Archive for August, 2012


Monday, August 27th, 2012
Real Kitchen

A lot of the time my kitchen looks like this.

I don’t know if you noticed, but the Internet is really keepin’ it real lately.  Bloggers, instragrammers and writers are raising the white flag and saying “Hey, my life isn’t perfect.  In fact, it’s far from it.  I’m tried of pretending I live in a magazine!”  It’s like everyone decided to take a collective exhale.

<Inhale> I love it. <Exhale>

For my part, although I do talk about when things are not peachy keen, I’ve also included a few very real photos of my house.  Diaper bags and laptop bags live in relative harmony with unemptied dishwashers and microwaved mac & cheese.  These photos took exactly 30 seconds to take.  That’s the best part about being truthful – it’s so much easier!

Mac & Cheese

Totally Unstyled Mac & Cheese

As I’ve gained more Alesya Bags clients I’ve shied away from writing posts about being an entrepreneur.  I need to get back into that.  It’s not all pretty, but it is the story that needs to be told.  I know you – whether you’re a client or a person with the dream of their own business – will enjoy hearing the whole story and not just the pretty parts.

As I was writing this post I heard the bags have been flagged by customs again.  (Shakes fist at sky.)  This means there will be at least a week delay in the bags getting here.  (Shakes fist at sky again.)  Not only is this a frustration for clients, it’s a real business problem as well.  The longer I have to wait to sell bags, the longer I have a cash flow issue.

I imagine everyone who sells the a physical product has the same issue.  You can’t sell you product until you have it.  But you can’t get it until you pay for it to be made and shipped.  It’s one reason why starting is a business is difficult.  But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.  It just means not everyone will do it!

In addition to bag updates, look for more business updates in this space.  It’s time to get back to my messy roots.

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Fall 2012 FAQ’s

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Fall 2012 Surprise! Alesya BagsTime for some frequently asked questions about the new line!  These came from the Alesya Bags Facebook page.

Timing – The shipping company is running behind from their original timeline.  The bags are set to be in Los Angeles on August 27 – 6 days from today.  Then we wait for them to clear customs and ride across the country to South Carolina.  This takes a week to ten days.  Of course, I’ll be hoping for less.

The big issue is this delay runs us right into Labor Day and a holiday weekend.  So perhaps that means I’ll be launching the new bags the day after Labor Day – Tuesday, September 4th.

As I get more info I will let you know.  Trust me, I’m just as anxious as you are!

Wait List – Everyone on the Wait List will get an email the moment the bags are available online.  I might also send out of preview of the colors… but not promises on that yet!  Sign up for the Wait List here.

Colors – My friend Kate and about a million other people want to know about colors.  Here are my hints (don’t forget to check out the inspirational Pinterest board)  and until them my lips are sealed.  For the handful of people who have seen the colors, they have reacted very positively.  I believe you will too!

Version 2.0 Differences – Jeanette asked about this including if there will be more allowance for a 15″ laptop.  The biggest technical difference in the new bag are the zippers.  They’ve been upgraded to YKK and have an easier slide to them.  Another change is the laptop pocket has been moved down within the bag.  So YES Jeanette there will be more room for your 15″!

Pocket Sizes – Nitcha asked about the other pocket sizes.  They will all be exactly the same!  The front pocket can hold your wallet, passport, business cards, sunglasses and pens.  The large pocket in the back can hold an iPad, a book, a magazine or a file folder.  There is also plenty of room for your power cord.  The top pocket is for things like your keys, lip gloss and parking pass.

Price & Payment – Kimberly asked if there would be a price change.  Yes, the price will go up from $265 to $289.  Not a huge jump, but one that will help me with retailers.  Majal asked how she could pay for her bag.  The site will accept all credit and debit cards including American Express.

17″ Bag -A few folks want to know about the progress of the bag for a 17″ laptop.  It’s coming along, but slowly.  The one issue we’re having is how much leather it will take for this size of a bag.  Perhaps the bag will be to heavy.  Perhaps the price will be too high.  These questions need to be answered before I can move forward.

Shipping – Sharon and Genevieve asked about shipping outside the United States.  YES, we will be shipping internationally.  The price will depend on your country and local customs, etc.  You’ll be able to calculate your shipping costs before you check out on the site.

If you are using a freight forwarder, the box size is 18.25″ X 14.75″ X 4″.  The whole package will weight about 8 lbs.

How Can I Justify Buying a Second Bag? – Ha!  I loved this question from Susan.  These new bags will go with totally different outfits than the first set.  Also, if this is a bag you carry every day, having a new one in the rotation might not be a bad thing.

Do you have more questions?  Leave them in the comments section and I’ll make sure they are answered.


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Alesya Opelt Is Not My Name

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Larry and Cindy Opelt on their honeymoon in Bermuda, August 1972

My name isn’t Alesya Opelt anymore.  My married name is Alesya Macatol, but I continue to use Alesya Opelt professionally.  People always assume it’s for because I’m a feminist.  I just let them think that.

That’s not the real reason.

During the first day of my  sophomore high school English class imposing teacher Tom Pryor conducted roll call.  After each name he checked us off and quickly moved on.

“Alesya Opelt?”

I raised my hand.  Mr. Pryor paused and looked at me.  A 15-year-old’s worse nightmare – extra attention from a teacher.

“Opelt, Opelt, Opelt…” he repeated as he rubbed his chin in thought.  “Are you related to Cindy Opelt?”

“Yes,” I nodded trying to say as little as possible.

Mr. Pryor smiled, “And how are you related?”

“She’s my mother.” I responded.  The whole class laughed.  I wondered if I had something on my shirt.

“It doesn’t seem like Cindy is old enough to have someone your age.” Mr. Pryor questioned.  I shrugged.

After class I asked my friends Lisa and Susan, “Why did everyone laugh at me?”

“Normally, when you are asked you how you related to someone the answer is your aunt or cousin or something that.  It’s surprising that it was your mom,” Lisa explained.  Susan nodded in agreement.

“Oooohhhh,” I replied.  No wonder I didn’t get the joke.  It wasn’t surprising to me.

Cindy and Larry Opelt at a friend's wedding, May 1982

Growing up in a small town this happened all the time.  I had an unusual last name and only my immediate family lived within 100 miles.  Every time I’d introduce myself to an adult the response would always come back something like “Your father Larry and I play golf together,” or “Of course you are!  You talk just like Cindy,” or “Your dad and I have worked together for twenty years.”

Each time it happened I beamed.

Cindy and Larry Opelt in Adrian, Michigan - Christmas 2003

I was so proud when someone figured out I was my parent’s daughter.  My dad is smart, sharp and honest.   My mom is stylish, confident and shares my exact sense of humor.  They are both hard working and trustworthy with never hair out of place.  I’ve always felt like it gave me instant credibility when someone knew I was their daughter.

When I got married my only worry was that no one would realize I was the Opelt’s daughter anymore.  Silly, I know.  But I loved my last name.  Not because it signified that I was an my own person, but because it means I am Cindy and Larry’s person.  I use Opelt professionally because I never wanted to lose that distinction.  My parents are such good people.  It’s an honor to be associated with them.

Cindy and Larry Opelt in Gulf Shores, Alabama - March, 2007

Today is my parents 40th wedding anniversary.  In those forty years they’ve done a lot.  They had successful careers, earned degrees, built a house, traveled, raised two daughters and welcomed two granddaughters.  But their biggest accomplishment is having a happy marriage for the last four decades.  Growing up it gave me and my sister a solid base to navigate the trials of childhood.  Now it gives us a life to which we can aspire.

Living several states away from my hometown, no one asks me if I’m Larry and Cindy’s daughter when I introduce myself.  It doesn’t stop me from wishing that they would.  It’s now more likely that they ask me if I’m Maribelle or Dorothy’s mom.  And that’s pretty good too.

My parents with my daughters Maribelle Cynthia and Dorothy Lee

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!  I love you both very much. Thank you for being the ultimate role models. ~A

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