Monday, December 28, 2015

In October MM and I ventured over to the mainland for a couple of weeks.  Sometimes just getting away and seeing new things in different surroundings can inspire me!  While others may sit at the airport on their phones or tablets, I have my camera on me to record things that catch my eye.  Usually I am looking to see what types of bags people are carrying.  I was so inspired that when I got home I whipped up some new travel bags that I have since been expanding upon.  The collection has a duffle, a carry-on and a cosmetic bag. 

 I enjoy looking back on photos that I took of my bags over the years.  I like seeing how I have evolved as a designer and that I have "periods" like any artist where I can identify what it was that inspired me at the time.  In the coming year, I expect to be making more bags with shoulder straps and less bags with wrist straps.  I will be sewing larger bags that can be taken on the airplane or to a board meeting.  The bags I will be making most of this year will be less novelty and more classy.  I still take my cues from the beach and nature, but I am not afraid of a bit of color! 

Some of the bags I will be selling this year may be in a higher price category than in years past because I am devoted to taking the time to adding details.  Details that I believe are important and set my work apart from other designers.  I am often asked by customers, "can you put an extra pocket in that bag"?  The answer is often, "Yes!"  But not without taking extra time to cut out, interface, iron, and prep it.  That means of course that it will obviously cost more.  Part of myself goes into each bag I make.  I have found that my customers appreciate that and that is why they come back again and again! 

I will be participating in several live "pop-up boutiques" and trunk shows this year.  I gave it a whirl in 2015 and although it is a bit out of my comfort zone, it was good for my business and for my own personal growth.  Stay tuned for updates on the shows I will be appearing at. 

 A hui hou

Friday, February 27, 2015

2015 word of the year

No way!  Really?  Its almost March? 
Well let me catch you up! 
My word of 2015 is "Focus".  I choose this word for a couple of reasons.  You know me!  I can't just have ONE reason!  So obviously, as a self employed worker bee (okay, Queen Bee at times) I must stay focused in order to get anything done!  I have several events this year that I plan to participate in for the "biz" and getting enough inventory and yet still keeping my regular accounts shelves stocked is quite a juggling act.  So completely imperative.  Reason #2:  This year MM purchased a photography class for me as a gift and I spent the month of January learning and learning how to focus in a whole different way!  What a great gift that was to learn something new about a passion of mine. 

I was blessed last month with having my mom come out here to Hawaii to escape the winter in Idaho.  What a treat to have huge surf while she was here!  It meant no getting in the water, but provided some spectacular shows!  Some of the waves splashed about 30-40ft into the air!  It was truly awesome! 

Mom has been helping me so much!  I showed her how to affix the interfacing and fleece to my gadget bags and she has helped to prep over 100 bags.  Go Mom!  She also has been helping me with some cleaning and organizing that gets put on the back burner when I am "focused" on work.  I got her a one way ticket so that I wouldn't feel panicky about counting down the days until she would be gone.  So we went for two or three weeks without a deadline in front of us but now the time is fast approaching that she has to get back home.  *sigh*.  Who is going to set the table with nicely folded napkins and clear out my dishwasher NOW? 

This week I had some pretty exciting news.  I was invited to ship off some bags to Oahu for a private viewing by Mrs. Ige, our Governor's wife and her stylist.  I got online and learned everything I could about her so that I could hopefully make a bag or two that she likes enough to purchase.  Here is what I learned:  The item in her closet that is her favorite is a pink dress by "Taylor" that she purchased at the Nordstrom Rack for $20.  Her favorite local designer is Jeanie Chun who designed the lace dress she wore at the inauguration.  She is on leave from her job as a school vice-principal while fulfilling her duties as "First Lady".  She likes cats.  She likes clothing that is colorful and often selects her husbands aloha shirts for him.  She is thrifty and likes a bargain.  She is quite small in stature.  I believe she is Japanese.  So over the last two days, I have made several different clutch bags (the style I have seen her carry in photos on line).  All of them are made from recycled kimonos and obis but I am also going to ship over a burlap market tote and some of my Wilcox-Sasaki bags since she likes color.  I have no idea if my items will suit her taste or that of her stylist, but I am hopeful and am honored to have at least been given this opportunity.  I will let you know if it leads to bigger and better things! 

For now, its back to the sweat shop. 
a hui hou

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Finding Joy, One Shell at a time

Last year at this time, I was still feeling so sad at the loss of MM's mom.  It felt like over the previous two years I just hadn't had enough joy in my life and everything became about work and pleasing other people.  I know myself well enough by now that I know my emotions can swing like a pendulum but in the end, I usually come back to my center.  It was around this time last year that several of my facebook friends were posting about "gratitude jars".  The idea was that you would write on little slips of paper and drop your good memories or things you were grateful for into a jar and then the following year, you would all sit around and read the slips of paper and fun would be had by dee da! 

In theory it sounded like a nice idea, but knowing myself, as I do, I knew that I would never in a years worth of Sundays follow through with writing on the slips of paper.  So, I thought about this and came up with my own idea. 

One of the things I knew had been lacking in my life was time spent at the beach.  Here I in  Hawaii and yet, life in paradise can still get so busy that you forget to stop and smell the plumeria!  So I made a commitment to go to the beach more in 2014.  In fact I talked to MM and he agreed that we could do our weekly Sunday "coffee and crosswords" at the beach instead of at the coffee shop.  Each Sunday I would take my empty coffee cup and take a walk on the shoreline, filling it up with whatever caught my eye.  I did it almost as a "meditation".  It calms me and I feel more at peace there then anywhere else. I believed that everything I found was actually meant for me.  It didn't matter if there were many other people out combing the beach because I believed that I would find everything I was intended to have.  Not every day was filled with joy.  There were days I found myself at the beach with a heavy heart.  But the beach made it better! 

When I started collecting my "gifts from the sea" I knew that I would go through it at the end of the year and give back to the sea anything that I no longer "needed".  Today as I sat on the floor, sifting through my finds I felt a full heart as I realized how much joy I had experienced this year.  I am looking forward to continuing this tradition and I trust that next year, my jar will be filled up to the brim once again with the memories I made while at the beach with the sun on my back and my fist full of shells.