Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Handbags? or, not.

I'm thinking about the possibility of beginning to make bags again. Not at the rate I used to, more like one or two a week maximum. And instead of selling through eBay as before, or setting up yet another internet space, just offering them for sale through this blog. When I shut down my eBay shop in August I walked away from my customers with promises of a new independent internet space opening soon, but as soon as I looked seriously into the costs of doing that - not to mention the timesink of setting it up and maintaining it - I just let it slide. Meanwhile I am still getting an average of three or four emails a week from old customers saying Hey, where are you? Why haven't you opened your new shop yet? If I could just stop saying to them "soon, soon" and email them the address of this place that'd be simplest and nicest. In truth I got to hate the bagmaking towards the end, but lately feel like doing some more. Playing with cloth is very satisfying! Another thing: I could really, really use a little bit of extra money. All good reasons to start up again in a small way - but I don't want to get drawn again into an operation that is large enough require a big commitment or to generate its own momentum.

So a baggy post or so per fortnight here is looking like something I can keep a lid on, but the thing is, I really don't want to wreck this blog by turning it into something that looks like a money-extracting device. I wouldn't contemplate selling ad space, for instance - there's nothing wrong with doing that, it's just not for me, partly because I feel, rightly or wrongly, that I more or less "know" most of the people who come here and exposing you to third-party advertising would feel kind of weird. The analogy that springs to mind is Tupperware or Nutrimetics partying.

I would like you to call me on this if you think I'm deluding myself, but I think that selling handmade one-off goods is a victimless activity. I put a lot of work and thought into my bags and, even though I know it's conceited to say it myself, I think they're really beautiful. Not at all the kind of thing it's easy to buy except from hobbyists. Nobody gets ripped off, everyone's happy. Still, it is selling.

I can't make up my mind! Advice bleg!

To help you decide what kind of advice to give me I've put random collection of bag happy snaps under the fold (may take forever to load since most of these were filed before I learned how to compress jpegs)

This one is a favourite - it's adapted from the cover of a Nina Simone album.

Mostly made of vintage kimono silk

More vintage kimono silk

A dress fabric shop near me has a few bolts of late 70s curtain fabric, I'm pretty sure nobody else is interested in it - but I'm still not going to tell you the name of the shop.

Marimekko - does anyone else care? Or just me?

This is part of one of those heavy linen curtains you see hanging over the doorway in Japanese restaurants.

I made a batch of ten of these each featuring a different holy card saint picture. About half were sold to ironic customers, half to nonironic customers. I wouldn't have it any other way. This one, I think, is St Filomena. I kept one, mine features a laddie called St. Dominic Savio. He is overwhelmingly holy. People still comment on it.

How many cat themed bag things have I made over the last three years?

Food themed handbags are always fun to make especially when the food in question is basically sugar.

I made at least a couple hundred of these little purses, it has a transfer print of a cheesy pulp novel cover on the front.

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Kate said...

I like 'em. I really really like the Vintage 70s one with the trees.

If you start selling them again I'd be interested in buying one (and no, I don't think it's a bad thing to do at all, if you enjoy it and it gives you some extra money to play with).

Ampersand Duck said...

The fact that you're really good at making bags makes it a crime to withhold them from the world. Plus, the less you make the more exclusive they be (Arrr!). And it's better than some things people try to flog in their blogs. Just press [next blog] and you'll see what I mean. I found Paris Hilton nude videos that way. Yuck!

Know the pain of thinking about another site. Ampersandduck.com has been sitting doing nothing for months now. I'll thinking about it a bit longer, at least till after Xmas.

jacqueline said...

Well, damn, you know I'll buy 'em. I have five, I think, at last count. So I'm all for having them on the blog (and secretly glad I haven't emailed to ask WHERE ARE ALL THE BAGS GOOD LORD HOW I SUFFER).

Start a new blog for bags? One post per new bag, and link to it from this blog, so that those interested can go there? God, I don't know. Personally I'm happy to mix bags with sculpture. But if you're trying to sell them, having them all in one place might be easier for choosing.

katy said...

*please* start making and selling your bags again. I only got to buy that one gorgeous kitty bag before you slowed down and then closed your ebay store. I love it and it needs some company.

Pimping your wares is entirely acceptable seeing as they are so lovingly crafted.

R H said...

Your bags are lovely. And besides, a girl needs a hobby - especially a Valve girl.


shauna said...

oooh there's at least five there i would love to buy. they are gorgeous! sell sell sell! :)

Lucy said...

I don't even like handbags usually, but those are incredibly cool.

Phantom Scribbler said...

I think it is highly appropriate and very cool to sell your bags here. I know I'm tempted by them, and all I ever carry are uber-geeky backpacks and ugly diaper bags.

Scrivener said...

You're kidding right? Can't see how anyone would object. Actually, it'll just add still another dimension to this eclectic space.

And wouldn't it be cool if some of your bag-customers turned out to be intersting and interested readers too?

Don't even think twice about it.

jo(e) said...

I would be the first to jump in and say so if I thought it was inappropriate to sell bags on your blog. But I am completely in favor of it. Many people would prefer to buy things that are handmade and made by a person rather than a corporation .... The ones you make seem like such a nice combination of artistic expression and practicality.

fluffy said...

As a fellow bag maker I fully recognise and appreciate a talent which I can't parsonally lay claim to. Jealous!

(And of course you should put them on your site. Don't fall for that aversion to making a buck which plagues most talented people I know).

fluffy said...

parsonally? need more coffee....

R H said...

RH has no aversion to making a buck.
And especially a quick one.

paoyi said...

As an owner of at least 20 Red Shoes bags, of course I'm an advocate for all things baggy. So cool to see one of my own right down the bottom :)

But I think the last thing anyone would want is for you to start hating your craft again... theres nothing worse that when one's fountain of creativity dries up into just a dry, waterstained monument. especially when you're so good at it!

Perhaps if you started a seperate online store, the whole bag-making activity would become too time intensive again, and the toll of time and energy on maintaining the site, would begin to outweigh the fun and the extra bits of cash in your pocket?

Best make it easiest on yourself.... whack it up on your blog where you've already established a comfy routine and good amount of traffic. Old promises be damned :)

fluffy said...

Hey Laura, are you interested in selling through shops? I have a friend who has set up a very funky little shop stocking local designers - mostly clothes and jewellery and a few bags. It's called "Pussycat Black" on Edward St in Brunswick near the corner of Sydney Rd - she's keen to see your bags so I'll show her this page if you are into the idea. email me at fluffyasacat AT optusnet DOT com DOT au

xxx fluff

AngelaM said...

Oooohh, please please please start making bags again. I can honestly say that I've been so inspired by your creations, it's a shame that there aren't more..

Course if you hate it, don't do it, but please know that you've got a very wide fan base!

halloweenlover said...

I love your bags! I'd definitely buy one if you start selling them, and I think it is totally appropriate. I need to go tell Pink Cupcake (the blogger) to come and look at your cupcake purse, it is gorgeous!

felicity said...

i used to see your bags on ebay and i searched for you and found you here. i really really like your bags, i think you used to do some circular ones (?) that i loved. anyway i love the vintage tree kimono fabric one, and the japanese curtain one (with the hand). i wish you luck with whatever you decide with your bag making, and i also wish you luck with your phd (i am doing a phd as well, i know it is stressful :) ). good luck.