Archive for July, 2012

Tentative Shipping Timeline

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Good news!  I received the advanced shipping schedule overnight.  Here’s where we are:

  • The bags are scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on August 16th
  • Customs usually takes about 3 days
  • Then it will take about 4 days for them to go across the country from LA to Summerville, SC
  • It would seem that August 27th is the day the bags will go on sale

Before you go pulling out your red pen to circle the date, don’t forget how customs went the last time.  And lets face it, I didn’t handle the delay well.  In fact, I made such stink about it here’s what my friend Dan posted on my Facebook wall for my birthday over a year later:

Let’s just hope I don’t get so carried away this time!  I’m really the picture of patience so I don’t expect it will be an issue.  (Ahem.)

I will keep you updated as the bags progress.  Want to be the very first to know when they are available?  Please sign up for the Wait List so you don’t miss out.

 

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New Shipping Partner

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Pratt Industries Summerville Warehouse

As I previewed on Facebook yesterday, I have a new shipping and packaging partner – Pratt Industries.  They have locations all over the country and I’ll be working with the team right up the road in Summerville.

What happened to the warehouse I was working with?  It was sold.  And with that sale management changed hands.  It was pretty clear they didn’t want my kind of business anymore.  I had to make a change.

Pratt Industries Fork Lift

Jerry Ward – the manager of the Summerville location – reached out to me a year ago. At the time I was 100% happy and didn’t want to change partners.  When the situation started to change 3 months ago I was grateful that Jerry had kept in contact.

Not only are Jerry and his team shipping the bags out, they are also creating the new boxes.  You’ve seen the mock-up.  Below is the first glimpse at the real thing.

Pratt Industries Alesya Bags BoxAlong with this change comes another shipping change.  Alesya Bags will now be sent via UPS rather than FedEx.  Clients will still be offered several shipping options and should see little to no change in the cost.

The first two bag were sent from Pratt yesterday.  I hope it’s the first two of thousands.

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Monday’s Agenda

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Today I’m anxiously awaiting the UPS truck.  Two bags have been randomly pulled from the 600 in China and are scheduled to be on my doorstep today.  Once I approve them the factory will ship the rest.

Those two bags will then get sent to the most interested retailer buyers.  Notice I said “most interested”.  Not largest or most potential.  The goal is to get a couple of wins under our belts!

Meanwhile, I’m working on Spring 2013 ideas.  What the colors might be, the feel and bag changes., etc.  To see my initial thoughts head over to Pinterest (like you’re not there anyway) to see my inspiration board for the next season.  The ideas all started with this ad from Jackie Smith.  I’m obsessed with it.

And yes, as always, I will take your color suggestions and requests.  Spring gives me the opportunity to get a bit crazier color wise, so don’t hold back!

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Retailer Update

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

One of my big goals is to have Alesya Bags in retail locations by the end of the year.  My sales efforts are being lead by consultant Jim Debetta who has been making significant strides over the past few months.  Many of you have been asking for an update on progress so here it is!

Jim has reached out to dozens of retailers and has yet to receive a flat out “NO!”.  We’ve had significant interest from about 15 major stores (some you would know) both here in the States and overseas.   I’m not going to mention any of the names until we have a deal done.  If you’re a salesperson/entrepreneur you know what I mean – the deal’s not done until the check is cashed.

Alesya Bags Retail Samples

The bags are just about finished in China and I’ll be getting my production samples on Monday.  Once I approve them about 30 bags will be airmailed while the rest will be sent by boat.

When I receive the airmailed bags I’ll quickly be sending them to retailers along with a handwritten card from me.  Jim has been careful to make sure these folks have real interest because of how expensive for me send out a bag.  Not only is the bag pricey, it means I can’t sell one to a client!

Jim will follow up with retailers and find out their thoughts.  If they are interested they will most likely do a test.  Perhaps only a few stores in their chain, etc.  Once we have any solid orders I will certainly let all of you know.

In the meantime, we’re almost on the 30 day countdown to new bags.  If you haven’t already be sure to sign up for the Wait List so you’ll know the moment they are available.

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Fall 2012 Photo Shoot Peek

Monday, July 16th, 2012

About four weeks ago, we had the Alesya Bags Fall 2012 photo shoot.  I was much happier with the results.  It has nothing to do with the people working on it (they were almost all the same!) but more to do with my own skills.  I know more about what I want, what to ask for and how to get the desired outcome.

I took the models to Canvas for hair prep.  They do my hair – no small task since I’m (gasp) high maintenance – and just about all my friends’ hair too.  Love them.  And this time I had two models, KiAnna Drayton and Lydia Davidson.

Alesya Bags Canvas Salon

While at the salon, make-up was done by Leslie Moore.  I’m always happy to get Leslie because she is so busy!  Then the team met at the Market Pavilion Hotel.  Did you know they had Hermès soap in the rooms?  Talk about high end.

Alesya Bags Hermès Soap

Charleston Fashion Icon Ayoka Lucas did the styling again.  **Side note on Ayoka – she is a fashion professional and THE fashion pro here in Charleston.  Every time we meet I learn something new to help the business.  Notice I said the business.  That is the different between a fashion pro and a fashion fan. Ayoka knows the business of fashion.

Our first location was the hotel lobby. We were in love with these pants from Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant.  Ayoka pulled the clothing choices from them and I may have been so happy when I saw the results that a squealed and clapped a little.  Ahem, ok, a lot.


From there we went to the Customs House.  Of course, Charlotte Elizabeth Photographer captured the images.  Charlotte is eight months pregnant in this photo.  Please don’t tell her husband I let her stand on that wall!  I still can’t believe she did this job for me.


Our last location was the bus shed downtown.  Geoff Maas was Charlotte’s assistant for the day and not only was he extremely helpful, he added some much needed testosterone to the group.  SO sorry he’s hiding the new bags here!


Can’t wait to show you all more…~A

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Fall 2012 Inspiration

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Rashida Jones Social NetworkAs I crafted the Fall 2012 line, I had a certain woman in mind.  She is a woman who is:

  • Confident and tells me her bag desires – leather color, hardware type, functionality needs…the whole nine yards
  • Wearing clothes like this
  • In a career where she has at least one suit in her closet is perhaps a lawyer, accountant, banker, CEO, salesperson, etc.
  • Subscribed to Corporette
  • A mix between Rashida Jones’ character in The Social Network (above) and Elle Wood’s more conservative looks in Legally Blonde (below)
  • Traveling a lot for both business and pleasure
  • Pressed for time and needs to have one go-t0 bag rather than packing/unpacking several
  • Known for getting what she wants

Elle Woods Lawyer Legally Blonde

Having this woman in mind helped me answer every question about the new bags.  Now I’m wondering…is this woman you?

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New Office

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Since Spark! closed at the the end of the year, I’ve been office-less.  Because I was so ill and/or super pregnant I didn’t think it was a good investment to lease office space.  Instead, I’d try to work from home or a restaurant with free wi-fi.

I’ve been slowly looking for office space, but once my second daughter was born, I realized I needed to put the hunt on the top of my list.  Little to no work was getting done at home and it was become more and more frustrating working in an open environment.  (Can I get a seat near a plug?  Why is that woman chatting so loudly?  Why isn’t the wi-fi working?  Should I be ordering more food?)

On Monday, I moved into a small office (above) in the Old Village neighborhood about 20 minutes away from my house.  And while my associate Jim says it looks like “Cell Block A”, I have to confess, I love it.  It’s quiet, there are several electrical outlets and of course, I have internet access.  What more could a entrepreneur ask for?

The building and sounding area are currently being developed by the I’on Group (yes the same folks who created the neighborhood of the same name – see photo below).  I’m excited to watch this building transform and to see the new ones go up.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the other folks in the office have been extremely nice to me.

Now, the office is nothing glamorous.  At all (see building photo below).  And I really need to decorate!  But to me, it’s a little piece of heaven (Personal note:  That one is for you Betsy).  I’ve completed more in the last few days than I’ve managed to do in the last few weeks.  I can take phone calls with ease.  And my gadgets never run out of juice.  Ahhhhhh.

Frankly, I can’t believe I didn’t move into an office sooner.  I was so afraid of making the investment, that I sacrificed my productivity in the process.  Lesson learned.

As one of my new office mates put it, I have real “Apple Store” vibe going in the office right now.  Fear not, Charlotte Elizabeth Photographer is going to help me with some Alesya Bags photography.  Also, I’ll be putting a few more things up as time goes on.  But for now, I’m a very happy girl with a desk, chair and a fully charged laptop.

 

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Final Sample Bags

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

About five weeks ago, the final sample bags arrived on my doorstep.  It’s like Christmas when you are 8, but way, way better.  I couldn’t wait to tear into carefully open the boxes and check out the final product.

Once again, I had three colors made.  There were two bags in each of the colors plus an extra bag made to send back to the factory for my approval.  I could tell each one was carefully stuffed and packed – already a good sign.

The first thing I noticed were the new zippers.  WOW.  I know you are going to be really happy with the improvement.  We upgraded to YKK zippers which are a vast difference.  I’m very proud to make that investment on the second version of the bags.

The other thing I was very interested to see were the colors.  You’ve seen the leather samples I get…sometimes it feels like ordering a car color from a paint chip.  It might look great in the brochure but it looks totally different on a whole car.  (My grandmother once ended up with a pink car due to this exact issue.)

Two of the colors were exactly as I expected so it was easy to confirm my order of 600 bags right away.  One of these colors I know you’ll love and the other one might be unexpected, but – and I don’t normally say this – looks pretty darn hot.  Can’t wait to show it to you.

The third color I was a bit unsure of at first.  But the small group of people who have seen it just love it.  Also, I think it’s the bag color I’d be most likely to carry myself.  If these 600 bags sell out in 30 days or so, I will place an order for the third color for the holidays.  I think it will really make a beautiful – and exciting – gift.

In the meantime, the first two colors are in production NOW and set to be finished on the 20th of this month.  Then it will take about 30 days to get the bags shipped here.  I will keep you posted on their progress!

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