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A World View – Handmade Bag Making Business {Series, Vol 1}

Hi Everyone

I know there are many of you out there that are thinking about selling your handmade bags. So I thought what better way to get some idea about what a handmade bag making business might involve from asking people who are already doing it!  I decided to get a broader more worldly view by asking 3 bag makers to come on the blog and answer a few questions.

In this series we can look forward to hearing from:

  • Jane (US), from S’more House – Today, 25th June
  • Susie (Australia), from Twirl Girl Boutique – 1st August
  • Charlotte (Europe), from Les Envies De Charlotte – 15th August

I hope you enjoy this series, over to you Jane!

Describe yourself in 5 words…

Nerdy, wordy, silly, cat enthusiast

How long have you been sewing?

20 years? That doesn’t seem right. I’m clearly too young for that

How long have you been running a bag selling business?

Almost 2 years!

What made you fall in love with making bags?

Bags are just so darn USEFUL. And so much less drama than sewing clothing. A bag always fits!

What is your favourite pattern to sew and why?

Anything with amazing pockets! Emkie Designs’ Relaxed Tote has the most amazing pocket inside for a journal and a pen that I absolutely love.

The Relaxed Tote by Jane – S’more House

What pattern is your best seller?

It goes through waves but right now it’s probably a tie between Swoon’s Maisie Bowler and Noodlehead’s Maker’s Tote.


Noodlehead’s Maker’s Tote by Jane – S’more House

What is something you recommend someone who wants to start selling their bags, starts doing now when making bags, to achieve a more professional finish?

Invest in a good iron! And press press press for your photos online.

Tell us something not many people would know about you…

I absolutely love gardens, and take most of my pictures outside in them when the weather allows. But I don’t possess a green thumb. I kill so many plants every year. I have to plant really hardy things or they just perish.

Do you sell your bags in person or online? Why have you chosen to sell your bags the way you have?

I sell online because it’s easier! I have the space to store stock and I don’t have to schlepp it from fair to fair. The few craft shows I’ve participated in were NOT for my target market at all.


Bonnie Bucket Bag by Jane – S’more House

Do you have your own shopping website (or Etsy store)? Or do you only sell via Facebook?  What do you think the benefits/shortfalls are of each?

I have my own Etsy shop which is great for visibility. People who may not know about S’more House will find it through Etsy’s search functions. I think the fees are for the most part worth it but I’m actually thinking about transitioning my ready made bags to my own storefront on my website while leaving custom orders and info up on Etsy. That would save me on re-listing fees if the stock doesn’t cycle through right away (which happens!). 

When selling online these days, it is really important to have good photography to show your item in the best light to potential customers.  Share 3 tips to help us all take better photos of our bags…

Natural light, well framed, and in focus. People want to see the colors and textures of the fabric. Offer up different angles, not just the front. Show inside pockets and fun hardware details, since these are all selling points!


Dollie by Jane – S’more House

What’s your favourite fabric to work with and why?

Good old quilting cotton for bags. You can dress it up with canvas, cork, leather, denim, whatever you want, but it’s such a good base to start with.

Do you edit your photos?  Do you do all your editing on your phone or do you use the computer? Please also share what software/app do you use so we can check it out!

I do color balancing and cropping in Adobe Photoshop! It’s expensive but it’s what I know.

When setting up a business in your country, what are some of the important things you need to remember to do? (eg. Tax, registration, etc.)

After a year of figuring out whether or not this was a home hobby or a business with my CPA I jumped at the chance to file S’more House as an LLC (here in my state of Michigan). I also thought it was important to register for a tax number so I could A) charge sales tax where applicable and B) not pay sales tax on materials. There’s more paperwork involved but I found it to be worth it.

If you could only watch one TV show/movie for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?

Columbo. Murder mysteries are my life.


Hippo Clutch Wallet by Jane – S’more House

Do you find social media has been important for your businesses success?  Why?

Instagram is huge for me. I feel like 75% of my customers are people who have found me on IG. 

What is your preferred social media platform? Is this the one where you tend to make the most sales?

As I mentioned above, Instagram is big business for me. I can see direct correlation between my post popularity and my sales. 

If you were able to tell yourself one thing before you set up your business what would it be?

Don’t be scared, just keep going at it a little at a time! The path to success is littered with mistakes and that’s okay!

Thanks so much Jane for coming of the blog, by the way I’m a huge crime drama fan so I’d be happy to come over and watch Columbo with you 😉

Next week I get to interview Susie from twirl girl boutique – I can’t wait!

Until next time, happy sewing!
Emma

 

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