Friday, December 29, 2006

A day of foraging

We decided to have a bit of time out looking for "things" today. We were half successful in buying more mulled wine mix- the very nice lady at the spice shop had been indulging in a bit of festive cheer herself I think and it took a bit of time to explain what we wanted - and then there was only enough mix for a few more packets (but she is expecting more early in the New Year). We found our friend's shop closed - a pity as I am keen to photograph some of her more gorgeous antique jewellery and get it on to our shop (she has of course approved this) as I think it would be a nice thing for us and a help for her. Things have been a bit quiet for her this year - as she said, stag parties don't buy many antiques :( She has great taste and I am constantly yearning after half the jewellery in her shop (she had an over the top Victorian Gothic garnet cross that I just LUSTED after - even though I don't wear crosses, but it was sheer "Bride of Dracula" but REAL, not costume - oh well, it sold, just as well as it was way out of my price range). She would like to try online selling but is a bit unsure how to begin and it will add something new and nice to browse for us - so good all round. Anyway, we will get this done maybe next week - look out for the most lovely things. Then - on we went to a bric a brac shop that I like, but which turned out to have nothing of interest. Then to an antiquarian bookshop (yes, we do lurk in these) to find this - The distinctly sinister children (I must find a place for them in the Dark Sister deck). Close-up of Can-Can dancers. You just have to wonder what's the story behind the cross young man in green. The whole thing - complete with disaproving priest and some more sinister clowns (and into the Dark Sister they must go, willing or no). A really excellent find I think - though buying it was an odd experience as this particular shop is, well, odd.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Sample bags - three only

Just to say that I'm going to sell the first three "Bohemian Cats' Tarot Gold" sample bags. They are almost as we want them but not quite - we need to wait for our gold foil beads and I may also change the lining. So - a bit cheaper than the final bags will be (unless ordered WITH the kit as part of the pre-order). But there will just be one of each print, and it may take me a day or two to put the others on to Etsy: ____________________________ Queen of Cups bag:

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Shoulder bags all gone - but some more coming on Wednesday

Two of the upcoming ones are already booked, but I think we'll have half a dozen or so more - and some beautiful new prints.Also - we now have an Etsy shop: don't know if this will be a good idea or not but as things have been a bit quieter and I finally have some time, I thought we'd try it out. Etsy feels nice - much nicer than Ebay, so I'd like to give it six months and see if it's worth the effort.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hand-woven handles, distribution in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and brighter printing

I know I've been very quiet since getting back from the UK. Partly recovering from the trip, partly just catching up with the work. In general, we've taken several more steps with the bags. We've decided to do several more with antique fabrics, though we will have to be careful to choose them so that the bags still stay under $30. Our friend Dita, who has an antique shop specialising in fabrics, says she will go through her boxes and find us interesting, affordable pieces. The good thing is that we can use small, exquisite scraps which would otherwise be useless. We're currently converting and early 19th century cream silk damask tablecloth with some bad wear in the centre into more Flower Oracle bags. I am SO pleased we found a way to use it, the fabric is wonderful to look at and to touch.(oh, talking of currency, the shop can now display prices in any currency - yay! - and probably in February when orders are quiet we'll switch to a base price of Euros - but you'll still be able to see all prices in dollars. I'm pleased that we got this working.)We're also finally buying a really high-end printer so that we can do sharper, brighter prints that are washable and dry-cleanable. This has all taken about three months of research (not full-time fortunately, but still a lot of work) to work out the combination of printer, inks and fabric that we want to use. In the end we think we've got there. If it all works out then we'll also be able to wholesale the bags as this will allow our production to upscale - and allow us to bulk-buy good inks and dyes which will bring the price down. Right now if we offered a 50% wholesale discount on quantities of the bags we'd only be about at break-even, so we need to sort this out somehow as we would like to see them in shops this year.We may still continue to do the hand-made prints on silk in our current style. They have a different look and perhaps we'll use them just for some "specials".We've also just switched to hand-woven handles for the shoulder bags and they are utterly lovely. Hard to photograph and half the charm is in the way they feel. But we're sort of amazed that we can do these cost-effectively. Well, fairly cost-effectively. The profit on the shoulderbags is also a bit marginal right now, but perhaps with the new printing process we can have these gorgeous handles and still keep the prices very good.I wish I could capture these better on a photograph. But somehow they make the whole bag feel very special (well, I thought it was special before, but these handles - Romana's innovation - do alter the feel and make it a bit funkier and folkier - in a good way - somehow).New handles_________Oh - the distribution. Yes, I forgot to say. We are now being distributed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by Koenigsfurt. Nice people and we've very pleased about this.