Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Website, New Features


Backpack in Dark Gray Canvas with Chestnut Brown Trim

This is the most popular canvas Backpack color combination that has sold in my shop to date.  You've never seen this bag offered in my shop.   How is this so?!

My customers love being involved in the design process of a bag.  Over the years, I've experienced the most positive feedback from a customer when she has been through the back and forth of deciding between colors and swatches and then finally making her decision to customize her bag to reflect her personality and mood through custom colors.

Not every customer knew I offered these kinds of customizations, so now I'm making it front and center on my new website!  I spent a few weeks developing my new website and added a Custom Collection where you can see what colors are available for customizing your Jenny N. bag.  Customize the canvas, leather, and hardware color.  And for some bag styles, you'll notice a Monogram option, too!

I know, I know, too much good at once.  




My Classic Collection, my top-selling bags, consists of bags that are in stock and ready to ship within 3-5 business days!  These are discounted compared to the Custom Collection!  Every once in a while, I'll make a bag in a cute color that won't always be a staple in the Classic Collection, but will have that discounted price because its ready to ship. After it sells, it'll be back in the Custom Collection.  So grab those when you catch them --they won't be there for long!

What else, what else? 

Faster turnaround times.  Because I'll be focusing on stocking up on my Classics, you'll be able to procrastinate on the gifting a little bit (unlike the 2-week turnaround you experienced before for these bags).

$10 Flat Rate Shipping for US orders over $100.  Orders under $100 ship for $6, and everything over that is a flat rate of $10.

Ruche, reverted back to her original style with a zippered top! Omg!

She's cray cray, you may be thinking.  I'm too excited about the sunny weather.  Pittsburgh can do that to you.  But I sort of can't help it...

....is what I always say.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Re-Introducing: The Foldover Clutch



I've been getting a lot of requests to bring back the Foldover Clutch.  I take names, you know.  Once I build up enough interest for a particular design, I start sketching!
  

I wanted to keep my lines simple, in keeping with my "back-to-basics" style I've been adhering to lately  (i.e. ToteWristlet).



I wanted to break down this design to an almost utilitarian piece with one exterior pocket for easy access to a cell phone.  I have been religiously using my Monogram Tote and Apprentice Messenger because the exterior zippered pocket on the back perfectly fits my car key and phone, so when the pocket is facing my body,  I always know when I get a notification or call (I'm like, glued to my phone. It could be good or bad.  Apparently customers love my super-fast response times to emails.  I'll say it's good.).

I definitely wanted to add an easily accessible pocket to the back of this clutch!



Here she is!  The re-designed Foldover Clutch.



This clutch has a super-skinny strap that's perfect for comfortably wearing crossbody without slipping.  The strap can be doubled over to wear like a short shoulder bag.  Or wear it strapless!

This is the only bag that has an adjustable strap that does not have that metal slider you've seen in all of my bags.  I wanted to keep this bag feather-light and super easy to convert from crossbody to shoulder bag.

I can wear this around my waist like a fanny pack.  Bonus points!



This new bag really brings attention to the quality of the materials I'm using.  I've really invested a lot of time and effort (and money) to source the best materials, and that has really inspired my design aesthetic (i.e. I've been keeping the design simple because I just absolutely love the look of the leathers, water resistant canvases, and super-smooth-slide-action YKK zippers!).

If you've been shopping with me for the past 6 years, you've probably seen and felt the difference in the material (and construction) quality over the years.  I'm really proud of myself! :) :)



I hope you love this bag!  I think it's the perfect accessory to add to your spring and summer wardrobe.

Love,
Jenny

p.s. My husband, Shay took these photos, and I have to say, he has become a great photographer for my shop (despite taking quite a while to get the perfect shot)! :)  In the last photo, he decided to zoom out and have evidence of what I do while I'm modeling bags.  In my defense, I'm probably answering a customer question, so I'm clearly multitasking with work!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Introducing: The Monogram Tote



With spring just around the corner (it's been long overdue for Pittsburgh; I realize it's spring everywhere else in the US), I've been in cleaning mode.  While my design aesthetic highly favors simplicity, my every day life has been feeling a bit... abundant. (Excessive, to be exact.)



Over the nearly six years of running my business, I've added on more and more design elements to each silhouette, straying away from my original simple design aesthetic.

My everyday life started to adopt a similar regime.  I'd buy one pair of shoes, then love them so much, I'd go back and buy a couple more pairs in different colors. I did the same thing with beans (I know, weird).  I got on this kick about adding lentils and beans to my cooking;  I started with dried black beans, then all of a sudden I had to make room in our pantry for navy beans, kidney beans, and all sorts of different lentils because of my new found addiction of perusing the bulk food aisle at the grocery store paired with my ever-growing collection of hermetic glass jars. Did you know that our tiny studio apartment doesn't actually have a pantry but I commandeered our coat closet for pantry use? (Who needs a coat closet? Oh wait, we did. Thanks, Polar Vortices of Winter 2014.)



My husband says I need to "reduce my footprint".

Translation: I need to get rid of a bunch of redundancy in my life so that if we have to move somewhere after he graduates from school, he won't have a heart attack (like every move he's experienced with me) because I have so. much. stuff.



Enter: The Monogram Tote.

I am a no-frills designer who makes quality bags lightweight because I omit all the fluffy stuff that makes them heavy (unnecessary hardware, compartments, and nonfunctional elements).  I strayed a bit.  I'm coming back now. This bag is my first step to paring down to the core of Jenny N.  Spring cleaning, you could say.

Actually, this is my second step.  The first was the Wristlet.  I digress.



This Tote encompasses every reason I started my business in 2008:  To bring well-designed, hand made, highly functional bags, with a timeless aesthetic into the market.

No interior pockets (Hi, I'm Jenny, and I never use the pockets I sew inside my own bags.), just a metal bolt snap to clip keys or small pouches (i.e. Wristlet!).  One small zippered pocket on the front to hold a cell phone and lip gloss.  Sturdy bottom to minimize sagging.  Super spacious.

To address the hundreds of hundreds of requests (would that be thousands?) I've received in almost six years, I added a zippered top.

Done, done, and done.

Did I also mention you can monogram this bag?  When you simplify down to an almost purely functional state, there's a fine line between looking generic and branded.  I chose the literal sense of the latter.  :)

I hope you enjoy this lovely piece!

Love,
Jenny

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Looking Back 22 Years

I've told you before:  running a business is not all rainbows and ponies.  Remember the recall?  (I can feel a pit in my stomach just thinking about that.)

This time is no different.  

This February, I started to fall into a slump.  I turned into this annoyingly lazy and unmotivated version of myself that's likely due to the months gloomy skies + freezing temperatures (especially this year!) + burn out after a busy holiday season. 

I was starting to enjoy the sound of my bitching and overall excuse-making after a while.  Then I stopped recognizing myself.   Who was this annoying woman playing victim to her circumstances? 

Well, a quick vacation to visit with my parents kicked me back into gear.  No words necessary.  Just a VHS tape of myself from 1992 was enough to remind me of what I needed to do. 


My brother and I were on the swim team as kids.  I remember my dad waking us up before sunrise every day during the summer (note: all of the other kids are sleeping in late at this time) to get changed to practice for swim practice.  Like, practice in the morning, then go to team practice in the evening.  My sleepy eyes would be stinging on the car ride to the pool.  The sky was still dark.  The first dive into the pool was cold.

This is when I learned dedication, diligence, and discipline.

I don't have to chase the person I'll be 10 years from now; I just have to look back almost 22 years at the invincible girl I used to be (wearing the extremely uncomfortable yellow bathing suit for the divisional championship swim meet to qualify for the city championship meet).

When we're kids, we are invincible.  As we age, we learn to grow content with our circumstances, and start to accept our lame excuses.

No more excuses.

More dedication, diligence, and discipline.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Snowbert



After shoveling the driveway, Hubert and I frolicked through the backyard.   I took pictures.  Of course. :)
 







That is all! :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Gifts: Valentines I Wouldn't Mind



I love being a return customer -- I love knowing I'm going to love what I get.  Like when Shay and I consider venturing out to new restaurants on date night, we often just look at each other and say, "Vietnamese?" and walk to our favorite little Vietnamese spot in our neighborhood.  We know it'll be good, why not?  (It's a combination of seeking guaranteed satisfaction and being lazy, to answer my own question.)

Thus, I went through shops I've purchased from and found a few items I wouldn't mind getting for Valentine's Day. :)  Because I know I'll love them.

Ampersand wood sign, Oh Dier Living
Everyone loves our gold Holla sign.  It sits in our entryway above this bench and tells guests that we're friendly, and just a little bit gangsta.

"Happiness" print, Clare Elsaesser
These three prints hang above our bed.  I actually wrote a post about her prints here.

Lace bracelet in mustard, branchbound
A very similar pair of earrings to these are my go-to pair for making a statement when I'm wearing something understated.  Yeah, I'm always wearing these earrings.

Lychee rose goat's milk soap, Savor
I cannot say more about Savor besides the fact that I come here every couple months to stock up on whipped soaps and body butters.  I've been obsessed with Savor soaps since 2008, when I first joined Etsy. Lychee Rose Creme Fraiche is my favorite, but I'm never disappointed when I venture out and try other scents. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Introducing: The Duffel


Meet the Duffel.  You've been asking me for a larger bag (larger than the Archive, I know!) and I've been taking names and sketching away.

I actually did a little bit of homework to figure out how big I should go.
  

I first thought about all the things my sister in law needs to carry for her toddler son.  She used the Archive Bag when my nephew was a newborn, but toddler's diapers, clothing, and toys are much bigger and need much more space for long afternoons at the park and museum.  Toys, books, diapers, wipes, change of clothes, baby blanket, sippy cups, snacks, and mom's purse essentials plus a cardigan.

I looked through my husband's backpack for school to see what he carries to campus.  Right now, he takes his Backpack to class when he only needs his laptop, a binder with notes, and his essentials.  But he needed a larger bag for his trips to campus on the weekends to study and go to the gym:  2 textbooks, binder, folders, 15" laptop, basketball shoes, change of clothes, and essentials.

  


Then, as a bonus, when I went to my hair stylist to get my hair trimmed and layered (can you tell in the photo?),  and asked her what she carries with her to and from the salon every day.  Blow dryer, straighter, curling irons, a variety of round and flat brushes, a few pairs of scissors, combs, fabric cape, and her purse essentials.

I had gathered enough data to spec out the dimensions of my newest bag.



The Duffel is 3X the volumetric capacity of the Archive bag, which means it will carry a LOT.   Baby stuff, travel stuff, work stuff, school stuff and gym stuff -- it'll handle it.  It has a heavily reinforced bottom to minimize sagging and those metal feet to protect the bag bottom. :)  

Unsnap the sides to create a roomy tote bag for carrying lots of things for long adventures.
 

See more info on the Duffel in my shop.

I'll be adding new colors in the next few weeks, but if you'd rather not wait, message me with what color you would like and I can make one for you! :)

Hope you love it!!

Love,
Jenny

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Out of Focus




Well, December was a busy month!

Thanks to Etsy for making me a featured shop in early December, I was able to stay very busy through the holidays.  Okay, okay.  I got SUPER busy.  I got burnt out a little bit towards the end of the holidays and took a few days off to spend time with family.  Then I was back again, designing and prototyping a new bag for the shop.  Right in the middle of that process, some new fabric came in and I couldn't help but try it on for size.  (You can see what I made here, here, here, and here.)



With all the hyper-focus I experienced filling orders during the holidays, I'm finding it difficult to bring a goal to fruition without getting distracted with something else on my list.  Is this what happens every January when you set a bunch of goals and want to accomplish everything all at once? 

I feel a little like I want to dabble lightly into one thing and then jump to the next without really putting too much effort into it.  Okay.  This is actually my nature.  I'm notorious for starting projects and then ditching them soon after beginning.  I'm going to whip myself back into shape soon.  Swear!  It has been written in stone (on my blog, close enough), which means I have to do it! 

Which brings me to my latest procrastination project:  I did a little makeover on my website.  :)  She's a little simpler and a little classier.  :)



That's all for now.  I'm on to the next project.


If you're wanting more frequent updates on what I'm up to, follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram!  (I'm addicted to posting everything from my phone in real time, which is why it has been difficult for me to sit down, focus, and write a blog post.  Sigh.  The woes of instant gratification.)

Friday, December 6, 2013

ERMG! Featured Shop!


Wristlets in a crate --this is the most of any bag type I've ever stocked in my entire life. Thus, I documented it.

Have you ever noticed that you perform better when you have a bajillion things to do on your list?  Like, somehow, the time-management skills that were dormant your entire life come out and you somehow accomplish everything on your list and still have time to bake a batch of cupcakes, too?

Well.  Here's a story for you.

Freshman year of college.  Second semester.  I had a Calculus and Organic Chemistry midterm scheduled on the SAME DAY and I had the classes back-to-back.  I could have sworn that if that alone wouldn't kill me, the 6:15am Yoga-Pilates Fusion group fitness class I had to teach that morning just before the midterms would just about do it.

Would you have guessed that I was as cool as a cucumber that morning teaching my class (and got compliments on how great the class was?!) and I aced both exams?  I was.  And I did.  (Let it be known it was the first and only time I ever aced anything engineering-related in college.  Just so you know -- I'm not some closet genius or anything.)  I ended up with a B in both classes at the end of the semester, but it just goes to show how you can really unlock some hidden potential when you're under pressure and really driven to exceed.

These past few weeks, I've been feeling a little bit like there has been a bend in the time-space continuum and I have been gifted more hours in a day.

That can't happen.  What has really happened is that I've been able to add more work days into my schedule with a little bit of math.  I've tacked 4 additional work hours onto 2 weekdays per week and dedicate 4 hours each weekend day for work.  And BOOM!  8+12+8+12+8+4+4 = 7 work "days"!    And I still get my weekends.

Somehow, with the added work hours just casually slipped into my week, I have managed to really get ahead in my sewing schedule, keep up with orders, add more inventory, add new inventory, and stock up for Handmade Arcade and still manage to feed my dog and husband three times per day.  Who ate the bacon-wrapped, sausage-stuffed chicken roulade and who ate the dog kibble, I am not sure, but they are both alive and well, thanks to this gal.  Clearly, I have some untapped potential, people!

Feeling a little super woman-ish, I've decided to do this crazy thing:

I've extended my Made to Order Holiday deadline to December 6th!  That's TODAY!  Yeah, I know.  Super cray cray.  Order by 11:59pm EST today and you'll receive your order in time for Christmas.  For.  Real!

Okay, now to the juicy part (it's not that juicy, I spoiled it with the title!):

I'm an ETSY FEATURED SHOP!!!  ERMAGERD!

I've been dreaming of this day since April 17, 2008 --when I first opened shop.  I have worked extremely hard for 5 years to get to where I am today, and I feel so honored that Etsy is appreciating all my hard work with this feature!  :)

When I received the email about my upcoming feature three weeks ago, I called Shay and screamed and squealed and danced for approximately 15 minutes before realizing I needed to reply back to the email letting them know that I was in!  Then, of course, the preparation began for stocking my shop for the feature AND the vendor event the Saturday during the feature.

(I'm pretty sure I was way more giddy after reading that email from Etsy than when Shay proposed.  In my defense:  I have been wanting to be a Featured Shop longer than I've been with Shay.  Just so it's semi-justified.  I cried more with Shay's proposal.  Fair?)

Please enjoy my interview on Etsy!  I'm so happpyyyyyyyy!

Love,
Jenny

p.s. Yes, I just linked to the interview thrice! (How annoying, I know.)
p.p.s. Well, four times, now.  I'm done.