...some really fun, special totes =D
First, I LOVE totes!!! Any quick peak into my crafty closet(s)...one would say that Totes love me too!! LOL They seem to gravitate towards me like magnets! =P I actually have several extra large totes that hold numbers of other smaller totes, tote-holder totes, so to speak. I think they multiply in the dark when the closet door is closed.
But, in the last year or two, I've discovered something about what is real "Tote Happiness" for me.
One VERY important thing! That is a window to it's contents. A tote with a clear window is a must so that I don't have to actually open the tote (untie draw strings, unzip zippers, pull open velcro flaps, etc.) to see the project "hiding" inside. With a window, the light shines in, rather than the project sitting down "deep in the dark". My old eyes need all the light they can get to figure out what long standing project could be inside.
It's isn't easy to find FUN, CUTE totes with a window to purchase. Yes, there are patterns out there. I could make some. I choose to spend my play time with my sewing machine, making quilty stuff. There are some clear bag/totes available with plain colors, maybe 3-4 choices of colors, kinda boring...
There IS nothing out there, that I know of, that fills the "FUN-CLEAR-WINDOW" tote wish list like the totes that ANGIE makes! I can't seem to get enough of them! =D They are meticulously made! Every nook and cranny has been totally finished, no loose threads or poor stitching.
I wanted to share a bit about Angie herself as well as her handmade, (my favorite) totes. So below are a few questions that I asked her and she graciously answered. Two darling dogs, some pizza, Air Force computers, and a giveaway...take a few minutes to read all about it =)
How/when did you make your first item for sale?
-I took lots of sewing classes in 2013 and 2014 and made a bunch of different things as I got comfortable with my sewing machine. I sold my first items during the holiday season of 2014 for my neighbor’s Mum that had seen the bags that I had made for my friends. She wanted all the recipients of her holiday gifts to receive handmade items. That’s how it all began.
What habits do you do that you feel makes your business successful?
-I am an analyst (computer nerd) by trade and also slightly OCD so I tend to carry over my organization into my personal life as well as my shop. Each Sunday I create a checklist of all of the items I plan to make during the week and I check them off as I go along. It’s so nice to check off items from a long list! But it’s also important to close my shop for the day and focus on my family which helps me disconnect and refresh.
If you were super hungry and didn’t want to cook, what would be your “go to” food in your kitchen?
-Sadly, my talents in the kitchen are sub-par but I have a wonderful husband that enjoys cooking. My go-to food is usually pizza but I’m trying to be healthy so I’m switching to chicken salad or tuna salad with a few crackers. It does not even come close to the deliciousness of pizza, though.
What is one of the most fun things that comes along with this “job”?
-I love making pretty things but I would have to say that the most fun thing is the joy that people express upon receiving my products. I just love that there are people all over the world using something that I made myself that came from my imagination.
You have two darling dogs! Tell us how you got them and how they are a part of your life?
-My favorite subject because I adore my mini-Schnauzers Ricky Bobby & Sammy! I had no plans to have a pet but my husband convinced me soon after we got married that we needed a dog, specifically a Schnauzer because they do not shed. He did the search and found a local breeder then brought a white fur-ball (Sammy) home one night. We fell in love but learned quickly that raising a puppy is very much like having a toddler. We bought our 1st home when Sammy was 1 and I felt that he needed a sibling. Soon after I saw a Facebook post about a grey Schnauzer rescue that was available for adoption. I fell in love with his picture and immediately dragged my husband to meet him. Ricky Bobby had been neglected and had some health problems and my husband was hesitant but I was convinced that Ricky Bobby needed to come home with us. His original name was Ricky but seeing him next to Sammy who is a white Adonis with beautiful fur I felt that Ricky needed a name that would make him memorable, too. So Ricky became Ricky Bobby with his kinky fur, overweight body and poor health. He is now a happy, healthy, good-looking companion and he is remembered everywhere he goes because of his name and his excellent manners. Sammy, the pampered Adonis, is a bit of a rascal and is remembered for his not-excellent manners. You just can’t win sometimes. Since I work from home they help keep me balanced by reminding me that it’s time for breaks which include snuggles & play time.
If someone wants to start a little business with their craft(s) through the online media, what suggestions would you have for them?
-My suggestion would be to start with a plan that lists your goals for the shop. The plan should also include the items you want to make & sell that includes sizes and supplies. A cost-analysis that details the cost to make the items is very important because it gives you an idea of how much it will cost you to make the items and how much profit you can make. Researching on the craft items that you want to make & sell is very important. If there are lots of shops that already sell the same thing you make then it may be difficult to stand out. Also, a brand or cohesive look such as shop name, logo and colors will go a long way to make your shop look professional. Making connections with other shop owners is a HUGE advantage. I have learned so many things since I started my shop and I still feel that there is so much more to learn.
Did you sew when you were young?
-My mother used to sew clothes when I was young but my job was to help her clean-up and pick up the million pieces of thread that always hang around a sewing studio.
How did you come to the decision to sell your products as a business?
-I really enjoyed making unique bags that I could not find anywhere else and my friends and family enjoyed using them. After receiving a number of requests to make items for gifts and such I decided to test the waters to see if there was a market for my products out in the real world. Once my first product started selling I started thinking of ways to improve it. Then I started dreaming of new products. I decided to quit my job in March 2016 and I haven’t looked back since! My sewing studio keeps me very busy and I love coming up with new ideas on how to promote my shop.
Favorite hobby besides sewing?
-I love to craft and I love to try new things so I’ve delved into screen printing, graphic design and using my heat-press. I’ve been an avid reader since I was about 9 or 10 years old so I would say that my Kindle is my favorite gadget/hobby outside of my sewing studio. So many adventures, so little time!
Favorite type of books? Do you listen to audio books while working? Or do you prefer to read?
-My favorite book genres are mystery as well as action & adventure. I do not listen to audio books while working because I prefer to listen to music to keep me in my happy place.
-I would have to say that it was when I left home at 18 to join the Air Force. I moved far away from home and met many wonderful people that helped me grow up with a good outlook on life. It was the best kick-start to adult life and I really appreciate the experience and education.
Air Force?! wow! that is soo awesome! Did you fly airplanes? or what was your job, if you can share?
-Alas, I did not fly airplanes. When I arrived at my first assignment at an Air Force medical facility I was assigned to file medical records. I quickly grew bored and would finish my job early to shadow (stalk) a network administrator that was working on the computers in my area. Soon after he decided to make me his apprentice and thus began my career as a computer nerd. I went to college at night and earned my degree in Computer Science and that’s what I thought I would do for the rest of my life. Funny how our life plan unravels and becomes something completely different.
Thank you!!, Angie for taking the time to be interviewed. I've really enjoyed working with you on each of my purchases. Your customer service is impeccable. I always receive my products in a timely manor, packaged in lovely tissue and pretty sticker. I'm confident that anyone who gets their hands on one of your window-totes (or any of your handmade items) will fast find them to be THEIR favorites too =D
For the *giveaway* (now closed)
(a $25 gift certificate to have something special made for you by Angie)
please check out the link below to Angie's website
Then, come back to this blog and leave a comment about what items on her website are your favorites.
I will be doing a random drawing from the comments posted. The drawing will be closed next Tuesday evening April 11th at midnight mountain time.