Archive for the ‘Charleston Champion’ Category

Sideshow Press at the National Stationary Show

Monday, May 20th, 2013
Sideshow Press NSS2013

Image via Sideshow Press

Sideshow Press (sister company to Stitch Design Co.) relaunched their website in conjunction with their appearance at the the National Stationary Show.  As you might recall, the women of Stitch are responsible for the Alesya Bags branding.  Not only do I love their work, but I’m a huge fan of the meticulous, high standard manner in which they run their brands.

Sideshow Press NSS2013

Image via Sideshow Press

“Reeling in memories of canoe trips and crackling campfires, the 2013 Sideshow Press collection aims for a bulls-eye with a four-season mix of outdoor-inspired gear that ventures beyond paper goods.”  If you have kids going to camp this summer or if you are just homesick for a little camping yourself, I know you’ll love what these talented ladies created.

I don’t have kids old enough for camp, nor would I consider myself “outdoorsy” (I know you are falling off your chair right now with that revelation), but I couldn’t resist pre-ordering these two items.

It's Going Swimmingly - Sideshow Press

Image via Sideshow Press

Sideshow Press - Mail Tape

Image via Sideshow Press

To see even more visit Sideshow Press’ Instagram or their blog.  Congratulations on this latest collection ladies!  It’s exciting to watch you continue to grow, design and generally kick ass.  ~A

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Mary Norton’s Eggs

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Mary NortonMary Norton, founder of the handbag line Moo Roo, gave a surprisingly forthcoming presentation to a group of business owners in Charleston yesterday.  Included was a fantastic story about Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran.  You know about my obsession with Shark Tank so I had to share the story.

But first, a little background on Mary.

Mary Norton is an extremely successful bag designer here in Charleston.  Her bags were carried by oodles of celebrities (see below), she had gorgeous boutiques filled with her designs and the bags were chosen as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things.

Moo Roo Bags with CelebritiesOnce the bags really took off a group of investors infused millions into her company.  They re-branded it from Moo Roo to Mary Norton and changed the products.  This proved to be a big mistake and they ultimately declared bankruptcy.

And now onto the story…

Barbara Corcoran - Shark TankAfter the business folded Mary was invited to attend a “Reinvention” conference hosted by More Magazine.  She went but was very unhappy about it.  As she sat down another woman with short hair sat down next to her.

“Are you hitting on me?” asked the woman to Mary.

“No!” Mary exclaimed, “You sat down next to me!”

“Well, then why are you here?” the woman replied.

“I don’t know why I’m here.  I don’t even want to be around all these happy women!  Why are you here?” rebuffed Mary.

“I’m Barbara Corcoran and I’m here to give the presentation today.  Why are you so unhappy?”

(Side note: Apparently Mary never watches Shark Tank.  I’m going to let that go – for NOW.)

Golden GooseMary went on to tell her tale of woe to Barbara.  The two women discussed their business and then Barbara summed up Mary’s position.  “Well you’re the goose that laid the golden egg.”

“That’s RIGHT.  I AM the goose that laid the golden egg!  Why did this happen to me then?” Mary wondered.

“But it’s just a fucking egg.”  Barbara remarked.  Mary was shocked.  “WHAT?!” she questioned.

Barbara explained, “It’s just one egg.  YOU are the goose.  YOU could lay a thousand more eggs.”

….

Talk about an AH-HA moment.  Such a great story for all of us to remember.  If one great idea doesn’t work out, then just come up with the next one.  You’re the idea MAKER, not just the idea.

For more on Mary Norton and what she’s doing now visit her website at www.marynorton.com.  Her current line, Frosting by Mary Norton, is available on HSN.

Golden Eggs

 

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Spark! Charleston

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Spark! Charleston - Alesya Bags

One of my goals for the year was to get into my own office by the end of the year.  I’m thrilled to formally announce I’ve been accepted into Spark! Charleston – a collaborative work space – and I officially have a desk downtown!  The group welcomed me in a few weeks ago and it’s been wonderful to work alongside a team of fellow entrepreneurs.

The rent is $50 a month (I know!) and in exchange I have a real office.  It’s nothing fancy, but it is a great jumping off point for a start-up.  Here’s how my desk normally looks.

Spark Desk - Alesya Bags

Sometimes I get really crazy and work from this couch.

Spark Seating - Alesya Bags

Big thanks to Sarah Early from Dodeline Design for giving me a stellar recommendation so I could get into Spark.  I really appreciate the help and it’s fantastic to see you on a more regular basis!

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Purse Auction: The Results

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Jenima - Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya BagsFriday was the Center for Women Purse Auction.  It was a big night for me – the first bag was not only making its public debut, but it was being auctioned off as part of a package.

The event started with a silent auction on over 100 bags done by local artists and designers.  I bid on – and won! – two.  The first one is pictured above and below.  It’s from blogger and seamstress Jenima Hadjian of Sewcial.  She’s also wearing one of her own creations in the photo below.

Jenima Hadjian - Alesya Bags

The second bag I won was from designer Anne Trabue Watson.  I think it’s going to be a fab day bag for all my lunch dates downtown.  I especially liked the pattern.

Anne Trabue Watson - Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya Bags

While I was mingling, I had talk to the man with the blue hair.  Turns out he’s local stylist and Dancing with the Stars contestant Jeffery Rhodes.  Photographer Jeni Rone took a picture of us and his date William.  Jeni’s purse is also pictured below.

Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya Bags

Jeni Rone - Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya Bags

Then came the live auction.  My husband and good friend Charlotte came for moral support.  The Center for Women’s Executive Director Jennet Robinson Alterman started introducing the packages and taking live bids.

My package came up about 3rd to last.  Surprisingly, Jennet called me up on stage and introduced me to the group (pictured below).  She also had me explain what kind of bag it was.  When the volunteer showing the Alesya Bag couldn’t find the laptop section I took the bag and demonstrated it myself.  When I opened it up people actually “ooohhhed and ahhheed”!

Alesya Opelt and Jennet Robinson Alterman - Alesya Bags

When the bidding started about 20 hands went up in the air!  It ended up coming down to two people.  One of them was my friend and realtor, Brenda Piaskowski.  She really wanted to have the first bag and I was completely floored by her support.  (Besides being an amazing friend, Brenda is a terrific realtor.  We recommend to everyone in the Charleston area.)

Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya Bags

But Brenda didn’t win.  The winner was the petite woman on the left hand side of the photo above.  She has her arm half way up in the air and is wearing a black dress with white buttons.  Here winning bid was $1400!  It was the highest bid of the night for any package.

Writer Angie Mizzell summed it up best on her blog:

A package including a Saluda mountain getaway and a to-die-for laptop bag created by local designer Alesya Opelt sold for more than its $1,000 value. If you saw this bag, you’d understand. Women actually squealed.

My one regret from the evening was that I didn’t get to meet and thank the winner.  If you know this woman, could you please let her know I’m trying to get in contact with her?  I’d love to send her a thank-you note for her generous donation.

All in all it was a very, very successful debut.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support such a worthy cause.  Hope to see you again next year.

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The Total Package

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Orange Bicycle - Alesya Bags

Yesterday started out on bike as I rode through the South of Broad neighborhood in Charleston with my photographer Charlotte (pictured below).  She’s a big bike rider, while I haven’t been on a bike in several years.  There were some “oh crap, I’m going to run into that car!” moments, but luckily no cars, humans or bicycles were injured.

Charlotte Elizabeth on Bike - Alesya Bags

Charlotte took me around to see the locations she’d scouted for our photo shoot on Sunday.  Now it’s my job to narrow it down to three spots.  Here are a few of the ideas:

Stairs - Alesya Bags

Door Knob - Alesya Bags

Orange Wall - Alesya Bags

Charleston House - Alesya Bags

And while this “location” won’t make the final cut, I thought this was one of the nicest signs “like this” I’d ever seen.

Scoop the Poop - Alesya Bags

I made it back to my car in one piece and then it was off to Stitch to see my boxes and to chat about the website.  I got the first version this week and there were a few goofy things.  Namely, it was difficult to buy the bag.  Um…that’s not going to work!   We discussed some changes and I’m looking forward to seeing the revised site.

Alesya Bag Boxes

From there I went to my warehouse to see all the boxes and get one for the Purse Auction.  It’s kind of crazy to see five palettes of boxes with your name on them.   But there they were, just waiting for bags

Robert Davis (my shipping expert) and I also discussed FedEx rates.  I want to give my customers the best rates and as many options as possible.  We’re working to make that happen.

From there, I went back downtown to the Waterfront Gallery (pictured above via VisitSouth.com) to drop off the bag, the dust bag and the box for the Purse Auction tonight.  It really felt like a big moment to have one whole package put together.

I’ve got a lot going on the next couple of days…auction tonight, photo shoot on Sunday and video shoot on Monday.  That can only mean one thing:  This bag project of mine is really coming together.

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First Alesya Bag Up for Auction

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Want to be the first one to see the Alesya Bag?  Then come to the 10th Annual Center for Women Purse Auction on Friday, May 13th.  Tickets are $25 in advance.  The event will be held in the beautiful City Gallery at Waterfront Park.

In the interest of full disclosure, this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.  When I donated a bag to the Center for Women, I thought the bags would have already launched.  But now I’m delayed and they won’t launch until 2-3 weeks after the event.  Slight scheduling snafu.

I adore Jennet Alterman and the Center for Women.  They support women and their businesses.  Our priorities couldn’t be more aligned!  It means a lot to me to be involved and support them.

So I’m putting my money where my mouth is and getting one bag express mailed to Charleston just for them.  They will have the first bag.  Even before I have one!

The Alesya Bag will be part of the live auction.  It will be part of a “designer” package.  As soon as I have all the details I’ll let you know.

PS – If you’ve signed up for the Wait List you’ll still have first dibs on all the bags, the website …. the whole shebang.

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Historic Day

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Woke up to the news.  Here’s the front page from Charleston’s Post and Courier:

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Family Circle Cup

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

It’s Family Circle Cup week here in Charleston.  While I love tennis (played in high school) I also enjoy the people watching.

This is Ayumi Morita from Japan.  She is currently ranked 53rd in the world.  It looks like she knows the right colors to wear in South Carolina!

Ayumi Morita - Alesya Bags

This young man did an excellent job as a ball boy. Wouldn’t you want to stand under his umbrella? The kids’ uniforms are a bit drab this year.  Special Note to the Family Circle Cup Team: Call Barbara Beach!

Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

Adored this little boy and his outfit.  Do you think his parents meant to match perfectly?

Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

While sitting in the stadium the two women in front of us took advantage of the warm weather.  I think their pedicures were done in “French Open Clay” and “Wimbledon Green”.

Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

My favorite volunteer shirts were sponsored by Southern Tide.  Truthfully, I liked the men’s shirt color (Augusta Green) better than the women’s (Leaf Green).

Southern Tide - Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

Southern Tide - Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

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CFW: Eleanor Morgan Hoffman

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman showed on Thursday night of Charleston Fashion Week.  Her final look was a stunning navy gown.  She also picked the perfect model to accent the dress.

Here it is coming down the runway.

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

A few backstage shots so you can see the feather detail:

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

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CFW: La’Daska Powell Shoes

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Charleston Fashion Week Emerging Designer La’Daska Powell showed a very sleek line of swimwear.  But the audience couldn’t get over the custom shoes!  They stole the show.

La’Daska Powell - Alesya Bags

La’Daska Powell - Alesya Bags

La’Daska Powell - Alesya Bags

La’Daska Powell - Alesya Bags

This was the finale shoe and it was skyscraper high. Check out the look on the two ladies faces. That’s how we all looked!

La’Daska Powell - Alesya Bags

La’Daska Powell - Alesya Bags

Here is the designer taking her curtain call – wearing fab shoes, of course!

La’Daska Powell - Alesya Bags

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