Monday, December 7, 2009

Guess Which Bag Was Groped The Most?

4th and 5th April 2009 was a turning point for me. It was the first time I sold my bags. I chose red dot design museum mostly because I didn't know of any other places where I could sell handmade items at an affordable rental rate. Also, I had "auditioned", accepted and sent a cheque. There was no turning back. And that was my first MAAD.

I cannot believe it has only been 8 months since my first MAAD and I had sold at MAAD a total of 6 times this year. I thought I was all grown up already but the past 8 months, I kinda grew up a whole lot more - at MAAD.

I knew from my first MAAD that making the bag is the easy part. Selling it - now that's hard. Because I am in the handmade market, I have to be the one selling my stuff. Also, that's a MAAD rule. I have never sold anything in my whole life. I am also a shy person unable to make social talk with strangers. I had to re-invent myself to talk about what I do, to connect with the customers, to interest them and finally make the sale. I can't say I have mastered the skills required. It's still hard but I'm glad it's all very interesting.

Back to December MAAD which happened over the weekend.
The title of Most Groped Bag goes to my Madam Bag.

Almost everyone who stopped by my table, gave Madam Bag a squeeze, a stroke, a tug or a 2nd look. I almost felt sorry for her, Finally a lady (I noticed she carries a lot of purple stuff) bought her, This purple-liking lady checked the inside of the bag and noticed that I don't have any raw seams. Those of you who read my blog regularly will know I will go to any length to prevent any raw seams from showing. And she noticed. She noticed! She is my ideal customer. I almost broke my No.1 cardinal rule of "never fall in love with your customer".

Early in the morning just before opening shop on Day 1

I mentioned in my last post that there would be a fash-bash at Dec MAAD? Boy, I had no idea what it really meant. While I was setting up shop, there were already customers milling around! Saturday was madness. The traffic was unbelievable. It was definitely due to fash-bash because MAAD doesn't have that kind of marketing pull. Sunday was slower but it was still more than the usual MAAD crowd.

So, are you ready for my sales statistics? I sold a total of ...drum rolls...32 items! - comprising 13 large bags and the rest were pouches and a few accessories. This is my wildest dream come true. I doubt if I can ever attain this record again.

All my new designs were sold out fast. You know what this means? I'm getting better at making what sells. I'm still going to continue to inject bits of Jane P in most of my bags. You know, god forbid I get too commercial. A show of hand, those of you who are not rotflol.

Remember my pink-purple fleece hoopla?
First let me shout this in my husband's ear: "You were wrong hubby! The customer loved the pink-purple fleece!" Now take that you potato eating guy you!

My heart-with-wings bag made in Oct '09 was hard to sell. I wanted to make another heart-with-wings bag but I can't until this one's sold. Some people were interested but maybe it was too pricey? On Sunday, a cool lady (she sounded American but I can't be sure) finally bought it. I almost broke my No. 2 cardinal rule of "Never shed tears in front of customer who buys a hard-to-move bag." Whoo hoo!

Now on to my goodies.
A little birdhouse from momshoo. Isn't it cute? You can view more of her stuff at flickR. I got to know SN of momshoo at my first MAAD. A cute girl with nimble fingers.

Next, a pretty bracelet from Serenite Designs. I got to know her this MAAD. She has very pretty Shabby-Chic accessories. You'll buy up her whole store! Her stuff went like hot cakes.

This pretty flower was given to me by Wyrrd Rune, another MAAD regular. All because I mentioned I wanted to make flowers for my bag. Hey, ZR, did I mention I want an apple mac? :D So check her out. She has some really cool stuff. Btw, I'll be collaborating with her this Sat. More on that next time.

Then, there's Mandy. This girl really makes me laugh. I love her to death. She sells some feathery stuff. Okay, just kidding. My kids told me her stuff sold like crazy. She makes amazingly gorgeous hair accessories using ribbons and feathers. Check her out at her forest flame. Don't worry. No birds were made bald in the process. Btw, she bought one of my skulls and bones bag - the one with pink-purple fleece. She's one of my royal-loyal customers. My husband says Mandy spoils me! Thank you Mandy for spoiling me. Muah! Muah!

Lastly, I want to say a big hello to Courtney from US but lives in S'pore and bought 3 items from me. I did make you laugh, didn't I? Come back next month, won't you? And I am so sorry I almost broke my No. 3 cardinal rule "Never make your customers laugh so hard they pee in their pants."

Okay, I just realised there's more. To Christin: thanks for buying my bags and your custom orders. (I had to chase her away before she bought my whole shop.) Just kidding. See you in Jan MAAD.

Finally, thanks to Jon for coming round to make me laugh like a hyena. Bought nothing again! Darn it.
 I'm sorry this post is so long. Thanks for staying with me!


Pip said...

Hi Jane, love the bags you sew, how inspiring! And I like the fabric you used for the Madam Bag. Such a subtle print with bursts of lavender, lovely! Where can i get fabric like that?

Also wanted to thank you for the tute on recessed zipper. It ended my long standing feud with a zipper issue! :))

jane p said...

Hi Phyllis, thank you. The fabric is by Lecien and made in Japan. It is a linen/cotten blend. I bought it in S'pore from a fabric importer - the only piece available and it was less than a yard! It is seriously overpriced but worth the money. Here's a link to Lecien agents

Pip said...

Thanks for that Jane! Where I live there isn't a lot of fabric so I like to look for fabric when I travel. When I was last in Singapore everyone had recommended People's Park so that was the only place I found. I guess you really have to look to find novelty places with good quality pieces, even if they're offcuts haha..
Hope to see more from you, think you're really talented!

jane p said...

Hi Phyllis, you know what, I might do a post on places where you can get fabric in S'pore!

Pip said...

That would be lovely Jane! I'm going to Singapore in late January so that is perfect. Thanks very much!

jane p said...

Hi Phyllis
I won't be doing a post on fabric shops but here are a couple of places you can try:
1. Malin Textiles at People's Park Complex (I'm sure you have been here before but just in case)
#02-1134 & #02-1122 run by sisters. You can go to their fan page at facebook. Search "Malin Textile"
2. Arab Street (both sides of the road) esp. Gim Joo Textile, 90 Arab Street.
3. Blk 269 Queen Street #01-233 to #01-224 This shop sells Lecien fabric at $6 per yard. Do not bargain here.
If you need further direction, email me and I'll see what I can do.
Good Luck.

Pip said...

Hey Jane, just wanted to drop a note and say a HUGE thank you for your list!! I ended up staying at Ibis Bencoolen by pure chance anyway and found out it's right beside Queen Street! What are the odds of that?! Unfortunately it was closed the 3 days I was there... Went to People's Park but it was too early and they weren't open ( I was there at 10am ). Hahaha... maybe it wasn't meant to be... so I hoofed it to Ikea and bought some fabrics so it's all good! But still, THANK YOU so much for the list.

jane p said...

A number of fabric shops were closed a week or two before CNY. That could be it. I love Ikea fabric too. It's a little harder to sew than Japanese cotton tho' due to the "rougher" texture.

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