plethora of jewelry vendors.  Seeing a clutch handbag maker at a show is like seeing a panda:  there’s just not that many of them and you have to be at the right place.  So your chances of being accepted into a juried show is great!

Here is a list of the Editor’s Picks on the best Juried Crafts Fairs in the country.  Click on the hyperlink or pic to see if there is one near you.  Dates are also listed.

Is there one near you?

This is also another good source.  The Art Fair Calendar and the Artist Galleries do not require a paid subscription to view.

The following are links to the top 3 places to find an art/craft festival near you.

1.  http://festivalnet.com/ – We like this because it also lists Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Virgin Islands.  Who’s going???  🙂

2. http://www.artfaircalendar.com/

3. http://www.fairsandfestivals.net/ – Click on the map to find one in your state.  This also has awesome resources and articles such as “What Makes a Crafts Show Successful?”

There are also many of you who sell specifically to the bridal market.  Here are two resources for bridal shows!

1. http://afwpi.com/shows/index.html – This is the big kahuna.  You can find bridal shows all over the world!  Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa …  (I’m name-dropping for my international customers!)  🙂

2. http://www.herecomestheguide.com/fair/ – This is limited to California, Chicago, and Washington DC.  California is HUGE for the bridal market!

I always love a good arts and crafts fair.  Nothing like wearing a pair of comfy shoes, cold iced coffee in hand, and walking from booth to booth.  I LOVE talking to the vendors and artists.  Love hearing their vision, passion, and knowledge of their craft.  Here is one of my favorite purchases, bought 8 years+ ago at an arts fair in New Jersey.

Handmade by 2 great ladies. Made from scraps of upholstery fabric. The fringe is luscious. This thing weighs a ton and keeps me toasty!

I hope the links provided are helpful to you.  Have some fun on a Sunday afternoon by going to your local crafts fair!  Bring cash  🙂

September 14, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“What should I price my clutches at?”

Pricing is one key topic where many new clutch makers ask my opinion about.  The questions and comments that I get include:

*”How much should I price my clutches?

*”Is $XX too much?”

*”I saw other shops with clutches priced at $XX and that’s just too expensive considering how cheap the supplies used to make it are!”

*”Is $XX for YY-sized clutch priced too low?”

So let’s jump right in!

First, I am obligated to tell you that you can, and should, price it any level you wish and that I do not have a suggested price.
Second, Pricing 101 says that as you lower the prices, the quantity sold will increase.  We all know the price elasticity of demand but of course, there are other factors that will effect the relative elasticity of the demand such as brand loyalty and the availability of like clutches, but in general, when you lower your price, you will see an increase in demand.  However, and there’s always a “however”, if you price it too low, consumers will perceive it as poor quality, and your sales will decrease!

Source: Cornell.edu

Let’s look long-term at your shop:
*What is your brand identity?
*What is your creative aesthetics?

*How do you differentiate your shop, your goods, your service from others?

The easy thing to do is to look for clutches similar to what you create and price accordingly.
But before you can price it, you have to find out how much it cost you to buy the materials to make it.

So, let’s do it from the cost of materials* perspective first:
(1) 8×3 nickel-free kisslock frame $5.99
(1/5) tube of glue $2.20
fabric $2.50
interface $.50
Total = $11.19

Etsy listing fee $.20

So if you price it at $30

Other fees based on selling price: Paypal ($0.30 + 2.9%) = $1.17, Etsy commission (3.5%) = $1.05

Other fees to complete the sale that falls under your overall admin costs: tissue, paper, ink, box, tape ….

NOT including your admin fees that you will deduct from the overall profit, you will net around $13.61 on the sale of a clutch priced at $30.00 retail.

Disclaimers: you can lower your cost of the frames by ordering in bulk so a set of (20) 8×3 frames LOWERS your cost of frames to $4.50 each, and a set of 4 tubes of glue LOWERS your cost of the glue to $9.5 per tube (vs. $10.99 for one tube) so the glue portion would cost $1.90. The fabric varies wildly depending on how many cuts you can get per yard, how much a yard costs, and this is the same as with the cost of the interface. The above are just estimates using cotton.

Now, as you get better at making clutches, you will be quicker in getting them done and you may make them in batches. You can realistically expect to make 1 clutch (on average) in 30 minutes. So you are essentially making $27.22 per hour ($13.61 x 2) — that is if you sell 2 per hour.

We know that owning your own handmade goods business is NOT paid this way, but another way to look at that is, you are asking the customer to pay you to make, from scratch, a hand-made, one-of-a-kind clutch for $13.61.

Realize that you will never make more than 2 clutches per hour at the rate of 30 minutes per clutch.

And consumer behavior research has shown that once you offer a lower price, it’s VERY hard to increase that price unless you offer them something dramatically and noticeably better: better quality, better service, better materials, bigger product offering …  Once a price has been set, buyers get used to that price point and perceive that to be a “fair price”.

Remember, you can always LOWER your prices. EVERYONE loves a good deal. Give a coupon discount. Give a VIP treat. If you start at $30, you can only go lower.

Hope that helps!
Winn

August 15, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

~Winn

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

What interface do I recommend with my purse frames?

*What #number interface do you recommend?

*What interface will go best with my silk? cotton?  upholstery fabric?  vinyl? leather? oil cloth? satin? shantung? etc. etc. etc….  🙂

I get these types of questions a lot, and I always refer those who ask to my blog post about the 15% variance in interface that exists.

Click on the link or pic to access this previous post.

Given this fact, I wanted to go a step further so that you can make the best decision.

Here’s what I recommend:  (And this is not a cop-out.)

*Take your fabric (that you want to use for your clutch) with you to your local fabric supplies store and test it out with the various interface available at the store.  Get a feel for the thickness, fluffiness, stiffness, etc… with your fabric lain on top of the interface.  Remember to have all 3 or 4 layers together:  outer fabric, interface, inner fabric (+interface if you use this for your inner layer as well).  And if you want to add batting, be sure to sandwich that in as well.

Why? 

1.  Personal tastes and artistic preferences differ from one clutch maker to another:  what I consider “ideal”, others might consider “flimsy” while someone might think it’s too “fluffy”.

2.  The variance of interface from batch to batch:  up to 15%.

3.  The difference in weight of fabrics: even among cottons – quilting cotton is much thinner than other cottons.

4.  The design differences in the finished clutches:  will your design be pleated or have other design features that will affect how it lays?

5.  What size of clutch you’re making:  you wouldn’t need heavy fleece interface if you’re making a coin purse, but you might want 2 layers of Thermolam + batting if you’re making a big clutch with straps.

The other important aspect of being a clutch maker is letting your own gut and creative instinct guide you.  I provide supplies you need and teach you the basic methods, but it’s up to you to find out and determine what your creative style and vision is.  Part of the fun is deciding the materials (fabric and interface) that go into making your clutches.

Rest assured, when I designed my purse frames, I tried many different combinations of fabrics and interfaces that most clutch makers use.  This proprietary design took into account all those various weights and thickness and thinness of those materials in designing the perfect width of my u-channels.  Whatever materials that you will be using, my frames made with the Perfect Fit 6(TM) u-channel when used with Gutermann glue will accommodate you and will not require any crimping of the frames.  I’m always amazed at the different designs and materials that clutch makers have come up with!

So put your creativity hat on and go forth feeling up all kinds of interface!  Go on, it’s fun!!!  🙂

Now, that said …. I will tell you that I currently use a combination of 987F (which is Pellon’s most popular fusible interface) and 973F.   (It depends on the fabric that I’m using and the clutch that I’m making!)

Have fun out there!

~Winn 🙂

April 27, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , | 3 Comments

Helpful Hints – a collection of the best tips!

I have a lot of posts and this WordPress format makes it hard to find them.  So here’s my collection of my most helpful hints for you to refer to.

So when you want to know about making clutches, these posts have helped hundreds of clutch makers.

Time saving tips and tricks to making clutches:

*How to minimize wrinkles.

*How to squeeze all those layers of interface and fabric into your frame.

*How to shorten your time making a clutch.

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/save-time-shortcut-for-inserting-your-fabric-into-your-frame/

*How to save time squaring off your corners.

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/quick-tip-for-squaring-off-the-bottom-corners-of-your-clutch/

*How to save time for non-directional fabric and you don’t want a bottom seam.

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/the-importance-of-the-bottom-seam/

Technical info on purse frames:

*Why nickel-free is better for your potential customers.

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/why-nickel-free/

>>>And this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/know-your-frame/

*What about the lead content?

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/whats-the-lead-in-these-metal-purse-frames/

*What else makes our purse frames the finest purse frames.

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/quality-control-procedures-for-my-fine-metal-purse-frames/

*Why the rectangular purse frame?

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/in-praise-of-the-neutral-rectangular-purse-frame/

*Why the U-channel width is important for making clutches.

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/the-perfect-fit-6tm-u-channel-in-my-metal-purse-frames/

*Why you should pick the right size U-channel!

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/new-8×3-nickel-free-purse-frametm-with-kisslock-loops-in-perfect-fit-6tm/

*What to look for in a purse frame with kisslock ball closures.

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/kiss-my-kisslock/

>>>And this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/youve-got-balls-kisslock-closure-new-for-fall-and-winter-2010/

*What to look for in the finish of your “silver” purse frame.

>>>Read these:

https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/nickel-frame-got-your-feeling-gray/

https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/a-shiny-new-coat-for-your-metal-purse-frame/

https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/you-need-fiber-just-not-on-your-metal-purse-frame/

*About my trademarked DuskCoat Gunmetal(TM) and GoldenLock(TM) finishes

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/2-more-for-your-product-line-offering-duskcoat-gunmetaltm-and-goldenlocktm/

*Why I cannot get you that frame as shown in that picture that you sent me …  🙂

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/can-you-order-this-metal-purse-frame-for-me/

Interface:

*Why making specific recommendations on what fusible interface you should use is not a good idea.

>>> Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/what-the-interface/

>>>And this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/04/27/what-interface-do-i-recommend-with-my-purse-frames/

Gutermann glue:

*Tips!!!

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/tips-gutermann-glue-for-your-clutches/

*Why I can’t ship it internationally.

*Why I price it the way I do …

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/i-believe-in-gutermann-glue/

Shipping:  (Yes, we combine ship and refund you the excess shipping charge from Etsy.)

*What size boxes we use.

*How much it costs within the US

*How much it costs outside of the US

>>>Read this and see the box dimensions, too:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/shipping-policies-and-new-rates-for-2012/

General Business and Marketing:  **This is, perhaps, the most important section for starting and having a succesful clutch business**

*How you can get listed as a seller on my blog.

>>>Read this and provide me with your info:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/sellers-to-be-added-this-week-etsy-sellers-submit-yours/

*What you can do to increase your chances of making a sale!

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/4-things-that-can-help-your-clutch-handbag-business/

*How to save money and cut your materials cost like the pros!

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/how-can-you-get-up-to-50-off/

*How to ship internationally without standing in line at the post office.

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/time-saver-international-shipping-from-your-desktop-printer/

*How to give your customer more in one clutch.

>>>Read this: https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/01/15/be-on-top-of-latest-market-trend-purse-frames-with-loops-and-chains/

*How to get more exposure to your clutches and shop.

>>>Read this: https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/spreading-the-word-about-your-shops-on-my-facebook-page-for-whilebabynaps-etsy-com/

>>>Read this: https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/follow-me-on-twitter-purseframes/

*Tips for selling at arts and crafts fairs

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/selling-your-clutches-at-arts-and-crafts-fairs/

*What does it take to start your own clutch business.

>>>Read this: https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/business-tips-for-clutch-makers/

*Why Etsy is a great place to start … but are you missing out on other opportunities?

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/etsy-founder-kalin/

Why I do what I do:

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/empowering-women-and-getting-that-in-return-in-spades/

>>>Read this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/2011/03/12/empowering-women-why-it-should-matter-to-you/

And this:  https://clutchme.wordpress.com/testimonials/

April 25, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips, WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , | 5 Comments

DiamondCut(TM) brushed antique brass purse frame – tips and pictures

Thank you all for your excitement and interest with my new trademarked finish – DiamondCut(TM) brushed antique brass.  I’ve been working with it and have some pictures and tips that I want to share with you.

First of all, as it is a completely custom hand-finished product, I’m currently building up inventory before I list them.  This will ensure that I will have enough on hand to fulfill orders within the 72-hour purchase window that I’m striving for.  As opposed to all other orders where we ship it same day or within 24 hours 95% of the time (bigger orders take longer for inspections), these DiamondCut(TM) antique brass are hand-finished per your order.

For those who have asked about how it compares to my traditional antique brass frames (yes, I’m still working on those, too!), take a look at this series of pictures.

Depending on the angle, it can go from a subtle difference… to dramatic.  The new DiamondCut(TM) brushed antique brass is shown on the right.

Under "studio" lighting. Tungsten lights used. A little subtle ...

**Note the soaps — the most thoughtful gesture from a customer I’ve ever gotten.  Ming, from Ourblueiguana got me these soaps and a balm that I’ve been using every night on my gnarly feet!  (Yes, I said it.)  🙂

I’m lucky and blessed to have many wonderful and supportive customers … but this one tops the cake!  My jaw literally dropped when I got a package!  (“I didn’t order anything…”)  And to get her sweet note, well, I’m still floating in the air – just with nicer, smoother feet!  :0  Thanks, Ming!

Back to the program … *ahem*

Notice the texturized surface on the right of the DiamondCut(TM).

At this angle, you can see a little more of the sheen of the regular antique brass. Notice that it is uniformly shiny vs. the DiamondCut(TM) which has more sparkles.

Under high hat lights. At this angle, the traditional antique brass appears more matte.

With high hats overhead at this angle, the difference is quite a bit more dramatic.

With incandescent lights shown above. The DiamondCut(TM) really sparkles while the regular antique brass appears solid and matte.

Tips to use and key points:

*DiamondCut(TM) brushed antique brass can be subtle in appearance or more dramatic in appearance depending on the angle and lighting.  It changes … just like the weather.  🙂

*It is a highly texturized surface and will feel rougher (not sharp) to the touch than the regular antique brass.

*Although it has a top coat to seal it, Gutermann glue will not easily come off the surface due to the textureIf you are not an experienced clutch-maker and to prevent this mishap from happening, you can do the good old tricks of the trade:

1.  Do not overfill your u-channel to cause spillage of the glue.  A little goes a long way with Gutermann …

2.  You can tape the frame where necessary.  Any “extra” glue will spill onto the tape.  After you are done gluing, simply pull the tape off!

3.  As per the package directions, you can try removing the glue with acetone.  (Note:  I’ve never had to do this but Gutermann has tested this.  Be sure to test in an inconspicuous area before attempting.  Be careful with your fabric.)

I will have these listed and ready to ship this weekend.  I just don’t want to over-promise, so that’s why they have not been listed.  As you all can tell by the new sizes and styles at the shop, we’ve had a lot of activity in the last month!  Both Thy and I are literally burning the midnight oil these days.

As always, your support is tremendously appreciated!

~Winn (and Thy)

April 12, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips, WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , | 2 Comments

Time saver: International shipping from your desktop printer!

When I started my business years ago, it was truly doing my home-based businesses “while the babies were napping”.  Hence … the name!

But with 3 kids within 4 years apart, it was a drag to go anywhere, especially for errands like the post office.  At one point, I had an baby in an infant carseat/carrier, and 2 boys in carseats.  It took 5 minutes just to buckle and un-buckle …  Now I’m down to 1 carseat and 1 booster!  🙂

So I figured that I could save time and my aching back by printing labels from my desktop printer for shipping most of my packages.  I spend $tens of thousands a year on shipping alone, so this one area has saved me hundreds of hours:  no standing in line, no guessing the shipping cost, no need to run to the post office!  Your mail carrier will pick them up daily when he/she delivers your mail.

For me, my oldest boy can now bring the packages and put them right on the counter while I’m in the minivan with the other two!  The kind folks at my local post office, (Glenn, Maggie and Nalani) sweetly refer to it as “cheap child labor”  🙂  but I think of it as “responsibility”.

The key to being able to do this is having a postal scale. I got mine years ago for about $20:  a desktop 35lb. max postal scale.  Here’s a better version of what I have that weighs packages up to 75lbs. for ~$23 on Amazon:

Postal scale is needed for International shipping and domestic US First Class shipping.

So here’s my step-by-step guide for saving you time for printing labels for International (non-US) shipments.

Step 1: Go to your Paypal account to start the process.  Click “Print Shipping Label”.

Note: I've blacked out a real customer's info. to keep it private, but all screens are actual.

Step 2: Here is the next screen.  Instructions are…

a) Select your service type:  Priority Mail International is the most economical and fastest for International customers.

b) Select package type:  I’m using “small flat rate” for this new customer.

c) Enter the weight of your package.  Even though it is a flat rate, international shipping requires a weight measurement.  Round up:  if it’s 12.5 oz, round up to 13 oz.

d) Select the mailing date that you are shipping – usually that day’s date.

e) Optional: type in a message to your customer if you wish.

f) Click “Continue”

Follow the steps...

This is what appears below once I have made my selections.  Notice the envelope that is required.  You can click on this hyperlink to order or skip if you already have it.  You can also pick one up at your local post office.  (I’ll come back to this at the end of this post.)

Same screen when finished - alerts you about the required envelope.

Step 3: Next screen

a) Enter a description ex. “Clutch handbag”

b) Enter quantity: 1 (*I always enter “1” because the total weight here in “d” has to match the weight that you entered on the previous screen.  Even if you are shipping 2 clutches, you do not need to enter 2 and figure out how much they weigh separately in order to add up to the same weight as the package.  Enter ‘1’ for quantity for the entire package.)

c) Enter value that customer paid for.

d) Re-enter the item weight as you entered on the previous screen.

e) Select Country of Origin.

f) Select your Category of Item as “Commercial Sample”.

g)  Check this box.

h) Click “Continue”.

Only do the lettered steps. Everything else is either not applicable or are optional.

Step 4: Click “Pay and Continue”

Next screen confirms your inputs.

Step 5: My Mac gets this alert pop-up.  If you get it, click “allow”.

You may or may not get this pop-up.

Step 6: Click “Print Label”.  System alerts you to the number of pages that will be printed.

NOTE:  Small flat rate Priority Mail International will always have only 1 page to print.

Medium and large flat rate Priority Mail International will have 2 pages.

If you've never printed a label from your desktop before, you may choose to print a sample label first.

Step 7: Next pop-up.  Click OK when done!

Click only after it has printed out successfully.

Additional hints: This screen appears after everything is done.

If you have any problems with the label not printing, click on the hyperlink “Reprint your label”.  Note there is no charge to reprint your label for up to 24 hours.

You can also void the label via the hyperlink contained below.

You can order FREE shipping supplies including the 2976-E envelope needed to finish your shipping.

Where to order the envelopes needed for international shipping.

When I clicked on the lower hyperlink for “Order free U.S. Postal Service(R) shipping supplies online” in the screen above, it led me directly to usps.com.

I entered in “2976-E in the “Store Search” and got them!

FREE supplies!

Proof that it's FREE!

Step 8: Sign your name and write in the date.

Printed label as it appears.

Step 9: Open your envelope and place in your printed label as such.

Put your printed label in first!

Make sure that it is centered.

Voila!

Step 10:  Remove the strips in the back.

Remove both strips.

Step 11:  Place on package with the label centered on your box.

Label is centered. Overhang of sticky back envelope shown is ideal.

Step 12:  Fold down stick back envelope onto your box.

Fold down the long sides first.

Step 13:  Finish with the other 2 sides.  You’re done!

If under 13 oz., you can drop these packages off in the blue drop boxes. Over 13oz. can be picked up by mail carrier or brought into the counter - no need to stand in line!

Regarding medium and large flat rate Priority Mail International packages:  the steps are the same, except you will have 2 pages printed out.  You will see that there will be 4 “half-pages” that look similar to the one above.  Sign all 4 copies and keep the “Sender’s Copy” for your files.

Hope this helps everyone!

March 10, 2011 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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