Monday, July 14, 2014

A Look Back: Handbag Lust

Several years ago, I got obsessed with designing clutches for myself using vintage fabric. I began by making them for events (e.g., opera) then for friends as Christmas presents, and the more these bags went into circulation, the more people told me that I should start selling them. Well …

I'd never seen myself as a business-minded person, but this was such an obsession, I just dove into the process, starting first with sewing up about 100 bags over a six-month period as starting inventory.

I then took all the necessary steps needed to launch a website - did the site concept, asked a friend to model my product line and another to photograph the on-scene shoot,  secured the photoshoot location, photographed all inventory, wrote the website copy, did the website development and did all marketing and PR. I then got my handbags placed in the prestigious local boutique, Muumuu Heaven, which is a fashion favorite for celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Raiatea Helm and Cameron Diaz.

An unfortunate event that was taking place at this time was the bankruptcy of the Honolulu Symphony. I decided to take old Pops symphony aloha shirts given to me by musicians and make handbags out of them then donate the proceeds to help the musicians.

Business Goes Live

When it was time to launch in the summer of 2010, my hard work paid off. I got great press, and the handbags sold well. I was very busy, and weekends were filled with creating new inventory. Lots and lots of sewing and scouting new material.

Here are some articles:
Winding Down

After a certain point, I realized I'd been working in my little apartment too much. Did I want to take this business to the next level? I enjoyed the creative process, but after a bit of soul searching, I decided the answer was no.  I remember I had time one evening to attend a jazz concert when a singer friend of mine asked how I was doing. "Doing OK - sewing a lot," to which she replied, "too much sewing a dull girl makes." Things started to wind down.

The Old Home Page

The home page has since been taken offline, but thanks to the Wayback machine, you can experience the homepage as it was, featuring the beautiful music of the Hotclub of Hulaville and my picturesque model and great friend, Marina Li. 

A Look Back

As I was going through some old photos, I was taken by the little treasures I'd once made. I'm not actively sewing handbags these days, but when I was sewing them, I do remember loving and yearning for every single one as if I'd sewn them for myself.  

Here are photos of bags I made that have since found a happy owner. 

Handbags at Muumuu Heaven

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