Archive for July, 2010

Elegant Mafia

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

It’s time for a review of my goals and I asked my coach, Jackie,  to send over a list of the subjects we covered during our very first coaching session.  Of course, she did me one better and sent over her meticulous notes, in a beautiful Cultivated Coaching chart with room for me to fill in my thoughts for our next meeting.  Awesome.

Lipstick Jungle vs. Cashmere Mafia: Shows that split ratings and both lost. I still miss the clothes.

Under my values I listed “elegant”.  When I read this I did a double take.  I wanted to be elegant?  Or I thought I was?  Hilarious.  If you asked me to rank “Elegant” as an important quality for my life right now it would end up somewhere around #427.

Further down the list I found the term “Cashmere Mafia“.  Now THIS sparked my interest.  Images of high powered, well dressed women with close friends came to mind.  A vision that got lost in the shuffle in the past 18 months.

These are prime examples of why it’s important to review and adjust your goals.  Your needs change.  Your expectations change.  Your life changes!

Some ideas you have to set aside.  They aren’t important or maybe just not feasible.  Other goals you forget about even if they are something you still want.

P.S. – If you review your goals and realize a Cashmere Mafia Membership is one of them, drop me a line.  We’re taking applications.

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Part Two: Library Information

Friday, July 30th, 2010

One of the pages I "iPhone Copied"

My second reason for going to the library was more conventional.  I needed manufacturing information.

After reading the a post in the Biz Ladies section of Design*Sponge one of my suspicions was confirmed.  Local is better when you are working to make something.

In the reference section, the library has a book of all the manufactures in South Carolina.  (Coincidently it’s made by Gale Cengage – a company not 45 miles away from my residence in Michigan.) I’ve searched ThomasNet and it’s a great resource.  However, sometimes I’m not even sure of the best terms to look for.  Having it all laid out in front of me was a huge help.

I took pictures with my iPhone of the sections of interest.  The next step will be finding the companies who can help me.  And the process continues…

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Library Inspiration

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I love libraries.  The quiet.  The order.  Being able to physcially find the answer.  Having a guide you can ask almost any question.  Perfect.

(Well, if they would let me have a Diet Coke while I roamed the stacks THEN it would be perfect.)

1950's Promotional Map of Charleston, SC

Yesterday I took a trip to the main branch of the Charleston Public Library in search of inspiration and information.

The interior of a bag is a place designed solely for the owner.  Its a secret treat every time you open your bag.  The outside world might get a glimse, but you know the bag maker put it there for just you to enjoy.

I’d like to do custom interior fabrics for my bag and have an idea that it should be a map.  Maps also have order and give me a feeling of calm and possibility when I look at them.  Older maps add a bit of whimsy.

The map pictured here was my favorite – fun color palette and stylish fonts.  To see more of the maps I found check out the Alesya Bags Facebook Page.

My second favorite map is the London Tube map.  It really is a work of art (to see what the actual geographical map looks like go here) and to me its magical.  Get on the tube, follow the directions of the woman who tells you to “Mind the Gap” and *poof* you pop up in your destination.

 

London Tube Map

What kind of lining does your favorite bag have?  Let me know, I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Go Daddy: Not Just Sexy Superbowl Ads

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010
Go Daddy

Danica Patrick in one of her GoDaddy spots

I purchased AlesyaBags.com over a year ago.  It was a symbolic move and I didn’t want to deal with someone cyber-squatting like they are at Alesya.com.

To buy my first domain I went to the head of the ePrize technology department, Sagar Parvataneni.  The man who figured out how to host millions of visitors each day could surely tell me the secret to purchasing a domain.

“Sagar, I’d like to buy a domain, where should I go?”

Go Daddy

“Um, really?”

“Yes.”

“No…you’re joking right?!”  (I was thinking – Those people with the terrible Superbowl commercials?  With the women taking their shirts off?  I’m supposed to trust them with my serious business endevor?)

“No, actually they are really good.  And the prices are reasonable.  That’s who I’d use.”

So, I did.  And the funny thing is every single hosting person I’ve talked to about this has said the exact same thing.  Looks like Go Daddy just might be onto something with this whole using attractive women to market to men thing.  Go figure.

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The Year of the Launch

Sunday, July 18th, 2010
Birthday Flowers

Flowers from my husband

Today is my birthday.  As you get older, it’s less about cake and presents and more about reflecting on what you did in the past year.  I’ve found that if I feel good about what I’ve accomplished I have a great birthday.  If I’m less than thrilled it motivates me to plan for the next year.

Recent years have been marked by significant milestones.  The Year We Got Married.  The Year We Had a Baby.  The Year We Moved to South Carolina.  All great and highly fulfilling.

To continue on that trend I plan on this year being the year the bag goes on the market.  The year my business gets off the ground.  The Year of the Launch.

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Shopping Local

Friday, July 16th, 2010
Carriage and Horse in Downtown Charleston

Marcus the Horse from our carriage tour of downtown Charleston yesterday.

Shopping locally is more popular than ever.  Growing environmental and economic concerns have folks especially interested in supporting local businesses.

In Detroit, shopping local means owning an American made car.  I can remember one of my grade school friends flashing a hand-written “BUY AMERICAN” sign each time we’d see a foreign car go by our back seat window.

Here in Charleston there are tons of local shops, boutique hotels, produce stands and restaurants.  They are excellent, unique and, quite honestly, female friendly.  It makes it easy and fun to support the economy.

For my part, I’m bringing my business from the Midwest to the South.  But, I have to admit while it feels good to support people in my neighborhood, it’s mostly for selfish reasons.  Well, one reason: I like having some face time.  A personal relationship.  Knowing what the person at the other end of the phone looks like.

My sister Kealy is an agile development software guru.  When I first started this blog I asked Kealy to help me find someone to make some technical changes to the site.  In about two seconds she’d found me someone who did a great job at a reasonable price.  I was thrilled.

The only problem was this woman lived in Michigan.  I like meetings where you sit across the table from one another.  Catching up over breakfast.  Knowing the people I hire can easily pop by if I need them.

I know, how positively old fashion of me.

Mayor Joe Riley

Mayor Joe Riley on King Street in downtown Charleston

This week I’ve taken steps to hire an agency locally who will help me with my Web needs.  One of the founders I see regularly in my Hip Hop class.

While right now I only have a few requests, both the agency and I know there will be a time when I need a full-blown Web site.  We are hoping to grow – locally – together.

As far as manufacturing the bag goes, I’m running into a bit of trouble.  Thanks to Mayor Joe Riley (who hasn’t lost an election since he ran 30+ years ago) the main business in Charleston is tourism.  While it makes Chuck Town a fabulous place to live, unless Boeing is willing to help me out I will need to travel to have the bag made.

If you have a manufacturer you love, please let me know.  I’m anxious to find someone who will do a wonderful job.  And one who won’t mind have one of those crazy in person meetings every once in a while.

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Birkin Boom

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Paula Creamer

Paula Creamer - Champion & Fashionista

Traffic to this blog has doubled in the last few days as people search for the Hermès Birkin Bag.  Phrases like “hermes birkin” and “birkin bag” are dominating my search terms.  Visitors are being led to the first page about the Alesya Bag just because I included a picture of the iconic purse.

Perhaps they are looking for the chance to purchase their own bag.  The Gilt Group recently put 9 bags up for sale.  According to reports, at least two of the four to five-figure bag sold out in minutes.

Maybe they are interested and confused golf fans.  Paula Creamer won the US Open over the weekend.  Is she going to Disney World?  No, she sheepishly revealed what she REALLY wants is a Birkin Bag.  It’s no surprise since Creamer is known as a fashionista both on and off the course.  As a fellow fashion dreamer I hope a pink Berkin lands on her doorstep soon.

Talking about an empire – Hermès is just that.  And the Birkin Bag is their ambassador to infamy.  Since 1984 the bag has represented class, celebrity an cache.

Pink Birkin Bag

Paula Creamer's Next Bag?

As a the founder of a bag company, I can only fantasize about this success.  For now.  In the years to come I hope people are talking about getting an Alesya Bag to complete their bag collection.  Or better yet, to start it.  Dream a little dream.

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The Beginning of an Empire

Monday, July 12th, 2010

We moved.  Sitting at my new desk I’m surrounded by a box of curtains needing to be hung, a mirror propped up against the wall and a stack of warranties.  But it’s easy to ignore the undone parts because the desk is here.

The Desk in my unfinished office

THE Desk

A desk symbolizes and inspires work.  Work being done…GETTING done.  Dragging my parents and husband to a dozen stores I was like Goldilocks of the Low Country.  One desk was too generic.  One was too big.  One was WAY too expensive!  This is a start-up for goodness sake.

In our first ePrize office a lot of people had folding tables as desks.  As we quickly expanded ordering “real” office furniture wasn’t a priority.  People didn’t care because the tables were a symptom of how fast we were growing.  They were a symbol of our success.

Then we moved into our new offices in Pleasant Ridge – a beautifully renovated old brewery. It was filled with new desks, chairs, business cards… the works.

We had another growth spurt and with it came more folding tables.  This time folks were NOT happy.  Having a folding table in such spanking new environment made you stick out.  It wasn’t just about the function of the desk.  It was about how the aesthetic made you feel.

After yielding no results on my retail desk hunt, I turned to Craigslist.  Bingo.  A man one exit up was “ending a relationship” and moving from his large home into an apartment.  His desk was an old library table from Florida.  Not pristine but perfectly functional.  Available for 150 bucks.

This one was just right.  Ahhhh.

As I sit and look over my kingdom (the aforementioned curtains and warranties) I can feel the pieces falling into place.  At this desk the work will get done.  The empire has begun.

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