Monday, January 31, 2011

Things wouldn't be the same without THEM!

Since the Jola V. Designs' feature on the Handbag Designer 101 came out, we have received some of the most amazing e-mail enquiries and business proposals...

I already did rant about them, laughed at them or just boasted all along how hilarious they were... They are helping me to learn about people and how they operate... Those below are all real messages, names edited!


From e-mail:

Gavin to me

Hi I am wondering if you make bags for other companies as well as your own line. I am an up and coming company and I am looking for someone to make high quality handbags for me with my name on them.
Let me know if you are willing to do a licensing agreement like this.
*** You bet - I am huge on dedicating my time for making bags with other people's names on them! But, thanks for considering...***

emmilie to me

I am wanting to start and create my very own handbag range. I have done my designs, but am now stuck in regards sourcing materials and finding a reliable manufacture to move my designs into production.
Do you have any useful contacts, hints or tips at all. I have searched hours on the net to no avail..

***I was actually sweetly surprised to find this one in my in-box. I will reply to Emmilie the best way I can - but we all keep some secrets to our business, don't we?***

Ana to me

Dear Jolanta, your bags are stunning and I'd love to showcase them at my upcoming Gifting Suite at (....) to the hottes stars, major media, high-society (who love to buy) and VIP's who will be attending. 

The vendors coming include everything from fabulous designer gowns, shoes and bags, to the best in skin care, high tech, men's bespoke suits, luxury sportswear and more. 

(...)We expect the top sylists and product placement people in TV and film to be attending,(....) major stars whose names I cannot give out yet because their agents have asked us not to(...) I am willing to work with you to be in our suite. (...) let's talk about the fee and gifting as soon as you can...

****Gifting AND fee? What's in it for me again?....Oh, and that spelling test is still outstanding!****



Treena to service

I'm a writer for a fashion blog that puts together a bunch of celebrity favourite clothes and photographs them on a daily basis for my wardrobe remixes.
I'm wondering if you have any spare bag to give me for free so I can dress up wearing it? I get lots of traffic of teenage girls looking at my website all day long through their blackberries instead of doing their homework at school.
Here is what I looking for:
Louis Vuitton pink bag with Paris Hilton logo all over it, but also with a lot of bling added, preferably hearts and diamonds and giant keys. If you have something that:

Please mail it to me immediately so I can blog about it and take photos with it with all my friends.


P.s. Do you  have any free colour swatches?

***Hmmm - LV with PH logo? Really? This one's gotta be the winner! AND free swatches, huh? Excellent spelling - that's the real surprise!****

Jenn to service

Message: Hello! About three months ago, I bought a purse from a boutique. It was a shiny vinyl off white purse with five flowers on it for $52.00. I am so in love with it and everyone who sees it. Do you have anymore in other colors? I would love to purchase a few for my cousins for their birthdays. Thank you

*** $52? Vinyl? Sounds like me!***

And there is more of the Funny in my in-box. I guess the authors of these messages are working tirelessly to post as much content as they can, with hopes that someone will fall for it... 

But here's a tip - before you paste that message into just another Contact Us slot please take ten seconds to actually look at my web-page and see how immensely irrelevant I am to whatever it is you're seeking...



Sunday, January 30, 2011

The slowest weeks of the year...

A few weeks back I have announced going part time at my day-job.

And with just a couple of weeks left till my lucky start date, the long awaited relief could not seem further out of my reach...
During the past couple of weeks I was pretty much unable to work on the bags. I have been struggling to supply for the last retailer, and after I did, everything came to a stiff halt.

The short staffing situation at the day job office, all the confusion, caused by the workflow and role changes, immediate backlog of work, stress, complaints from the under-served claimants, took enormous toll on my body. Skipping breaks, not getting away from the desk at all, staying late to finish work has been my life in the pat two weeks.

I have never felt so both, mentally and physically tired  - ever... I would get home just to succumb onto the couch... Looks as though the ol' day job is out to take that last jab at me.
And I must say, it (almost) succeeded. If before this, I looked at my part-timing as a well deserved treat, now I feel more like a sailor, who has just spotted land on the horizon and cant wait to get off the boat.

The past two weeks brought me to a scary realization, that I will not be able to physically maintain doing both - working at the day-job and maintaining my business at the pace I have been going till now... Needless to say, that frightened me quite a bit. The very thought of giving up JVD is creating an unsatisfactory void.

After a moment or so, I came to a natural decision, that if my part timing is revoked for any reason, it will mean the end of my day-job....

Lucklily, I have only one more week of the chaos, till I cut back. Even though that week involves more of the backlog tackling, late nights and training someone new ( my job-share partner).

But after that I will take a few days to rest, walk and swim before I jump into booking Spring shows and some major production...

I will post about my new products next...

**May the Force be with me this time...***

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dawn's Bag

In the homes, where little kids live, THINGS will often HAPPEN... And when they do Happen, nobody has any explanation when they happened, or why. Things just mysteriously appear, out of the blue.

Just like that little blue mark on the front of Dawn's new green bag!..

One day it appeared out of the blue, and, as usual, nobody knew when it appeared, or what it was doing there, on the front of Dawn's bag...

It seemed as though the mark was made by a pen. It looked like this:

Mysterious little blue mark...

Of course, Dawn wanted to wear her new green bag, but she did NOT want to wear it with that mark on it!
So she tried to wipe the mark out with a wet cloth. Then scrub it with some soap.

But the little blue mark was not really going away. It was still there, in the same spot, on the front of the bag! In fact, the wet cloth made a smudge around it. Now, not only the blue mark was there, but also, there was a faint blue and green spot surrounding it...

The blue and green spot...

Dawn wanted to do something to fix her new green bag.

Unfortunately, most people, who knew how to fix bags, could not help her. The little blue spot was right in the very front of the bag, and there was no other way to cover it up, than to find a piece of exactly the same green leather, the bag was made of... Then to sew the piece of the green leather on top of the mysterious blue mark and the blue - green spot, to hide them both!

But where could Dawn find a piece of the same green leather, her bag was made of? The people, who knew how to fix bags, did not have any. There was none of it in the store either.

Dawn hoped that the lady, who once made her new green bag still had some of that leather left, just enough to cover up the mark and the spot.

But the lady, who made Dawn's new green bag lived quite far away. Dawn sent her a message, telling her what happened, and asking if she still had any of the green leather left. And if she could fix Dawn's new green bag, so Dawn could wear it again...

The lady, who once made Dawn's bag read the message. She knew that in the homes, where little kids lived, THINGS do  HAPPEN... Not that Dawn was not careful with her new green bag....

The mysterious blue mark was an accident. And accidents HAPPEN.... And when they do Happen, nobody has any explanation when they happened, or why. They just mysteriously appear, out of the blue.

The lady, who made Dawn's bag wanted to help Dawn and fix the bag. So she went to her closet and took out a big box full of small pieces of leather of all different colours. She opened the lid and started looking... There were so many pieces of leather inside the box, so the lady, who made Dawn's bag, had to dig down to the bottom of it. She picked, sorted, folded and put back so many pieces of leather, hoping to find the green one, which she once made Dawn's bag of . 

Finally, there it was... Green, soft and very nice.... There was just enough of it to cut a small piece and then sew the piece over the mysterious blue mark and the blue and green spot, to hide them.

The lady, who made Dawn's bag, sent Dawn a message, saying, that she could help Dawn, if Dawn sent her the bag by mail...

Dawn was so happy to hear that her new green bag can be fixed, she mailed it immediately!

When the lady, who made Dawn's bag received it in the mail, she looked at the mysterious blue mark and the blue and green spot around it, and knew just what she needed to do.

She cut a long piece of the green leather, folded it and stitched it, then folded and stitched some more. Finally,  the mysterious blue mark and the blue and green spot on the very front of Dawn's bag were gone. And instead, a new flower, made of the perfectly matching green leather appeared where they once were...

A new flower, covering up the blue mark

Now Dawn's new green bag had four flowers, no blue mark, no blue and green spot, and Dawn was able to wear it again!
And she wore it happily ever after...

The End.

p.s. My kind and supporting Grandmother has always been encouraging me to write a children's story. This comes the closest to my first attempt..
The "story"covers a custom repair I worked on this week; the bag in pictures is Mustard Green Limited Edition Sarah, that was sent to me with the request to cover up the mark.

Accidents happen, and I am glad to be able to assist my customers with specialized repairs, such as this one, requiring specific leather or other detail.

All accidents welcome.
All fixed up and ready to go home...

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to have a great New Year....

The very idea of a new, starting year is bringing excitement! For a small business it means a lot of Hope, Projecting, Sourcing,and Gambling. At Jola V. Designs, we are no different.

Important to have Hopes, but also - realistic ones.
Any good year ends with an expectation, that the upcoming one will be even better. But it is important to remember that a lot of good that happened in the by-gone year, was a result of our own hard work. Even though some say, the Economy is turning for the better, we still are losing businesses daily, our customers are still quite cautious to spend. This year will require just as much hard work as the last one, and just as much patience. Things will still be taking baby steps, Careful is just as good as Hopeful... 

Victoria, BC
Projecting  - no need to run ahead of myself...
I am thrilled to have my very own web-site, and watch it grow. Really thankful for all the Retailers and Friends who came along, and helped to promote my purses. This year I intend to spend more time following up and keeping in touch with my amazing customers, taking part in a few more direct trade events, than last year, maybe even looking towards the East Coast.
Since things are still quite unpredictable in this economic environment, our projected growth will be mainly self-driven, and natural. It has proved to work before.

Sourcing - my favourite part of work...
This year the process of acquiring my materials will be very different. As, some of you have heard, I have achieved my most anticipated milestone - which is cutting back on my time at the day-job. From this February I will be spending only half the time I have so far at my desk, and the rest of it will be dedicated to my business
With way more time for working on what I love, you will see more colour, more types of materials, more style variations and, maybe, even a larger collection by as early as this coming fall! BUT - I will also be more insightful on which materials work the best, and which ones I am not sure about... So far, you all have been really helpful.

Fireworks of the Olympics, outside our window

Gambling is my second nature..
Being is Business means taking a gamble. In some situations, when all the analyzing and projecting in the world, no longer suffice, I have learned just to trust my Gut. I will take a shot at working with people I trust, take part in events I have faith in, both, public and private; leave room to pick materials and ideas that speak to me. Spread the word about my own work and provide peer support for others. Appreciate it all.

Have a safe, fun and rewarding year.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We're featured as the Designer Of The Day at

Handbag Designer 101 is a web-site, dedicated to showcasing Independent handbag designers and makers. They also host Independent Handbag Designer Awards, an event that gets some serious coverage by the Fashion media.

Today, they kindly chose Jola V. Designs to be their designer of the day. See the feature here!

The community of Independent Handbag Designers is new and, till now, seemingly did not have a dedicated web-source to network or showcase their work.

Unlike those, involved in making Beauty products, we lack dedicated review web-pages, photo sources or indie handbag discussion forums. I am very thrilled to have found Handbag Designer 101, and about their wonderful feature!