Thursday, June 30, 2011

We Don't Make These Bags (But we love them)

We've been selling fashion-forward reusable shopping bags for several years now. We prefer the kind that you can stow inside your (Laura Bee) bag so that you don't accidentally leave it at home or in your car.

Recently a loyal customer told me about Flip & Tumble bags, which come in bright rip-stop nylon, and collapse into cozy little balls pouches that can also be used for juggling demos at the farmer's market.

We have these babies in a small lunch size, and a roomy grocery/beach version. Prices range from $7.50-$12.

Check out this short and sweet stop animation video which shows how small the bags become when stored.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Newsletter: Summer in Seattle!

I published our latest newsletter yesterday. In case you're not on the email list, you can read it here.

I took this picture with my phone so that I could show you what a fresh-cooked batch of mesh pouches looks like. Next stop for these babies is zipper pull installation, pricing, and then the sales floor.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Now Taking Appointments

 This month marks ten years since I sold my first handmade purse. I'm eternally thankful for the steady support!  As Laura Bee Designs grows, It is always my goal to keep our customer service personalized.

With that in mind, I'm introducing a couple of new things into the custom handbag mix.

Drop in design service has been our bread and butter for years, and we'll continue to welcome spontaneous custom orders. However, when the design area of our shop is busy, we will give priority to those who have made appointments in advance.

It's important to me that everyone designing gets full service and  space to look at all of the materials and options.

Appointments will be especially helpful for:
  • Saturday and Sunday design
  • Parties of three or more
  • Bridal collection design sessions
Simply call us at 206-789-4044 to book a time. Feeling spontaneous on a Saturday or Sunday? Swing by and we'll make it work.

Design Hours
We are open for custom design sessions during our store hours. Design sessions must begin at least one hour before we close for the night.

If you can't make it during our store hours, email us here to make special arrangements.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

June Wedding in Illinois

This ruched bag is for the bride who loves everything green.
The young bridesmaids will carry these clutches with their green dresses.

Custom Bag Design Guidelines and Tips

The Laura Bee Designs custom process is our way of sharing our love of textiles and design with you, our customer. You don’t have to know anything about fashion or design to have fun creating a bag at our shop.

To make your experience the best it can be, we offer the following suggestions:

Make an appointment. We strive to give you our full attention when you are designing your bag. If you plan to visit on our busiest days (Saturday and Sunday), or with a group of three or more, it is helpful to us if you make an appointment in advance. We have limited design space, and appointments help us provide you with the best customer service.

Allow one hour for bag design. Some people make decisions quickly, and others prefer a more methodical approach. Be sure to arrive an hour before our closing time.

Arrive ready to make decisions. You will have the most fun designing your bag if you are prepared to make a series of decisions about fun things like colors, patterns, and pockets. Make sure you aren’t hungry, tired, or in an indecisive mood. Trust your instincts and have fun with the process. Don’t worry, we will help you through step by step process, and will guide you through your decisions along the way.

Bring the things you want to carry. If you want to have certain items in your new bag, bring them with you so that you can see how they fit in our various shapes. Customers report this step helps greatly in the design process. Consider how you will use this bag; every day bags have different requirements than evening bags in terms of size, color, and durability.

Consider bringing an advisor. Do you have a friend or relative who understands your style and aesthetics? You may find it helpful to bring that person with you to help you design your bag.

Alternatively, fly solo. The adage of, “Too many cooks in the kitchen,” can definitely apply to our design process. Some customers prefer to come alone to stay focused, rather than bringing a group. Of course, our expert staff will guide you through the process either way. 

Kids rule! Since we opened in 2002, we’ve gotten to know many of our customers’ children. We’ve watched them grow up from tiny babies into smart kids ready to buy wallets to carry allowance money. 

Through the years, we’ve noticed that childhood attention spans don’t always last through the custom design process. Restless kids can distract Mom from the fun of design, so we provide a basket of toys to help.
Many mothers tell us they enjoy some “me” time in our shop while designing on their own, so choose to leave the kids at home. (Think of it like a purse-designing spa day.)

If you have an infant, consider bringing a stroller or separate seat (rather than a sling) so that you can pull fabrics, materials and enjoy the full experience. Or bring a friend to help you.

We adore dogs but… Pooches and custom designs don’t mix. Most dogs would rather be outside doing dog things. Plus, our shop pug Otis prefers to be the canine king at Laura Bee Designs.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Video Tour of My Travel Bag

This simple bag design continues to be one of the most popular bags we make. I thought it would be fun to show you what I carry in my crazy, bright travel bag.

You can learn more about this bag design by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Grumpy Owl, Car Photo Studio, & Clipboard Collecting

If, like me, you've been thrift-shopping ever since the 1980s there was a Hadassah thrift shop across the street from your junior high school, you might have figured this out already. It's really hard to stop. There is always a treasure around the corner.

To get my shopping fix, I often look for one or two special things for my collection, rather than combing the whole store. Take clip boards: they are usually less than $1 and abound in the oft-neglected office supply section of your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.

I especially love small ones (hard to find), as well as old-looking versions, like the board above (75 cents). I use these what taking pictures for my website and to clip purse orders, to do lists, and more in handy locations.
Another way to curb the collecting habit is to sneak a picture of a find in its thrift store habitat, and then (this is the hard part) leave it there. That's how I made the Grumpy Owl, above, part of my digital only collection. Doesn't his smile just kill you?

PS - If you do end up buying something, I high recommend photographing it inside your car, as I did with the clipboard shot. (Fakey aged and Poloroid-ed with this Android application.) Somehow the natural light in a car seems to be the perfect little photo studio for a quick shot.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pug Celebration this Weekend

A customer I hadn't seen in a while came in over the weekend. She told me that because of shop dog Otis, her family now has two pugs! Apparently, she and her husband met Otis years ago and loved him so much that they decided their family pets would be pugs too. The pug mom in me is proud.

Otis and I do some volunteer work on the side for our favorite animal-oriented not-for-profit, Seattle Pug Rescue. We love spreading the word about rescue animals in general and pugs in specific. Even if aren't a pug person, or if your dog isn't a rescue, you can still support rescues! Spread the word and tell your friends.

Please tell anyone you know who might be interested about Seattle Pug Rescue, their Facebook Page, and, most importantly, the big Pug Rescue party that's happening this weekend. You can download the flier here, and can get all of the info, including directions, here.
Much love from Otis the shop dog. Woof!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

What's in My Makeup Bag?

I think it's fair to say that I'm obsessed with YouTube videos. I watch makeup tutorials, thrift store hauls, craft how-to videos and more.

I thought it would be fun to try my hand at one of the YouTube standbys, the What's In My Bag? video.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Celeste in Painterly Print

Mustard, gray, taupe, and teal scatter across this cotton print like Impressionist brushstrokes.

I topped off the bag with a creamy vintage button and aqua lining.

Celeste Clutch with vintage button embellishment - $61