Saturday, August 28, 2010

The touch the feel of cotton...

Yes, the fabric of our lives. Those commercial jingles are catchy, my favorite is the one with Zoey Deschanel. Shes an actress in lots of good movies, my favorite being the Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy. Sort of a cult classic and hilarious yet odd. Anyhow..shes also a singer. But anyway the point is, I love cotton. I love all the cute novelty prints and the fact that its machine washable. I just hate the dry cleaners, I mean nothing against them, its just I barely have time to wash my clothes let alone drop them off to pay someone else to do it. I rarely sew in any other fabric but cotton, for that fact and the because its easy to sew in.

So this weekend I started early on Friday, setting out to shop for a long list of supplies since I am now taking on this partnership with a new boutique and I'm just seriously ready to stop horsing around and get down to business. I stopped first at the fabric district in downtown LA, but was (for the second time) mostly disappointed. There's tons of stores that have $1 a yd signs out front but none of those fabrics are the cute novelty cottons I am looking for. Plus its really overwhelming. I thought this being my second time around I had mentally prepared myself much better and even made a list but it didnt help me wade the sea of fabrics and trims. Navigating the fabric district is not for the faint of heart.

You need a good pair of shoes, cash money, a water bottle (gotta stay hydrated) and your best bargain face. I got a 50/50 vibe with the shops there. They either practically run you down to sell u something, or wont give you the time of day if they don't feel your going to spend a lot of moolah. I feel as though I am putting them out to have to ask the price of things. And generally before they tell you the price they always ask you how much you want first. Like Im gonna be like oh gimme the whole bolt. Hey Im not there yet. I have found that the more unorganized the store is, the CHEAPER it is. You do have to work harder to find some good stuff but its worth a little effort to save more $$.

My favorite store is on San Julian just after u turn the corner from ninth. Its across from a parking lot. On google maps it shows as 868 San Julian St. I don't know the name of it, just that they have awesome deals on trim. 4 yards for a dollar on most flat trims. I got a huge handful of zippers assorted sizes and types for $3. I also got a 144 yd bolt of 1/8 inch elastic for $5, and 1/4 wide for $10. That was pretty much where I spent my money for that day. I left early out of frustration. I guess if I had asked around I would have found more of the things I needed, but I also had other things I had to do that day. I plan to head back later this next week with my business partner.

One thing I did do this visit was stop into Michael Levine as I didnt go in there the last trip. Well don't really expect any "wholesale" deals out of this place. They may as well be jo-anns but with a bigger selection. Well I was just being really cheap. I dont typically pay more than $5 a yard for fabric anyway. They do have lots of great fabrics at $5 a yard but I was being really really cheap. :) So today, I woke up excited and made the trek down to OC to visit my favorite fabric store M & L fabrics. If they opened a store in downtown LA they would make a killing. Im sure they do anyway, but these guys put other fabric stores to shame. And it brings me back around to the subject at the start of my post-cotton.

M&L has a huge selection of fabrics, and the store is WELL organized. They have the best selection of designer prints by Kaufman, Henry and Miller. Im not just talking 6 bolts each I mean a whole row thats two bolts deep. I believe the deal with them is that all those fabrics are past season. Probably overstock or what hasnt sold at other stores that they clearanced out. Havent put my finger on it yet but someday I will find out the secret! Because the best part of M&L is the flat folds. I cant even count how many rows of flat folds there are! One thing I was a little disappointed on was that they have raised the price since my last trip (probably over a year ago) from $1.69 a yd to $1.98.

But still even at that price there are some super steals! Again you have to WORK to get those deals. And really have a LOT of time to spend. I was there at least 3 hours this time around and my boyfriend was growing impatient. If you get good at digging through the stacks of flat folds you can find LOTS of Kaufman prints. I have yet to find and Henry or Miller :( But today was especially lucky, I found a lot of good prints. And I even found some Beatles fabric, that previously I had bought at wal mart and they dont carry it anymore. So now I have all this fabric I better get off this blog and start sewing or I will just be sitting under mountains of fabric.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The sewing machine is smoking!

I have been busy cranking out new designs the past few days, hence the lack of posting. Well like you all know how good I am at that anyhow right? ;) Ok So a LOT is about to happen. First I was offered a huge opportunity by a friend of mine to exclusively carry my line in her new boutique set to open by October. (fingers crossed!) And it just gets super better! She also wants me to design a line for her new label! Oh can u say double whammy? Oh but the good kind of whammy. ahahaha

So now the pressure is on, boy do I feel the heat. And yes here in Woodland hills right now that is quite literal. Its been over 105 all week. Ick. So now I am scrambling ideas in my brain trying to figure out what to make for the store and hoping my stuff will be "good enough". Also praying that I (we) will make money because we both are practically throwing it on the line to follow our dreams in doing this. Well, I guess there's no better way is there?

So tomorrow I am heading to the garment district to snag some supplies and get to designing! Ive got tons of ideas and I cant wait to get this party started!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Improvment takes time and a little innovation...

So I have been on etsy about 5 years now. Now granted I have been more of a "hobby" seller by most standards, I have had a good chunk of sales. But not nearly what I'd like to have had considering how many items I have relisted over the last 5 years. Well it is really difficult to do all this self marketing on your own so I wont beat myself up too much over it. I do consider myself very lucky to have even had sales and TONS of hits. I know my items are worthy of going to new homes but why are they still in my store??

Well I know for starters the pictures are a huge part of it. So one thing I did yesterday was build this makeshift white box. It worked out ok for my pouches and wristlets although I still wasn't totally happy with the quality of the photos, but a BIG improvement over some of the pics I had. Here's an example:

So now my store is halfway to being revamped. I edited most of the pouches and I even rearranged my store by color and I think that is a big improvement in itself. It took about 7 hours of work total including the new photography and editing the pics. But Im so happy with the overall result. Now I plan to head to the beach with the rest of my bags and dresses to take live photos of those.
When you get a minute, stop by the shop and tell me what you think!