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A World View – Handmade Bag Making Business {Series, Vol 3}

Hi Everyone

I hoped you enjoyed the last few interviews in this series! If you missed them you can find them linked below ūüėČ

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is some background…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 – 25th June
  • Susie (Australia), from Twirl Girl Boutique – 1st August
  • Charlotte (Europe), from Les Envies De Charlotte¬†– Today, 15th August

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

1. Describe yourself in 5 words…
Pinkaholic – optimistic – cheerful – down to Earth – French !

2. How long have you been sewing?
I started in the summer pf 2013 when I was pregnant with my youngest

3. How long have you been running a bag selling business?
Since April 2014

Mini Hippo Hobo (pattern printed at 60%) by Charlotte –¬†Les Envies De Charlotte

4. What made you fall in love with making bags?
Designer patterns ! there are soooo many patterns out there I didn’t know existed. My first bag was a Swoon barrel bag and I was amazed at the result – didn’t think I would be able to make a stylish bag

5. What is your favourite pattern to sew and why?
There’s 3 actually: Swoon Sandra, Swoon Blanche and Emkie’s Hippo!

6. 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?
Pictures do half the sale ! so invest in a good camera…

7. Do you sell your bags in person or online? Why have you chosen to sell your bags the way you have?
Online !!! Facebook is a great marketing tool for promotion and I have my online website. Selling online allows me to manage my time the way I want, to be able to still take care of my kids, and face to face contact is still something I need to work on

The Ingenious Tote¬†by Charlotte –¬†Les Envies De Charlotte

8. 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 started with ‘A Little Market’, which is similar to Etsy, but French seeing how many people I was able to reach out to thanks to Facebook, I decided to sell through my own personal website: less commissions, more freedom !! (and I’m a bit of an IT geek so working regularly on my website is a lot of fun…)

9. 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…
Yes ! like I said, photographs do half the sale !!! I quickly realized I needed a better camera than my iPhone so I invested in a good camera. First tip is lightning !!! Make sure to have as little shadows as possible, rework your lightning when amending your pics. Pics ‘in situ’ are the best ! add some bag accessories next to your bag to help show size and contenance

Blue Calla’s Freesia Foldover Bag by Charlotte –¬†Les Envies De Charlotte

10. What’s your favourite fabric to work with and why?
I guess I would have to say vinyl. I’d love to work with leather but my machine won’t handle it, so I use faux leather almost all the time. It needs to be of great quality though, in order not to look too ‘plasticy’

11. 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!
Yes I do. Mostly on my home computer. I have a Mac, so I edit on the ‘photos’ app. I always adjust the lightning and sometimes the colors when I need those to pop a little

12. 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.)
Taxes are a sensitive issue in France. Everything is taxable !!! You can start small and register as an ‘auto-entrepreneur’ which enables you to pay little taxes on everything you sell (14%). Now that I work full time on my home shop, I am registered as a company so need to declare and pay VAT on all articles I sell (20%). The upside is you can deduct your professional expenses. The key is to find the balance between the two in order to be profitable… ask me in a couple of years if it was worth it !

The Hippo Hobo by Charlotte –¬†Les Envies De Charlotte

13. If you could only watch one TV show/movie for the rest of your life, what would it be? Why?
Oooh though one !!! I love Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, Vampire Diaries…. I guess I need so romance, mystery, action and adventure !!!

14. Do you find social media has been important for your businesses success?  Why?
it sure has. Facebook is a powerful tool. It allows you to interact rapidly with people around the work and is great to communicate with (potential) clients when running an online business.

15. What is your preferred social media platform? Is this the one where you tend to make the most sales?
Ha, guess!!

The Relaxed Tote by Charlotte¬†–¬†Les Envies De Charlotte

16. If you were able to tell yourself one thing before you set up your business what would it be?
Learn to have patience !!! Be able to question yourself, over and over again. Nothing is achieved in life.

Thanks so much Charlotte for coming of the blog! ¬†My guess is Facebook is your preferred platform ūüėČ

Until next time, happy sewing!

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