Monday, July 29, 2013

Vivocity craft market post-mortem 27th to 28th July 2013

Dear friends,

As you know I had a craft market at Vivocity over the weekend. I'm very, very sad to inform you guys that all my customers were very nice and respectful. No one tried to teach me how to sew or design a "better" bag. No one scolded me for refusing their business. No one tried to buy my display set. (yes I'm looking at you, lady who wants to buy my box!) So all in all, the weekend went very well. But how utterly boring for you!

Traffic was remarkably heavier especially on Saturday. I would attribute the bigger crowd to two events. There was a Hair for Hope fundraising charity event in the main hall, some distance from my booth. It attracted such a huge crowd that it was quite difficult to walk through. One of the main events was getting your hair shaved for a small fee.

I happened to walk past when this lady (a total stranger) just had her hair shaved. What a brave beauty. I know I would never be able to part with my hair willingly. Btw, is it just me or do bald people look alike?

The other crowd puller was Jamie's Italian which opened recently. The restaurant was right next to our craft market and we could see the hungry people queuing up even before the restaurant opened for business. On both Saturday and Sunday, there was always a long queue before lunch and dinner. On Sunday, the queue for dinner was so long I couldn't even see the end of the queue. In the future after the hype dies down, I may take my kids to try the food but no way are we queuing. No freaking way.

Let's get down to the important part of the post-mortem. Did my sales suck? Or was it awesome? I think I did pretty well on Saturday. Sunday as always the sales wasn't as good. But it was better than my usual bad. So overall I think I did pretty good. Seriously though, the size of the crowd just did not translate to awesome sale. 

Hubs said he missed my review of what I had sold. I used to list every item I sold but I got lazy. Anyhoos, for old time's sake, I made a collage of some of the items I sold. As you can see, I sold all the items I made using Flights of fancy and  Dress up Day (the one with hanging laundry). The rest of the items I sold were zip pouches and accessories and I'm not gonna search for the pics. I am disappointed I couldn't sell all my big bags. I'm quite tired of lugging them around!

Oh, a shout-out to my blog reader, LT (he's a guy) for chionging (rushing) down to be my first customer on Saturday. I noticed he was quite botak (bald) and forgot to ask if he had it voluntarily shaven for Hair for Hope or was it genetics or was that his usual hairdo?

This was Saturday's display. My stock is seriously pathetic. Oh, I just noticed a drawstring bag I had made (the one with the bird) which I had already sold but forgotten to take a pic of! The customer was delighted (my word) to discover the bag was lined with no visible raw seams. Okay, the "no visible raw seams" are also my words.

Very importantly, what did I wear? On Saturday I went dressed as "a woman who had just given birth and was desperately trying to hide her tummy" unlike a certain Kate Middleton who had no such fears. I think I succeeded because you can't really see my tummy. Can you? And before you guys fall off your chairs, I did not just give birth!

I took a selfie at a shop and the security guard behind me was desperately trying not to pay attention to me. He must be thinking, should I stop her from taking pics of herself?

My kids went to help me on Saturday. Here's my girl who went dressed as a emo.

At this point I should probably end my post-mortem but something someone said at the craft market really irritated me. Why it irritated was because it has happened many times before. Since I joined this market in 2011, every time I'm at Vivocity, someone is bound to ask me the same question in one form or another. Something like this.

Young woman: Is your stall a social enterprise?
Me: No, mine is Handmade.
Young woman: But..but..I was told this is a social enterprise market.
Me: Who told you that?
Young woman: My friend...
Me: Ah.
Young woman: I know this is a social enterprise market. My friend said so. But you are handmade...
Me: Yes. (feeling sad I am handmade)
Young woman: So why are you selling here?
Me: Because I can. (wtf?)
Young woman: You mean you're allowed? (horror)
Me: Yes, I'm allowed. (smiling in a evil manner)
Young woman: Ohhhh (faking understanding)

If you're wondering why anyone would ask me if I were a social enterprise, it's due to the craft market being "marketed" as a champion of social entrepreneurship and a showcase to sell "handicrafts". However, the craft market also positions itself as a handmade market. So I can understand why customers are confused. Some people seem to think all social enterprises are non-profit. Yes dear, there are non-profit ones. But many social enterprises are profit based as in yes, yes, make money, moolah, ka-ching.
Of course I know I'm also asking for it when someone asks me:

Who benefits if I buy from you?

And I cannot help but answer gleefully: ME!

Surprise/shock/horror on customer's face.

You know what the customer should ask me?
Who pays for everything? Me.
Who shoulders the cost and loss? Me.
Who makes the products and does everything related to selling it? Me.

Who gets the miserable profit, if any. Should be me, rite?

Please! Support my products or not. Whatever. But don't try and make me feel bad for selling my handmade bags for a profit.

Sorry, rant over. It's been 2 years of holding it in.

See you in a while. I'll be in my cave.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Flights of fancy makes


I know I'm not imagining this. I know I'm awake and typing out this blog post. But in my head, I'm fast asleep. For the past two weeks, I have not been able to have a proper sleep. My sleep pattern is all screwed up and I just can't fix it. If I go to sleep at night at a normal time, I will wake up many times during the night. Eventually I'll fall into a deep sleep but that's when I need to wake up to prepare breakfast for the kids. During the day I struggle to stay awake. Finally I cave in or should I say unconsciousness overcame me. The nap I take will interfere with my night sleep again. I have an idea why my sleep pattern is all wrong. I have been taking panadols again as I am being attacked by little headaches every day. These shitty little headaches are always there but most of the time they don't get so bad that you'll run to a hospital to get your head checked out. I almost wish they were migraines. Yes, now I think I'm a little insane. Wishing they were migraines. Well, at least with migraines they eventually go away. Completely. With these little headaches, they are always hanging around. You never feel too ill but you don't feel great either. Such a pain. I feel like I'm suspended somehow. Waiting for it to be over with.

On top of that I have weird food cravings and repulsions. For a while I would only eat tuna sandwiches. Then I got turned off tuna and would only eat fruits. This week I'm finally able to eat proper meals again. Interestingly, I did not lose any weight at all. Must be all the sugar in the fruits.

Anyway, why the long story? Well, it's to "justify" why I have only managed to make a few items for my next craft market this weekend. Do you agree that I often come up with such elaborate excuses to explain my laziness? But rest assured my mind and heart were willing.

Today I want to show you the three items I made from this fabulous Flights of fancy fabric Mandy gave me. In my opinion, this fabric has everything I love in a fabric. Birds, flowers, leaves, butterflies, dragonflies and post office stamp. If I were to design a fabric, that's more or less the ingredients for me.

I thought this fabric looked so fantastic on the shoulder bag. It looks so cheery, doesn't it?  Inside are two pockets, one of which is zipped. I hadn't made zip pockets for quite a while and initially I thought I had forgotten how to make one. But it seems it's like riding a bike, though some of you might disagree! (I'm getting a good giggle thinking most of you would disagree)

Next I made a pleated wristlet. Hubs says the fabric print hides the pleats. Generally I dislike pleats on zippers due to the bulk. But I had this amount of fabric and I just didn't want to have like 2 inches of fabric gone to waste.

I couldn't resist making a zip pouch as well. Honestly, making zip pouches is quite therapeutic. 

This weekend's craft market will be my last one for a while as I plan to take a break. So if you want to buy something from me, do come down to Vivocity on 27th or 28th July. Details below.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Evolution of a bag

In my previous post I said I'll show you guys how this shoulder bag came about and I spent this morning going through my archives and it's been quite a journey. First of all, I couldn't find most of my pics taken in 2007 and 2008. I have changed computers several times and I guess some things got lost. Second of all, I wished I had made more of an effort to take photos of every bag I had made. Even this year alone, I know I let a few bags get sold without any photographs. Some days I just forgot and then it's too late. Third of all, my photo taking skills really improved over the years! Anyway, I went as far back as I could dig out - mostly from 2009 onwards. I hope you'll enjoy this little reminiscing.

This crane bag more or less started it. Before this bag there were possibly a couple of other similar ones but I couldn't find the pics. So let's start with this one. This crane bag got me thinking if it were possible for me to make one basic sloper (block) and make different variations of the bag from it. When I was learning dressmaking many many years ago, that was what I was taught. You make a sloper and you go from there.

This is my earliest documented variation. I could only find one blurry photo! I made the shoulder straps thinner and sculpted the body a little. I felt the crane bag had a clumsy body. I want to say I was most pleased with this version and made a few more but I don't have the photos to show you.

My next attempt was not so good. I made the bottom boxy and I made the body shorter. The result speaks for itself. The proportion is the problem.

I much prefer the longish look so I went back to it and I kept the boxy bottom. Many customers told me the bag was too long. Sigh. I made a few of this version and I did make the bag shorter.

Like these two. Yep. Shorter was better. But I got bored. I modified the body over and over, sometimes curvy, sometimes more boxy. Below you can see a small sample of the variations. I used one ring to solve the issue of customers of varying heights buying my bags. And that's how the one-ring wonders were born. Nowadays I still fiddle with the one-ring wonders body.

After my one-ring wonder spin-off, I wanted to go back to the less curvy version of the bag.

This was the result. I made a few of these in varying bottoms and sizes such as these below.

End of 2012 I wanted to make smaller versions of this bag. I drafted the pattern but never got round to making the bag until April this year.

This is the first version of the new and improved sloper. You can't really tell how small this bag is but it's only big enough for your essentials. I wasn't sure if anyone would buy this bag due to its size but it did sell.

Anyway, this got me thinking about the old sloper again and I made 2 more for old times' sake.

But I really wanted to work on the new sloper again and came up with these variations.

This is my final version.

I'm very pleased with this version and I'll stick with it for a while. This bag can be a shoulder bag or a crossbody bag. It's just a matter of changing the length of the strap. I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. Oh, while writing this post, I decided I will make another version of this sloper (so soon!) but this time with zipper. I will try and work on it in September. I can't wait!

Partaying with Sew Many Ways

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Look what I sewed on my no-sewing break

Internet friends,

Technically I'm still on a no-sewing break. I really wanted to step away from the sewing machine and just breathe. And live like a normal human being and not worry if I have made enough bags for my craft market. My mini "vacation" has been going really well. Today we're finally taking care of moving more furniture around in one of the bedrooms. We had the dressers in the living room for a while now and dare I say it? They could easily remain in the living room for good. We're really lazy people.

Oh, we went to see The Lone Ranger. Before the movie, hubs said the reviews were negative. I am one of those people who refuse to listen to movie reviews. I am a fan of Johnny Depp and although I can't say I've seen all his movies (I may have skipped a couple of the pirates), I have seen the important ones.

The movie, The Lone Ranger turned out to be fantastic! I haven't enjoyed a movie so much for so long and I have seen a lot of movies. I'm so glad I don't listen to critics!

Oh and guess what? I made a bag. Oh, no. The sewing machine won. It was no-stress sewing so its okay. It is meant for my next craft market. Speaking of which, the next craft market is likely to be my last one for quite a while. I'm taking a break to take care of my pattern business. Because of that, I'm thinking it's wise if I don't make too many items as I still have stock. I can't tell if my next sales will be good or bad and I don't really want my stock to sit around for months. With that in mind, I'm going to be selective about the kind of bags I make the next 2 weeks.

I used soft batting for the body and as a result, the bag feels cushiony. The batting is expensive. And why is that? Why are the interlining of a bag so expensive? Certainly you can buy in bulk and save but I don't have the kind of money to sink into bulk buying. I feel like us bag-makers in Singapore are at the mercy of the miserable number of shops selling interlining. Yes, this is a bag supply related rant.

I gave this bag two pockets - a zipper pocket and a patch pocket. Usually I'm quite stingy with pockets. In my next blog post I'll show you how this bag came about. The evolution, if you will.

Do you like the fabric I used for the bag? Sadly I only bought 1/2 a yard. Waaaah!!! The laundry hung on strings is so charming. Would you believe back in the old days in the village, my mother used to hang laundry this way?

Later alligator.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Curiosity Killed The Cat

Hello folks,

It's Tuesday and what a nice cool day it is in Singapore. I'm procrastinating all day (it means I just lay around) even though I have a list of tasks to do like getting rid of more junk, buying bag-making supplies and planning what to make for my next market. Meanwhile, I thought I'll share this story with you. It has nothing to do with my sewing but if you all have nothing else to read...

It's a true story.

On Sunday at Vivocity craft market, hubs came to keep me company in the late afternoon. He sold one pouch by the way. (woohoo!) Sometime in the evening, he had to go. Yes, as in No. 2.

While in the toilet, hubs heard someone in the next cubicle saying: what the f%$*! what the f%$*! He heard the guy leave and then heard something else. It sounded like water leaking. Hubs thought about whether to commit to the No. 2 or leave as well. He was worried about the floor flooding or something. (this part I'm not too clear about) Anyway, the decision was made to carry on with No. 2.

Sometime later, hubs was done with his business and he came out of his cubicle. He noticed the door next to his was closed but not locked. He could still hear the sound of leaking water. Very curious, he pushed the door open and immediately a jet of water coming from the toilet bowl sprayed him on his body. He's lucky he's tall. Of course I laughed my head off.

Here he is just done telling me the tale.

Monday, July 8, 2013

VivoCity Craft Market 6th to 7th July 2013 Post-Mortem


Today is such a great day because it's a no-school day so we all got to sleep in. My weekend craft market is finally over and done with and I am so, so glad. Because I can't wait to take a bag-sewing break.

On Saturday I went dressed as a man.

Here it is, my Saturday display. My sales for the weekend was shockingly low. In fact it's the first time since I joined this market, my sales has hit this low. I only made enough to pay the rent and my meals. My sales on Saturday was scary. It's like what happened? Most people bought my low-value items. My sales on Sunday was actually a tiny bit higher than Saturday which isn't saying much because Sunday's sale is usually quite low.

If you were to ask me what went wrong, I could say that there were too many tables selling bags. Out of a total of 12 tables at my area, 4 were dedicated bag sellers while 2 others sold bags and softies. Now that's 6 out of 12. So I had a lot of competition. Usually I'm the queen of bags.  Now I'm feeling the heat.

It would have been depressing except on Saturday my girl went with me and also my dear friend Corinna was around. It's always interesting when she's around.

My girl and I got to spend our girly time together. She even let me braid her hair. This was my first attempt. My second attempt was way better and if we are able to wake up early enough, she might just go to school in double braids!

Nothing much interesting happened where we were. Once a combo of a big doll and some other people dressed in seafood costume came by. What is their purpose? I can't really say. They don't drive any traffic to our craft market, that's for sure.

Well, now that the weekend market's over, I shall focus on the next market which is on 27th and 28th July. It's no point dwelling on what's over. I hope to make a more interesting batch of bags for the next round.

Oh I did learn one thing over the weekend. When you give discounts, you attract a different set of customers. And for them, your discounts will never be enough. I spent so much time fending off people asking for more and more discounts. It was ridiculous. One lady was so determined to buy my wristlet for a very low price. It was $25 marked down to $20. She told me I had used VERY ORDINARY fabric for the wristlet and decided it was only worth $12, thereby giving herself a further $8 discount. I declined her offer and so she decided I should custom make one for her. Seriously? I informed her I do not custom make my pouches and she got very offended and upset and stalked off. As I said, there were 5 other tables selling bags and she found someone willing to custom make for her.

And why do I attract the crazies? I had this woman who came to my table and she looked very interested in my bags. Unfortunately when I spoke with her, she told me she had no intention of buying anything because she is unemployed. In the same breath, she showed me a pouch she had in her bag which she said cost $50 but it was very useful because she could store everything in it. So it was worth every cent. Then for 15 minutes, she described to me every skin ailment she had suffered from. Gawd! I thought she was done. Nope. She took it upon herself to give me advice on how to improve my bags. Does she sew? No. Did she work as a bag seller? No. Basically, using her experience as someone who has used bags, she told me the bags I had made weren't practical. She pointed to a few bags and told me the flaws - like too big, or too broad, or too tall, or whatever. She said the best bag had to be of a specific size and she proceeded to use her hands to measure for me how tall and wide the bag had to be. So she described her dream bag to me. Honestly, some people are too familiar with me. 

Oh, on Sunday morning, a woman was murdered in my estate. My son said he heard a scream. Sorry. Sprang that on you.

Catch you guys later.

Friday, July 5, 2013

My next craft market at Vivocity


Guess what? I have another craft market at Vivocity, Singapore this weekend. Yes, I know. Hubs was saying, didn't you just write a post-mortem for the one last weekend? So sad. So so sad. I almost feel like I've sold myself to the Vivocity craft market.

This week was a very short week for me. Oh yes. Just a few days to sew new stuff for my market. It was a tough week as well as June school break was over and it was back to school for the kids. And you know what that means. Right, wake up at bloody 6am. Our sleep pattern was totally wacky. I had been sleeping late and waking up late and on Monday I only had 3 hours sleep before waking up. Since it was the first day, I felt like superman and thought I could do it. We even went to see White House Down which is not a bad movie. (Hubs cried a few times.) When I reached home, I crashed badly. Tuesday, I managed to get 4 hours of sleep before 6am came. Sometime in the afternoon, I crashed. If you're wondering what I mean by crash, in layman terms it means nap soundly. Btw, I just woke up from another crash.

In between all these crashes, I told myself maybe I should just forget about making new items for the craft market After all, why kill myself for a craft market. But you know me. I squeezed three items out of myself. Somehow. I know they're not much but at least you can say I tried.

These are the three items I made.

I made the shoulder bag using the newspaper print first.

Same shoulder bag, a teensy bigger but with a different print. Remember the fabric I had for the giveaway? I saved 1 yard's worth for myself.

Absolutely love this print. It has line drawing which is just my thing. I couldn't resist making it into a large wristlet.

I'm really looking forward to next week because I badly need 1 week off sewing. After that I have to sew for my next craft market which is on 27th and 28th July. And finally after that, I'm taking a longer break to work on other projects.

So if you're in Singapore, swing by VivoCity. I'm giving discounts!!! Not for the 3 items I made this week though. I mean, they're fresh off the sewing machine, amirite? But everything else, yes.

So you'll come? Promise?

Monday, July 1, 2013

VivoCity Craft Market 29th to 30th June 2013 Post-Mortem


It's July. My craft market at VivoCity has come and gone. What can I say, what can I say? I'm tired. Truly tired. It's no joke spending hours and hours at a mall. I leave home at 9am and come back at 11pm. That's crazy, rite?

Sales. Yes, the most important thing. If you say it's not, I'm going to blow haze at your face. So, everybody agrees with me? As usual, it was good on Saturday and bad on Sunday. Honestly, I should just open for Saturday and "forget" to show up on Sunday. Of course I must remember to bring my stuff home on Saturday. :)

On Sunday, it took quite a long time to get the first sale. Two old people, I'm guessing from China kept checking out my hair accessories. The old man was terribly terribly interested and kept examining the details of the hair clip. Yes, it has a lot of details. I almost think he's into handmade. They left without buying anything. Finally after making the round of the craft market, they came back and decided to buy the hair clip. While his wife (I assume) was paying, the old guy started bargaining with me. Um, shouldn't you bargain BEFORE you pay? Anyway, I don't price my stuff very high in the first place and seriously for the hair clip, I wasn't even making any profit. So when the old man NAGGED me for a discount, I said,


I'm kidding. I said it all IN MY HEAD. I'm generally very tolerant of old people. Then the old guy NAGGED me again for a discount. I just gave a huge laugh, like HAHAHAHA kind of laugh that says "I'm not even going to insult you with an answer."

This was Saturday's display taken real early. I forgot to take a pic of Sunday's display. Yep. Didn't feel real motivated.

I was seated behind the vendor who uses varnish and some kind of marker pen which requires shaking. Luckily she sat right below the air-con vent and in front of her was the door so the ventilation was good. I only felt like vomiting if I went too close to her so I stayed the hell away. Whenever the smell got bad, I just went for a walk. Anyway, she did tell me she would do the varnishing outdoors and keep the varnished item in a covered container. If you think I'm unlucky to sit behind her, it must be a lot worse for her!

Guess who showed up on Saturday? Yes, a customer from my iLuma days. (btw, iLuma has now changed hands and has become Bugis+ - yes, what a stupid name but it looks like a much better mall) I don't really remember many of my customers but somehow I remember Delphina. Maybe it's her unique name! Oh and how nice of her to bring a friend.

On Sat I went dressed as a blue clown. I have started to buy a lot of Uniqlo clothes and when I saw these striped lounge pants, I fell in love. Upon careful reading of the packaging, I was dismayed to learn these pants are meant to be worn at home. I'm a shorts kind of person when I'm lounging around my home. Then hubs said the magic words. Wear them out! And so I did. They are horribly, horribly comfy. Anyway, no one said to me: what the hell are you wearing? I wish Uniqlo has it in black and white stripes as well.

Recently there was a Hello Kitty 6 plushies promotion by McDonald's and yes, it triggered a Hello Kitty mania. (this isn't the first time it happened) People queued overnight to get the soft toy which you have to pay for on top of a meal. Some travelled around Singapore in search of McDonald outlets which have stock.

These are the 6. I managed to get Little Red Riding Hood easily. Hubs had his heart set on the Singing Bone (the black one) which was unfortunately the last one released. Which meant it would be the hardest to get because the mania would be at its peak. Anyway, you can read his Hello Kitty search here. Needless to say, he did not get his Singing Bone Kitty.

On Saturday when I saw one of the balloon artists at the craft market put up a Singing Bone Hello Kitty balloon for sale, I immediately snatched it up for hubs. The balloon artist heard my sad tale of how hubs failed to get his kitty and was sympathetic. However, she cautioned the joy of the balloon kitty is short lived as you know, balloons don't last forever.

Oh, you know what? On Saturday I went to a nearby flea market held in a club. It was dark, there was loud music and is that a disco light? I really don't know how it's possible to shop in the dark. Most of the shops sell clothes. How do you even try them on? All the vendors were squeezed together. There were a lot of customers. However, some of the vendors were located in smaller rooms. Poor thing. I'm quite aware I'm not the target customer. I felt really out of place and I had to ask many people for help when I tried to leave. I ended up in small rooms and weird tunnels. It was scary but I finally saw sunlight.

I did buy one item. Yep, something shiny caught my eye and I bought the purple case embellished with shiny stuff. The seller gave me a new one which I didn't check because it was all wrapped up. When I opened it upon reaching home, I realised that one of the big crystals had become unglued. Demmit.

So that was my Saturday and Sunday. And how was your weekend?
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