Archive for May, 2010

Kicked Out of Virtual Comfort

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

I’ve lived my entire professional career in the virtual world.  Job interviews over video conferencing.  Client requests through instant message.  The final product was always a web site, software, the latest application.

View of an inbox

C'mon, admit it. More days than not you live in your inbox.

You’ve been in this world.  Your email is your to-do list.  People you work with everyday you rarely see face-to-face.  It’s easier to explain “what you do” if you have access to the Internet.

I walked into my meeting at TDIC with a beautiful keynote presentation made on my Mac.  Copies for everyone.  Stapled perfectly vertically.

The TDIC team looked through the ideas on paper in about ten minutes.  Then they wanted to spend the remainder of our time discussing the bag using my current laptop bag as a point of reference.

Immediately I was kicked out of my virtual comfort zone.

You want to look inside my bag?  In the pocket where the highlighter leaked and its all bright yellow?  Where the gum wrappers go to die?  Well, I guess if we have to…OK.

During the meeting I learned two things:

1.  If you’re going to be a bag manufacturer people are going to want to look inside your bag, so it better be as beautiful as those presentations you’re so proud of.  They’re going to ask you to open it up at the bookstore, in the airport and in the ladies room.

2.  While my new venture will always have a presence online (this blog, Facebook, Twitter, a website) I was now in the real world with a finished product that didn’t earn its living in the computer.

The biggest surprise?  It actually felt good.  It felt real.

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My Apple Story

Monday, May 10th, 2010

To get ready for my next meeting with TDIC, I made a presentation of bag ideas on my Mac.  All my work for Alesya Bags would be done on an Apple and all my ePrize work would stay on the PC.  Like a seperation of church and state.

I'm a Mac and I'm a PC

The epic commercial that got me thinking I just might be a Mac.

From the time I starting using a computer I used a PC.  Apple seemed like it was for artsy people only.  Maybe teachers.  PC’s were for serious business folks, like myself.  Moreover, Microsoft was the company of people who worked in offices.

Then I started reading more about Steve Jobs.  Watching his keynotes.  Looking up clips of Pirates of Silicon Valley on YouTube.  Watching Noah Wyle impersonate Steve Jobs at MacWorld.  I realized Jobs was the kind of crazy entrepreneur you couldn’t help but love.

The “I’m a Mac” ads came out.  Now THERE was some marketing I could get behind.  Clever, simple…and no I didn’t want any more viruses thankyouverymuch.  Time to make the switch.

I marched into the gleaming Apple store and announced to the salesperson that I was there to buy a laptop.  Which one?  The MacBook Pro of course.

“What will you be doing with this computer?”  he asked.

“Uploading pictures, browsing the Web, sending email, creating documents” I replied.  (You know, really important stuff.)

“So no video editing, programming or graphic intesive games?”


“OK, so you don’t need the Pro.  This MacBook will be perfect for you.”

He brought me over to the less expensive model.  I looked longingly back at the one I thought I needed.  But wasn’t I an important person?  Doing important things?  Who needed the best computer?

“But what if I want it in silver?” I moaned.

“Get yourself a can of spray paint.”


OK, I got it.  This guy was saving me money and making the best recommendation for my needs.  Plus he was saracastically funny.  SOLD.

This experience gave me the final reason to totally trust Apple.  Now I call people on my iPhone, only purchase music on iTunes, and my husband (who does deal with large files) owns a silver MacBook Pro.  I believe Apple always has my best interest at heart and purchase their products with complete confidence.  And who doesn’t want to work with a company like that?

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Working From Home: Luxury or Liability?

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I’m worried about working from home.  Going to the office is my idea of fun.  I like the camaraderie, getting dressed up and leaving the distractions of the house.

But renting an office for one doesn’t make sense when that money could go towards something like say…zippers.  So, for now “going to the office” means walking down the stairs.  Here’s how the space looks now:

[wpvideo rw7DmmYm]

Inc. Magazine published a feature in their April issue about the entire staff working from home.  While the author, Max Chafkin, pointed to many positive things about working from home – zero commute time, saving money on lunch/gas, flexibility in schedule –  he ended his article by saying:

“As we finished the issue you are reading and started working on the one we hope you will read next month, it was a relief to settle into our old rhythms and to catch up with our old friends. It also was a relief to know that, if pressed, we could survive without our ridiculously nice offices and still make a magazine. But mostly, it was good to be back.”

Phooey – that’s what I was afraid of.

So, on to the good news.  I can make the office look however I want.  No adhering to the corporate colors or sitting at the standard issue desk.  My current inspiration from the May issue of  Martha Stewart Living:

To see more pictures of my office in construction check out the brand new Alesya Bags Facebook page.  If you have any tips or tricks from working from a home office, I’d love to hear them.  Feel free to post here or on Facebook.

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Straps from L.L. Bean

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

As a follow-up from my strap post, here’s an interesting video from L.L. Bean.  It’s about the construction of their iconic bag – the Boat and Tote.  Notice how the strap is put on as one large piece.  Nice.


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