Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

How to sell your clutches with an in-home crafts fair.

I get all sorts of emails from my wonderful and loyal customers, and sometimes there is great information that I think other customers can benefit from.  Like Erin who offered her great tips about selling at arts and crafts fairs so that others could benefit from, Susan of Lulu Caswell has graciously offered some tips for you to have success selling clutches at your in-home crafts fair.

With two years of selling her clutches at her house, Susan has wonderful helpful tips.  In fact, she sells the majority of her clutches off the Net!  Here are some tips:

1. Invite other craftsters to display their goods in your home.  More will come when you have a house party for handmade clutches, jewelry, and quilts (for examples) than just clutches alone.  Susan sold nearly $1000 in clutches on one Sunday from 12-4pm!  With this, she was able to pay off her husband’s tuition for one month.  GO Susan!!!

2. Promote amongst your friends via your social networks of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc…  Be sure to ask them to come (don’t be shy!) and to share the post with their friends.   How about “Hey, I would love for you to come.  I would really appreciate your support and would love to see you and catch up over some munchies while you check out all the goodies!  If you cannot come, I would appreciate your support by sharing this post on your Wall with your friends.”

3.  Go on to Etsy and solicit other local craftsters/artisans to display their goods at your in-home crafts fair.  Susan didn’t know most of them, but that didn’t deter her from asking them to participate in her second year.  She had 6 other vendors join her at her home and about 40-50 guests who came, even some customers from the previous year.  These things build so hopefully she will have even more attend next year.

4.  To get more foot traffic and eyes, create a flyer and post them at local churches, at the kids’ schools, and at the local community hall.  Ask the other vendors to do their share of posting the flyers and promoting the event to their network of friends.

5.  For a smaller, intimate affair, do an evening show with just your clutches and serve wine and cheese.  Email it to ALL your girlfriends and ask them to pass the email to a girlfriend and to bring a girlfriend!

Selling your clutches at your home is just another avenue for you.  It is one that costs very little (take out that folding table and throw a nice sheet to cover as table linen!) yet is one that will allow customers to get to know you.   People buy from people, and this direct selling has worked for the biggest companies like Avon, Mary Kay, and Lia Sophia.

Take a look at some of the pictures from her last in-home craft fair.

Susan's sumptuous table of clutches.  Look at all the variety of colors and textures!

Susan’s sumptuous table of clutches. Look at all the variety of colors and textures!

This paper maker did really well.

This paper maker did really well.

This craft fair was held before the holidays.  These would make great gifts for a little girl!

This craft fair was held before the holidays. These would make great gifts for a little girl!

The woodworker also sold really well!

The woodworker also sold really well!

I can smell these scents through my screen!

I can smell these scents through my screen!

The woodworker, the baker, and the candlestick maker?  :)  The baker brought her goodies, too!

The woodworker, the baker, and the candlestick maker? 🙂 The baker brought her goodies, too!

I want to thank Susan for her generosity in sharing these tips with her fellow clutch makers.  If you are a fellow artisan in the Fall River, MA area, be sure to contact Susan at her shop to plan the next in-home craft fair.  You’ll be glad you did!


January 22, 2013 Posted by | Helpful Tips, SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Clutch purses with vintage rhinestones

Get your clutch handbag in time for the Christmas holidays!  This is in a series of features on handmade clutches that I will be posting to bring some amazing clutches and talent to your attention.  I know you will find some great gifts for those on your list and you might be tempted to pick one up for yourself.  Please feel free to share this and give a gentle hint to your beloved!  🙂

If you want to see a fabulous selection of opulent design, I am thrilled to feature Jenn and Michelle’s shop at J&Em.  There must  be something in the water, because Jenn, like Erin, also resides in North Carolina!  Twins Jennifer and Michelle are a great team who share a similar creative aesthetic.  I am so proud to announce that Jennifer was just recently accepted to the Ultrasound Program and will be devoting herself to that field for the next couple of years.  What a great opportunity!  To help you in making your purchase decision better, Jenn will generously offer 30% OFF plus FREE SHIPPING!  This offer is good for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  So stop by her shop and get yours before it’s gone!  And please offer her a congrats in her new opportunity!

I most love their well-crafted handmade clutches with this design: the raw edge silk ruffle flower with a vintage rhinestone in the center.

I love the brilliant orange silk lining of this well-constructed winter clutch.

A beautiful splash of color in the midst of the season!


November 18, 2012 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Oscar(R) gowns and clutches

OMG, if you guys could see my site stats during the Academy Awards show!  It looks like ALL of you are watching it ‘cuz you can hear a cricket chirp on this blog.  🙂

I was inspired by the colors, textures, cuts and styles of the many beautiful women.  So of course, some clutches came to mind while I was watching the show.  Yes, they telecast it here live as well.  It’s the only awards show that I can watch on TV live in Viet Nam.  All other shows like the Golden Globes(R) and Grammys(R) are not televised here so I watch it on my Mac via a live stream that I dig on the net to find. I watch zero sports and ALL awards shows (Country Music, Emmy, People’s Choice… all of it).  Eye candy.

As a huge movie fan, the Oscars is the biggest night for me.  I love seeing the film clips, hearing the speeches, watching the “In Memoriam” piece (hey, wasn’t Esperanza Spalding great?)… hey pretty much all of it.

So here are a few of my favorite gowns for various reasons along with some clutches that popped into mind.  They are not meant to go with these gowns rather I’ve paired them with clutches whose characteristics are evoked by the gowns featured.   Check out the gowns and I hope they will inspire you to create some great clutches for the spring and bridal seasons!

Click on the images for a bigger view.  Please note that all photos are courtesy of Getty Images.

Louise Roe.

Best contrast (black blunt hair, white dress, red lips). Clutch by

Rooney Mara.  First movie in ages that I had to fast forward through a scene because I couldn’t stomach it.

Michelle Williams slays me in every film she’s in.  Time for a comedy, Michelle!

Best beading. Clutch by

Octavia Spencer looks amazing!  Have you seen “The Help”?  It’ll stay with you long past the viewing.

Jane Seymour looks amazing at any age!

Best bejeweling (bedazzlin'!) Clutch by

I love this woman more than the dress, but the bejeweling brings some sparkle to an odd-colored gown.  Miss her as Sookie!

Best spring - green. Clutch by

Viola Davis.  Granted I haven’t seen Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady but Viola was incredible in The Help.  She is equally stunning in this green color, especially with her au naturel red hair!  🙂

Best simplicity. Clutch by

Gwyneth Paltrow.  My favorite look for this body type.  Both the cape and floral embellishment enhance the simplicity in the dress and clutch without overpowering either.

The fun is over.  Until the next Oscars!  🙂

February 27, 2012 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming this week: PDF revision for the clutch tutorial – free update with your password

I like to think I’m ahead of the guys over at Rovio who make Angry Birds.  Do you know how they give you free updates such as “Ham ‘O Ween” as long as you purchased the original Angry Birds?  Except when it’s completely new and different, like Angry Birds Rio, then you have to buy that new game.

So where am I going with this, other than you all now know that I play Angry Birds?  Well, I just updated the clutch tutorial and wanted to let you all know first!  I’ll be back with a post when it’s updated on this blog, but it’s coming out this week.  PLEASE wait until I say “go” to download.  It’s not up yet so I don’t want you to waste your time.  🙂

The hard copies will not be available for another week.  We have to send it to our guy, a professional printer.  He uses 70# ultra-white paper.  His ink is incredible.  The booklet is so thick that we have to use a commercial stapler to staple it together!  Yes, every booklet is cut and assembled by hand.  As always, the tutorial and templates are formatted to be printed on regular 8.5×11 without any need for you to rescale.  You just click on the links, download and print.

I have been working really hard to incorporate some of the hints that I have blogged about here.  I have rewritten almost 80% of the entire tutorial and I have 95% new pictures that are bigger and more detailed.   What I’ve written in the new updated tutorial are basically the shortcuts and time-saving tips that I employ in making clutches myself.  I think they will help you.

What you will get with this update:

*Tips to improve your craftsmanship and productivity.

*2 options on how to make a clutch:  with a bottom seam (my favorite way), and without a bottom seam (makes for quick work and good for smaller clutches)

*A shortcut that will minimize the wrinkling of the fabric and allows for easier insertion into the frame

*Pictures on how to insert the frame

*Tips on what interface to use

Take a peek:

More pics, more tips, and learn how to make a clutch in 2 ways!

The new updated tutorial has also been formatted as a booklet as was before.  This was designed so that it will allow you to flip each page per step and not take up a lot of space at your sewing table.

How do you get this update?  If you bought the PDF tutorial, you were sent the password with your order.  It’s a really detailed (some say long-winded) email saying “Keep your password” as all updates to this tutorial and templates are free as long as you have your password and if you don’t have your password for any reason, it will cost you $5 to resend it.  So I hope you heeded it.

If your laptop was stolen (yes, that happened to a customer last week), it crashed and you didn’t back it up (PCs all the time…), you lost it or for any other reason, then order this listing shown here:

This is only for previous buyers who need their password.

These updates, revisions, and new templates are always free to you as long as you keep your password!  I am working on a template for the 12×3.5 size frame.  It’ll be a big bag – perfect for winter and overnights – and I’m trying to make sure the template can be printed out without any scaling on regular desktop 8.5×11 printer paper.  Quite the task since the 10×3 required splitting it into 2!  🙂

So be on the lookout and I’ll be back to give you all the “go”.



February 20, 2012 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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 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 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!


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

Back in Stock: 12 x 3.5

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!

My kids on Christmas Eve.

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!

Hope your holidays brought you many smiles. Smiling's my favorite! Name that movie (super easy...).

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!

12x3.5 nickel-free purse frame

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!


January 9, 2012 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shipping from Columbus, Ohio!

Hi all!  It’s with great excitement that I let you all know that we are just about done with our transition of the business.  Thy (“T”), my older sister, who lives Powell, Ohio right outside of Columbus is taking over all the shipping for my businesses as I get my kids ready for our own move abroad.

Other than some loose ends, most of the inventory that has been in transit is at her house and being organized.  Speaking of organization, take a look at her office!

Recognize the green and brown? Same office system!

So all orders will ship from her house from now on.

All marketing, sales, and promotions will continue to be done by me, yours truly.  In fact, unless it has to do with a custom listing or shipment of an order, it’ll all be me who you’ll hear from.

Convo us as you would normally and one or both of us will answer you depending on your needs.

Shipping costs are the same prices and time since we use Priority Mail flat rate ensuring that you’ll get what you need in the quickest, most cost-effective manner.

What’s on my docket this week and beyond:

1.  Taxes!!!!  *ughhhhh*  I don’t serve in the military (my niece does) … so I think that paying my taxes is the most patriotic thing that I can do!  I just hate the paperwork involved …

2.  List new purse chains and frames that have been designed and produced!  New 9×3 and 10×3 frames at my Etsy shop are up.

***Oh, check out the new 10×3 nickel-free frames.  Same Perfect Fit 6(TM) u-channel and kisslock balls.  I am SOLD OUT of the 10×3 nickel-free kisslock with loops and will have them back in production in 3-4 weeks, but these are the same without the loops.  They are also priced lower as it costs less to make them!  (The  frames with loops require the welding of the loops and that raises my labor costs in addition to the cost of metal.)

Same frame as before, but no loops.

3.  Getting the DiamondCut(TM) brushed antique brass ready for sale.  As these are custom and hand-finished, it takes longer than to just post them.  I need to build up the stock so that orders will be shipped out quickly!

4.  Finally get to launching the PurseFramesOutlet business.  As my main business is WhileBabyNaps, I cannot start on this new exciting venture until I’m fully transitioned off of the shipping and my own office is organized.

Thank you for your support and excitement with all the new frame sizes and styles!   These are great offerings to have in your line of clutches as you get ready for the Spring arts and craft shows.  🙂

April 10, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , | Leave a comment

New SPRING clutches photo album on Facebook

Just posted an album featuring clutches made by my sellers that has a spring feel and flavor.  All made using my fine purse frames.  Here’s a screen shot.  Go check it out!

With spring craftshows and arts festivals happening now and into April and May, be sure to have some that will bring Spring into mind!  It’s not too early to start promoting for Mother’s Day clutches.

Also, I just listed some more sellers on the the Sellers page of my blog.   I’ve had a couple of requests about having a clutch custom-made using my fine frames, so I’ve added a note on the Sellers Page to let them know to contact you sellers directly to inquire about custom orders.

Thank you for your feedback about increased views and sales!  Keep working at your end, and I’ll keep working on my end to promote your clutches and pass on my referrals.


March 30, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , | 2 Comments


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