Saturday, November 7, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
We added 7 new oilcloth bags to our etsy store today bagitdesigns.etsy.com
These bags have been so popular for gifts, so we're stocking up for holiday buying. We're experiencing an increase in activity and sales in our shop and we're looking forward to a great holiday season. Please tell your friends about us!
The oilcloth bags are 2 layers of oilcloth which makes for a sturdy water resistant bag that wipes clean with a damp cloth. It's a big bag, 18 x 15 x 5, big enough for a trip to the grocery store or the mall. Take it along on vacation to hold wet suits and towels. Haul your books to the library. Carry your laptop. It's versatile and really cute. Should you choose to reverse the bag, please do so when the bag is at a warm room temperature so as not to damage the cloth. A Minnesota chilled oilcloth bag does not like to be manipulated when it's freezing - much like its designer!
The oilcloth comes in such beautiful patterns. Check our shop to see them all and check back as we plan to have more before the holidays.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
We were wrong.
Just because a hotel offers "wireless internet service" does not mean that it will be working.
And, that's enough on that unpleasant topic.
Our weekend in Winterset, Iowa was not at all what we expected! When we booked the show we were expecting lovely autumn days in a charming town with lots of vendors and shoppers. We knew as we set up the booth on Friday night that morning "snow flurries" or "snow showers" were mentioned as a Saturday possibility. Small percentage chance.
We woke up on Saturday morning, checked outside, and it looked like a blizzard! October 10th!
We drove the 30 miles from Des Moines to Winterset, shaking our heads and moaning all the way. We had placed our plastic tarps over the tent, so all was dry inside, but there was quite a pile of snow on the top. We made the decision to keep the booth closed until the snow stopped. Other vendors made the same choice. Most sane people, upon checking the weather, decided to stay home. Wouldn't you?
Fortunately, the Winterset stores and restaurants were open and we ended up spending a few fun hours walking around like tourists. Winterset's downtown wraps around a beautiful courthouse square. We felt as though we'd stepped back in time to the 1950's. We shopped for fabric in the Ben Franklin store and nearby quilt shop. We ate donuts in the local family owned bakery where most of the family was seated at a large table eating their breakfast. I ordered coffee and got a WHOLE POT for $1.00. We went to the pharmacy, walked to the back, past the soda fountain and counter seating, to the attached dining room and ordered some eggs. We stopped in shops along the square. The local movie theater was offering free movies all day long, a tribute to John Wayne (born in the area), and because it was warm, free, and popcorn was available, we watched True Grit! I stepped outside to check the weather, and the snow had stopped. So, we left the warmth of the theater (about 1:30 p.m.) and opened our booth.
We had enthusiastic and very pleasant wonderful customers for the rest of the day and all throughout Sunday, which was a cold, breezy day. Take a look at the photo of the booth. You'll notice all the heavy winter coats. We really needed them! We were really freezing after a full day of standing outside. I like that photo - see the Cold Beer sign hanging from the building behind our booth? That's a optimist. I don't think he sold much beer that weekend.
The other photo is of the courthouse. The steps were used as a stage and local musical groups provided music hour by hour for the entire weekend and it was EXCELLENT music. Sunday began with a female trio singing "The Star Spangled Banner" followed by a very good church choir. We had a lovely dose of patriotism and church service the very first hour of the day.
We hope that our schedule will bring us back to Winterset and that we'll be able to experience the festival the way it was intended . . . . lovely autumn days in a charming town.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Will post details of our Iowa show later.
Getting organized now, planning for our Arizona shows, and working on our Etsy shop.
Monday, October 5, 2009
We're having success with our new bag, the Mother Load bag. This is the mother of all tote bags, big, beautiful, functional and REVERSIBLE. We carefully choose fabrics that are compatible but will offer two distinct looks, providing great value as well as versatility.
The top two pictures in this posting are of the bag we call Autumn Elegance. The top picture is the reverse side of the autumn leaves pictured just below. The print is a Celtic knot in tones of gold and accented with metallic gold. Just beautiful! The other side is a warm rich print of beautiful autumn leaves.
The second set of pictures is for the bag we've named Dotty Plaid. One side is a dotted fabric trimmed with red and black flowers. The reverse is a black, white and red plaid accented with grosgrain ribbon in solid black and a second dotted ribbon.
This is a big bag: about 18 1/2" x 15 1/2" by 13" tall. It has shoulder straps and a grosgrain ribbon binds the top. There are 6 pockets! The price is $55.00.
Check out our online store www.bagitdesigns.etsy.com to see other Mother Load bags.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Rain in forecast
Wind in forecast
Temperatures in the low 40's
and . . . . the final straw . . . . . contaminated drinking water in all of Bayfield.
80% chance of rain on Friday and Saturday, wind gusts up to 30 miles an hour, chilly temperatures combined with wind and the wind chill factor kicks in, and no water unless it's boiled.
So, we bailed! It was absolutely the right decision, so now we're using the extra time to sew more new stuff and work on the website.
It's not what we expected . . . .
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Here are three new fabrics we picked up on our road trip. We visited Common Threads Quilting in Evanston, Wyoming and bought quite a few pieces from the beautiful collection of prints and novelty fabrics. It's a very lovely shop with flowers out front and beautifully organized bolts. If you find yourself in Evanston, it's definitely worth a stop. The shop is 3,000 square feet, and has over 1500 bolts. They offer custom machine quilting, will ship your finished quilt and the samples on display are just superb. The address is 1029 Main Street, take exit 5 on Interstate 80. Phone: 307-444-1675. Owners: Babette Watts & Lorinda Graham. Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Butterflies and dragonflies are popular with our customers, so you'll see some totes and accessories from those 2 prints. The coffee print will be coffee cuffs for sure! If you want to place a special order from one of these fabrics, go to our website: http://www.bagitdesigns.etsy.com/ and click on "contact us" and tell us what you'd like. We'll make it and do a special listing.
Monday, September 21, 2009
This show was advertised as "in a park" with 100,000 in attendance. We need to learn to read between the lines and make a proper assessment.
On a Friday afternoon, in mid-September, with school in session, who are the likely candidates for shoppers? Retired people, empty nesters, moms with just a few hours of time to spend looking, serious browsers? We met them. The few that were there. So . . . . Friday afternoon, while a great time for people to walk and gawk, was not very productive for vendors.
Saturday was beautiful weather and the crowds were huge and we were busy, busy, busy all day long. Sold lots of stuff and had a good day!
Sunday didn't really start to roll until the after church crowd showed up and we were busy until about 1:00 p.m. when nearly everyone left to join the assembled crowds (chairs set up along the parade route at 8:00 a.m.) to watch the big parade. The parade was to last an hour, and neighboring vendors who'd been there before, assured us we'd have a huge surge of customers for the last hour. The parade did not end until after 3:00 p.m.
So, from our perspective as vendors, we had 2 days of pretty much wasted time for what is essentially a one day show.
And, did I mention dust??
If we were asked if we'd like to do a show on or alongside a gravel road, we'd likely decline, since we'd factor in the high probability of overwhelming dust. Our booth sat atop a rock hard patch of barren earth where grass hadn't grown for maybe years! And we were surrounded on all sides by more of the same. We didn't expect that in a park. We spent most of our time dusting, cleaning, and starting over with dusting and cleaning again. Here's a great hint: Microfiber cloths are terrific for removing dust from fabric items. They absorb the dust like magic! We buy them in the automotive section of Walmart or Target.
We've taken a vow: No Parks! No Parades! and we're reconsidering Fridays.
We'll post some photos later today.
Monday, September 14, 2009
So, how much stuff is needed for an Arts and Crafts show? Check it out. Note the truck in the distance. Step one is to get everything out of the house, step two is get it all into the vehicle, step three is unload everything at the show, step four is load it all again at the end of the show. Repeat as needed!
So, for now, a brief update:
Road trip from California to Minnesota - very long - and sometimes quite boring (Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska) - but some great stops at some great quilt shops. Details and pictures in an upcoming post. We got to Minnesota at 3:00 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 10.
Calico Barn, Osseo, Minnesota - Is open and we have lots of stuff there. We stopped in to see how our things looked and were impressed with the amount of merchandise they have. A great place to spend an afternoon.
Litte Falls Arts and Crafts Show - Set up the tent in the rain! Prepared the booth for rain by placing plastic tarps over the top of the tent. Rains stopped and did not return on Saturday as expected. Then it got warm. Tarps still on roof of tent producing a lovely sauna effect in the tent. Fortunately, there were cooling breezes on occasion so we were hot, but not melting - much. The crowd was down from last year. Vendors down as well, but over 100 new vendors which should make shoppers happy. We had a great show, sold lots of stuff, and happily greeted former customers and had some great chats. We especially loved that one of our customers bought us a piece of fabric which we did not think was available any longer. She found some in a fabric store, bought it and gave it to us with a request that we make one bag for her and we could have the rest! How great is that?
This week we sew to fill the gaps in our inventory, and hit the road on Thursday for a show in Wisconsin Dells that is expected to draw 100,000 people. Should be fun.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Wyoming is windy! A huge gust hit the truck and blew us into the other lane. It sounded like we'd been hit with a brick. Luckily, no cars in the other lane!
We went through a maze of construction to get to our motel, only to find that part of it is also under construction. Just the lobby - everything else is new and lovely - Days Inn.
Georgia is knocked out on Nyquil. My book is finished. Turned TV off so she could sleep. Just me and the laptop.
We'll be in Minnesota tomorrow night after a long driving day. We'll post some pictures and show you some of our new fabric finds.
We stopped in several towns along the way, looking for quilt shops, but nothing was open due to the Labor Day holiday. Even the Dairy Queen we stopped at (Georgia, who does not have regular access to Dairy Queen said, "The first Dairy Queen we see, we're stoppin'.") had shut down half if its operation, limiting selections to ice cream only, no food!
Nancy phones us while we're driving and reports on Etsy sales, interesting convos with potential customers, and to chat.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Today is inventory day. Susan is just trying to stay out of the way, as Georgia has a plan and a system. Inventory day, is a tough day.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The Classic Tote is Georgia's design.
When she was unable to find a purse that had the features she really wanted, she decided to make one. She experimented with the size, straps, pockets, closure and the Classic Tote we carry in our inventory is the result of her efforts.
Our classic tote:
- has an 8" wide and 3" deep base
- is 11" wide at the top, 11" high
- closes with a magnetic snap
- has 2 long shoulder straps
- has 3 interior pockets
- has a key holder
The fabric choice, carefully chosen coordinating lining and use of ribbons and piping make each Classic Tote unique.
Check our shop www.bagitdesigns.etsy.com Enter "Classic Tote Bag" in the search box to see what's currently available. Check back often as we are always adding new items.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Here's what Susan made on Sunday!
2 Mother Load Bags - lively black plaid accented by cute pigs - plus
matching coffee cuff, business card holder, kleenex holder, and notepad holder. All but the kleenex holder have been listed on Etsy.
Search under Piggies and Plaid in our shop, bagitdesings.etsy.com. My camera battery was low, so will recharge it and get the tissue holder listed tomorrow.
We'll have about 6 of each accessory item in our inventory. I've used all of this fabric, so once these sell, that's it!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
This photo is from last September at the Little Falls, Minnesota Arts and Crafts Show.
The usual set up is for a 10 x 10 foot space. We use a pop up canopy tent. We connect sections of grid wall to form the sides and back of the booth with a system of velcro straps and cable ties to secure the sections. We have zip on panels for the sides, back and front which we can drop down for protection from the elements, but nothing about the tent is waterproof. We have some tarps that can go over the top and drop down to cover the sides and we have some awnings. And we pray for no rain.
We love our Little Falls location (right in front of Curves which we find hilarious) because we have not had anyone occupy the space right next to us. That allows us to hang bags on the outside wall giving us lots more display room.
We have lots of hanging racks and baskets and each time we set up it turns out a little different from the time before.
The set up and tear down are hard physical work. We have to unload from the back of the truck and carry everything to the designated booth space. Sometimes we are able to park very near to our booth, but other times we use a hand truck to haul things in.
Last year we did the Cranberry Festival in Wisconsin. We got into town after dark and decided to drive in just to see where we'd be and what the parking was like. The set up was to be the following day. We were quite surprised to see many, many tents already set up. We got a parking spot on the street and walked, carrying our flashlight, across the school yard and found our booth space. We knew we'd have to use the hand truck the next day, and decided to come earlier than we'd planned. As we were getting into the truck to head for our motel, another vendor expressed surprise that we were leaving and suggested that we should take advantage of the parking place we had and warned that by the next day we might have to wait in line for a parking space or walk even further to cart things in. So, we did our set up in the dark with the light of one flashlight. There were a few others doing the same thing when we started, but pretty soon, we were the only folks left. The streets were blocked off and only vendors could get in and the police and volunteers provided security.
After we'd been working for awhile I noticed a church about a block away with a huge neon cross at the top of the traditional tall pointed steeple. I said to Georgia, "This could be a country western song (then singing) I set up my booth 'neath the light of the neon cross."
It was a funny night - me holding the flashlight under my arm, and then forgetting I actually had it when Georgia would ask me a question and I would turn and flash her in the face interrogation style. We won't be back at the Cranberry Festival this year. It's a fun show, but it opens at 6:00 a.m. every morning, and that is just WRONG! We were exhausted.
The weather is a huge factor for vendors at outdoor shows. Georgia and Nancy did two shows this summer in California where it was over 100 degrees. That gets dangerous. We've agreed to forfeit our entry fee if the forecast predicts temperatures over 90 degrees.
So, for those of you who wonder what it's like to do Arts and Crafts Shows - it's hard physical work with lots of unpredictable variables. We have a lot of laughs, however, and we enjoy meeting and talking with our customers.
This little bag, 4 1/2" square, is our best selling product. We make it in hundreds of different fabrics and it makes a great little gift with a huge impact when it's the perfect thing for a gal that's "into" something. It's a great size for a coin purse or cosmetics. Some customers use it for their cell phones or cameras (please measure). Others use it for their stack of credit cards. We've had customers buy them as the holder for a gift card - two gifts in one.
You can see some of the fabric choices at our Etsy shop: www.bagitdesigns.etsy.com and use the search word "small bagette" in the search box. We have many more available in our booth at craft shows. Please convo us through Etsy if you are looking for a special theme or color and we can tell you if we have it.
The medium bagette is a larger version and you can search for that as well.
We're very busy now finishing up our sewing for the upcoming craft shows. We will be sewing
between shows as well to meet the demand.
Have a great weekend. For our Minnesota customers - get to the State Fair and eat something on a stick!
OUR BEST SELLING BAG IN OUR BEST SELLING FABRIC!
We love our Bitch fabric, and judging by the amount we sell, so do our customers. Whether a noun or a verb, all gals seem to relate! You either are one or you know how to do it! We tell our customers that BITCH stands for Babe In Total Control of Herself, and what's wrong with that?
We have lots of this fabric and we've used it in all of our products. We love it when gal groups on a shopping get away come into our booth, spot a bitch item, and we hear the cry, "Hey, look at this, isn't it just perfect for . . . . .?" (fill in a name here, doesn't matter, it's always the gal who didn't get to come along on the trip). We've sold quite a few items for moms to give to their teenage daughters!
Please visit our Etsy shop at www.bagitdesigns.etsy.com and once in the shop type in the keyword "Bitch" in the search box and you'll see what's available. Keep in mind, not everything we have is on Etsy, so if you want to order something just send us a convo and we'll be happy to arrange a special order. We know we'll get the question, so just to save time, NO, we do not sell the Bitch fabric (or any other of our stash) by the yard. We sell only finished products.
Friday, August 28, 2009
It's been a while since we've had a family photo! But, there we are, Georgia, Nancy and Susan and our brother , Dave. We don't discuss who's oldest or when this picture was taken - guarded family secret - but let's say, "it wasn't yesterday." We are vintage.
Dave is quite creative and you can see his beautiful creations at:
If you love all things vintage, you'll be amazed at Dave's recreation of the teardrop campers from the forties.
The "we" in Bag-It Designs are three sisters, Georgia, Nancy and Susan. We have three studios, two in northern California and one in southern Minnesota, where we create over 20 different products from hundreds of different fabrics. Our products are handbags, purses, totes and accessories from novelty prints and designer fabrics. We use our original designs and carefully choose coordinating linings to create bags that are fun, functional, and unique.
Georgia made her first bag as a direct response to finding exactly what she wanted in a purse. She knew the features that were important to her: pockets, key holder, just right size, pretty fabric - and experimented with designs until she got it right. Friends saw her bag and it wasn't long until she was "in the business."
Nancy, who lives in close proximity, joined Georgia making totes, accessories and hitting the road for many craft shows in California and Nevada.
Susan, who lives in Minnesota, came on board as a result of a visit with Georgia where she noticed the large pile of scrap fabric that Georgia was intending to donate to a local quilting group. (Once a tote bag is cut, there are good-sized pieces left over, but not large enough for another bag.) Susan asked to have some of the scraps and asked for a delay on the donation while she figured out what do do with the scraps. She had lots of ideas! (Georgia would say, "That's when all hell broke loose!") We now have over 20 products.
In March, 2009, we joined Etsy. Etsy is an online marketing site where only handcrafted items are sold. We've found it to be a great way to have an on-line presence. It's reasonably priced, easy to set up, easy to maintain, and we're having a lot of fun as part of the Etsy community. You can view our shop at www.bagitdesigns.etsy.com and we encourage you to check back often as we are always adding new items.
We start our midwest craft show tour on September 2 at the Calico Barn in Osseo, Minnesota. This is a large boutique with many vendors and is a great place to shop for seasonal gifts and decorating items. Susan is flying out to California on September 4 to join Georgia for the 3-plus days road trip back to Minnesota (in a fully loaded pick up truck) for our show in Little Falls, Minnesota on Septermber 12 and 13. We will blog from the road and keep you updated on our travels. We hit a lot of quilt shops and fabric stores along the way and we'll share our great finds. We sometimes listen to audio books and if we find some good ones, we'll report on them. We sometimes find great restaurants (most times not . . . .) and we'll let you know about those as well.
Check our Etsy shop for our complete show schedule.