Archive for January, 2012

What’s in the Box?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

On Friday I posted this photo to the Alesya Bags Facebook page.  Another box came from China on Friday.  Right before the Chinese New Year too, which is a really good thing.

It said GOOD on several sides which I thought must be a good omen.   Or at least that the customs gods were on my side.  I opened it up and here’s what was inside:Wait a minute…isn’t that the same bag I already have?  What’s so new and exciting about that?  Well yes, no and kind of.

Let’s back up for a moment.

Here’s the news – I have hired a new manufacturer.  I was 75% happy with the old one.  But when push came to shove I didn’t think they lived up to their contract.  Were the bags good?  Yes!  But just like any product I will always be working to make them better.  And one big way to do this is by getting a new manufacturer.

I’m now working through a company in California who has many projects with this factory.  So far it’s been better for several reasons.  Culturally, it’s easier to work with someone in your own country.  The baseline of expectations is already in place.

The new company has also been way more up front with pricing.  For instance, I already know what it will cost to make, ship and package each bag based on three different quantity levels.  WAY more information than I had at this point in the process with the old company.

So what is the bag pictured above?

On Friday I recieved two bags – one in eggplant and one in tan – that were meant to duplicate what I already had.  I needed to judge the new manufacturer to see if they understood the bag and if I was happy with the quality.  As you can see below, they are generic bags.  No Alesya Bags branding anywhere on the bag.

I’ve compared this bag to my old one and there are some changes to be made.  Nothing major, but all important.  Now I’ll send those changes to my contact in California and we’ll move on to the next bag.  That new bag will include a few bag changes plus new colors.

In a word – PROGRESS.  On to the next!

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Entrepreneur TV

Friday, January 20th, 2012

In case you didn’t hear the big news…SHARK TANK is back tonight!  I’ve already set my DVR for 8:00 PM on ABC, channel 4 if  you are in Charleston.  I normally tweet live during the show but I’ll be enjoying a much needed dinner out with friends.

Every business owner with a dream that I know watches this show.  Over and over again.  (You can watch many of the old episodes on Hulu.)  If you’d like to see a preview of this season ABC posted an inspiring women entrepreneurs video over on their Facebook page.  I also noticed there is a new female shark and I’m really looking forward to learning more about her.

The other show that has sucked me in is Project Runway All-Stars.   At first I was snobby about it – no Tim?  No Heidi, Michael or Nina?  No thank you!  But I have since changed my tune.  Creative business owners chasing their goals is still something I want to see.

Last night’s episode was especially fun because the client was the one and only, Miss Piggy.  She was the subject of my Pecha Kucha talk and I consider her a role model.  Go strong women!

If you like Project Runway, you’ll dig the All-Star version even with their changes.  I’m rooting for so many of the designers, but would love to see Austin Scarlett win it all.  Do you have any favorites?

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Thursday, January 19th, 2012

That’s right folks, every color is now sold out.  Thank you for all your orders!  I hope everyone is enjoying their bag.  It’s been wonderful to hear from many of you and I love reading your comments, suggestions and encouragement.

For those of you on the Wait List it looks like I might have some good news in 2-3 weeks.  The plan is to have 6-24 more bags in each color.  As soon as they are available you’ll get an email.  First come, first served.  I’ve been getting requests every day – which I am thrilled about!

And YES, there will be a new collection out in the Spring.  New colors and a very similar, but updated style.  After I get this round out we can talk about new styles, etc.  I’ve received your suggestions and I HEAR you!  So far, at the top of the list as been a bag for a 17″ laptop.

Every penny earned with the sale of these bags is going  back into the company.  I came very close to breaking even and feel pretty good about it.  Now those funds will be used mainly to front the money for the next line.  Other costs will include photography, website updates and sales materials.  More on ALL this soon.

Thank you again for your orders.  I learned so much this holiday season.  You made my year.

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Wanted: Office Space

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

By the end of 2011 I knew 2012 would be a year of change for me.

The first indication came when Spark! Charleston sent a message to the residents that the building would be closing at the end of the year.  It’s located in a tiny strip mall and there are several vacancies.  My understanding is the owner is going to combine some of these spaces and then rent them out to larger tenants.

This is left me without an office.

At first, it seemed like this wouldn’t be a big deal.  I’d work from home and not feel guilty about spending money on rent.  Plus, with a baby coming in May I thought it would be a waste to have an office space sit empty while I went on maternity leave.

After a few weeks of working from home again, I’ve changed my mind.  Having a desk outside the home is key to my business and personal success.  Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • A shared office in downtown Charleston, Mt. Pleasant or Daniel Island
  • Nothing fancy, just a desk will do.  I don’t need a real office or even a cubicle.
  • Reasonable (read: cheap) Rent
  • Access to the building 24/7 because my work schedule isn’t 9-5
  • Pro-entrepreneur environment

If you have any ideas I’d love to hear them.  Leave a comment or email me at alesya (at)

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Apologies for My Absence

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

As you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from email, Facebook and Twitter.  Absent for most of life, actually.  I’ve been dealing with a family illness and had to make it my number one priority.

I won’t be going into the details here because it’s not my story to tell.  It will be an ongoing issue and again, it won’t be my place to recount those details.  Nor do I really want to.

If you are a friend or associate of mine and would like to know what’s going on, please feel free to drop me an email.  I’m having a difficult time talking on the phone, so email would likely be best.

Over the next 48 hours I’ll be catching up on work.  If you’ve contacted me, hang in there.  I’ll be getting to you shortly.  Thanks.

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