Archive for August, 2010

Where’s the Bag?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
Canal Street Bags

Knockoff Bags on Canal Street in New York City

After searches on this site for “pictures of the bag” kept popping up and even my sister asked why there wasn’t a picture of the prototype I realized I needed an explanation.

There are no pictures of the bag for two reasons:

1. I don’t want to show you the bag until I love it.  I like the prototype a whole lot, but it’s not the final product by any means.

2. The laws in this country don’t protect my design.  (Further explanation below.)

Patents are for nonobvious inventions (not fashion) and copyrights in the United States do not protect anything that has utilitarian function.  A bag would fall into this category.  You can get a trademark on your logo – which I will be doing – but that still doesn’t protect the actual product.

That’s why there is a certain amount of fear when showing the bag to others.  I do carry the prototype around with me to test it out, etc.  Also, I show it to people who have an interest or are helping with the business.  But showing it to dozens of people is certainly different from having it available to millions online.

When the bag is ready I promise you’ll see it here first.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll give me your input on colors, zippers, material – anything that’s important to you in a laptop bag.  Thank you to everyone who asked to see the bag – I really can’t wait to have you hold it, try it on and tell me what you think.

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Prep Night

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Like many of you, Sunday night is my “prep” night – the time when I get ready for the week ahead. Tonight I’m thinking about hardware, logos, fonts, accounting, office furniture and fall fashion. And, of course, how many Emmys Glee is going to win.

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Obsessed with Ruben

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
Ruben Toledo for Nordstrom

Ruben Toledo for Nordstrom

Yesterday I met with the fantastic ladies of Stitch Design Company.  I need to revamp my logo and I’m considering hiring them to help.  We sat down to discuss my thoughts and their process.

The First Family by Ruben Toledo

To prepare for the meeting I put together a binder of ideas about the Alesya Bags brand.  Among my inspirations were three pages dedicated to the art of Ruben Toledo.  I’m obsessed with his work.  We’re talking the trolling-eBay-for-items, buying-books-just-because-he-illustrated-them, searching-Google-everyday-for-info kind of obsessed.

You’ve seen his work, even if you don’t know it.  He often illustrates marketing pieces for Nordstrom, has been in several fashionista type books and his wife Isabel even designed First Lady’s Michelle Obama’s inauguration day outfit.

His images speak to me.  They convey the fun, the seriousness and the most fascinating parts of fashion all at once.  It’s like the most fabulous paper dolls you could image or the best, most chic version of yourself.  In fact, I have a fashion fantasy that one day I’ll have a Ruben Toledo of myself carrying my laptop bag.  Sigh.

I’ll leave you with a few of his illustrations to drool over.  Enjoy.

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I Just Didn’t Do It

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

I didn’t make an important phone call today. “I forgot”. “I didn’t have time.” Total BS. Now you know I didn’t make the call so I have to do it tomorrow. Meeting at 10 AM, call directly after.

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Going from Tweet to Meet

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

PR Guru Elin Nozewski

My good friend and PR guru, Elin (no, no not that Elin) Nozewski came to visit me today.  We worked together when she was at Airfoil Public Relations and I was at ePrize.  Now Elin is a Managing Supervisor at Fleishman-Hillard in St. Louis.

Elin is a public relations Rock Star.  She was given very aggressive (read: nearly impossible) goals while on the ePrize account and exceeded every single one.   Additionally, she’s always given me wonderful advice and invaluable information on the latest PR trends and topics.

We sat down today and talked about Alesya Bags, women’s laptop bags and my current marketing/PR plans.  As always, she had tons of ideas, suggestions and possible sources.

My favorite nugget of our conversation was the idea of a Tweetup.  According to Urban Dictionary a Tweetup is an organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter.

Have you ever been to a Tweetup?

In my case Elin suggested shortly after launching the bag I have a series of Tweetups in New York City where people can come check out the bag for themselves.  Try it on, touch the leather, etc.  I love it!  Merging social media, the fashion capital of the world and my bags.  Perfect.

Have you ever been to a Tweetup?  What was it like?  I’m looking for the next Tweetup in Charleston and will be checking it out for myself.

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Spec Sheet Found

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Good news. After reviewing my materials, I found I do have a Spec Sheet. Not sure its exactly the right thing, but it is a start! I’ve sent it off to China and look forward to hearing Wendy’s thoughts. In the meantime, I still have 12 minutes left of today here in the States and I hope to spend at least one of those in bed.

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Shanghai Update

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Just got off the phone with Wendy (aka Wen Wen) in Shanghai.  So happy she was there at 8:00 AM her time.  We had a short conversation, but it gave me another piece to the puzzle.

I found Wendy through Handbag Designer 101.  I was reminded of this site after reading a tweet from Rosa Alfonso who runs the Twitter account for American Express Open.  This lead me to search the site again.  After reading the Jobs & Services section I found The Bag Trading.

Spec Sheet

Example of a Spec Sheet

Loved the site at first click.  It was approximatly 453% better than any other manufacturing site I’d seen.  It’s like they were marketing to me.

They also have all the services I need – sampling, sourcing, manufacturing, design and quality control.   How awesome would it be to have everything done under one roof?

After speaking with Wendy tonight I’ve realized I need a professional Spec Sheet.  I have a pleather prototype and a CAD sketch of the front and back of the bag.  Now I need the other piece to the puzzle – and I found the clue in Shanghai.

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What’s the Country Code for China?

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

86. In case you were wondering.

I found a company in Shanghai that looks like an organization I’d want to work with. Rather than do the the email game I’m going to call them tonight. Because tonight is tomorrow there. If it goes well I’ll blog about it tonight.

Have I ever done business in China before? No. But I can’t see that stopping me.

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The Girl Who…Made a Laptop Bag

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara was recently picked to play Lisbeth Salander aka The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I’m almost 2/3 of they way through “The Girl Who…” series by Stieg Larsson.  At the end of “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and Lisbeth is – well not to spoil it but she’s at a pivotal moment.

It often feels like this venture is a mystery with clues.  Find a lead, track down the answer and connect the dots.  I’m hoping to see a complete circle of thought shortly, but so far all I have are the clues.  Here are the dots I’m working on now:

1. I’ve talked to a few large manufacturers and they want a large quantity of bags produced – we’re talking about 100 per month – to work with me.  I’ve talked to independent craftsman and they really want to create one-of-a-kind custom pieces.  So now I’m looking for a happy medium – the mid-sized manufacturer who will revamp my prototype.  Also, I’ve learned I need a company who specifically sews and not so much manufactures.

2. Had a big meeting with my coach last week and decided on my top five goals for the rest of the year.  My homework for tomorrow was mapping the steps of each one out.  The big kahuna is “To have one completed bag done by 12/31/10.”  Cue Under Pressure.

3. At the recommendation of Megan Auman and her website Craft MBA I purchased Making It: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design. It was a great book but geared more towards the entrepreneur who wants to make something like a chair.  Thanks to the magic suggestion power of Amazon, I’m now reading Materials and Design, Second Edition: The Art and Science of Material Selection in Product Design which I can already tell will lead me to other books of interest.

Off to finish my homework for tomorrow’s meeting.  I’m sure it will lead me to my next clue.

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