Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Shipping Purses, Moving, and Yummy Chocolate Lollipop...

This week is being devoted solely to shipping purses!
I will be a mad woman finishing and shipping orders...BECAUSE....

We will actually, finally be able to move into our house next week!!!!

And just to leave you with some pretty pictures, here's my new purse (after someone used a picture of my old one, I felt like I needed a new one!):

This is small ABIGAIL, I used three fabrics from Anna Maria Horner's Chocolate Lollipop collection. Its actually an older collection, she just released her new fabric collection, Garden Party, but this is a fabric that grows on you. Amy, one of my reps, first introduced me to this collection when she commissioned a bag made using it and some of Amy Butler's Moon Dots, so I've had it for a while, and it finally just won me over and I had to use it in my bag:

So what do you think? The Anna Maria Horner fabrics are more expensive that Amy Butler and Michael Miller, but I'm considering adding some of them to the fabric choices- yes, no, maybe???

GASP! I'm Naming Names!!!

So this is the fourth time this year, that this happened to us, and to be perfectly honest I am just tired of it. Previously, its been our policy to deal with copyright and intellectual property violations privately and as amicably as possible, but apparently its just not working, so I have no problem publicly outing these dishonest sellers.

Here's how it started today: I got this email :

Okay, so I go check it out. The My Space page in question has 9 pictures on it. I recognize one of the pictures as belonging to another purse designer (not me, but also not the person in question), and the last one (the 9th one) is this:

So, hummmm....Look familiar??? I sure think so, since that's not only a purse Hero On My Arm made, it actually my purse, as in me, Seneca, this is the purse I carried around at Ft. Hood for over a year:

Okay, so contact My Space Admin, ask them to please resolve the issue. Then email the person directly, please remove the picture, it's ours, it's a purse we made, its wrong for you to post a picture of it misrepresenting it as your own, thanks for your time, etc. etc. etc.

And this is what I get back:

And then as if that wasn't enough, just one more mean message:

So, obviously I'm not actually going to hand out this dishonest person's name or her website, and I've covered up that information, but if you happen upon her, this is what her profile looks like:

If you know this person, take a minute to let her know that what she's doing is NOT COOL.

Those of us that have been making purses for years and operate our businesses with integrity don't mind if new designers enter the market. Everyone has a different style, a different taste, and can find a designer that suites them. Its a TRUE and GREAT HONOR every time a military spouse entrusts you with their soldier's uniform to create something special. I am gracious for every single customer Hero On My Arm has ever had, and all the customers we will have in the future.

That being said- all you dishonest sellers- PLEASE rethink what you are doing, it is WRONG. There is NO GRAY area, this isn't a designer accusing another of copying a design or a concept (I've NEVER said to anyone "You copied our purses!"), this is about STEALING photos from purse designers and trying to pass them off as your own. It will be my policy from now on, every time that it happens, I will not only document it, I will post it here. It needs to stop.

...Climbing down off my soap box now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Accomplishments for last week and my schedule for this week

I feel like I got a lot accomplished this past week. On the business side of things, we introduced a new product, the HUGS bear, we added font choices and embroidery designs to the website.

On the non-business side, Sophie learned to tell her left from her right (a pretty big accomplishment for a 21 month old, says the proud mom!), we visited some friends over the weekend, had some GREAT food, an even better time, and the girls had a blast playing with two other girls their ages.

The (business) plan for this week is as follows:
Monday: Cut up uniforms for this weeks orders, return phone calls
Tuesday: Wallet and make up bags (My accessories seamstress is out of town, due to a family illness)
Wednesday: Stuff for the Sales Reps
Thursday-Sunday: mail the next 48 purses ready this week (we'll see if I can get them ALL in the mail by Monday)
It actually a pretty full week, so I will stay off the computer (except for checking emails) and check back in a week, see if I got everything done I have planned!

Friday, July 11, 2008

New things

So you never know, when you have a new idea, if it is good one or not. As an entrepreneur, you are always coming up with new ideas. The last really big "new" idea that I had was for themed shopping cart covers, like flowers, baseballs, footballs, etc.

I wouldn't say that they were a flop, but they certainly didn't make me famous, lol.

Now comes my next big "new" idea, the HUGS bear:

We've been making purses from military uniforms for almost 4 years now, so we thought that it was time to add something for the kids as well. I've been working on this for so long now, and really I need to get some better pictures (cause it doesn't quite show in the pic, but they are SUPER cute!), but I have been so anxious to reveal this new project that I just couldn't wait any longer! I even designed my own logo:

I'll probably go back and have this professionally done, but it will do for now.

How did this idea start? Well, most people are familiar with the Daddy Dolls, my oldest daughter Sydney even has one. But my youngest daughter, Sophie, was only 3 weeks old when my husband left for Iraq this last time, so the Daddy Doll wasn't something that she really associated with. But she does have a special teddy bear (in fact, she's sleeping with it right now). So somewhere, some how, the two things sort of just merged in my head- a deployment doll and a teddy bear!

Then a mad dash to see if someone else had already thought of it (which I haven't found), and then the real work started- actually designing the bear! I wrestled with plastic eyes and noses forever, before I finally decided that if they ever came off, they'd be a chocking hazard anyway, and so embroidered eyes and noses were best. The final version is bear #6, and our testers have had them for about 4 weeks now, they've been washed, loved, beat up and generally well broken in, so we felt like it was okay to finally introduce them.

I am so anxious to see what everyone thinks? Are they the next "must have" or will they be a flop? You just never know, and that's the exciting part. I suppose if poor copies start popping up on MySpace and Craigslist, then I'll know they are a hit. After all, if they are good enough to copy, they must be a success.

We'll see....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Small things, Random things...

On Sunday, while trying to adjust the tension on the bobbin case of my embroidery machine, I loosened the screw a teensy bit too much, and it fell out. Well, it is SUPER tiny, see?

(Totally just grabbed this picture off Google, I was too lazy to take one myself!)

I looked and looked, but it was lost! So I wasn't able to run the embroidery machine for 3 days! I'm a little behind now, but I was able to get a replacement screw today and am back in business. Note to all you sewers out there: Next time you are at the sewing shop, consider picking up a spare one of these. They cost about $1, and its really good to have an extra one, just in case!
My husband's birthday is just over 3 weeks away, and I was able to get him a really great present this year, and I am super excited! Plus, its killing him not knowing what it is. I won't say, just in case (out of desperation) he actually reads this (he usually doesn't, but you can't be too careful!).

My birthday is exactly one week after his, and this is what I want:

to replace my iphone that I broke (I know, sigh). It still works when its plugged into the computer, but there's a dent at the top, where the OFF button is, and it tends to turn off and not turn back on. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a cell phone if it only works when you are at home, lol.

I also got to talk with another purse maker on Monday- thanks so much for the call, it was good to chat and "clear the air" so to speak.

And in one last bit of random news for the day, the actress from Top Gun had a birthday today (I heard it on the radio). I was only seven when this movie came out, but weren't 80's movies the best??? Before Tom Crusie went all wacky, and when a movie could be cheesy and cool at the same time...

I just remember she was SO gorgeous!!

I didn't end up with a naval aviator, but my price charming is a sailor turned army aviator...eh, close enough for me!!

Goodnight all...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pictures from the 4th

Just thought I'd share some pictures from yesterday. There was a brief thunderstorm, and it was quite humid, but we had a good time. If you don't know, we were at the Freedom Fest at Ft. Rucker! This is Sydney and Sophie posing in front on a static display of an Apache helicopter. We took about 5 pictures, but couldn't get them both to look the same direction at the same time:

Sydney wanted to wear a hat that matched her skirt (and to keep the rain away), so she borrowed one of her daddy's hats:

Sophie sitting in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter. This is her camera pose:

This is Sydney and her friend, with some glasses they were passing out. They looked like 3-D glasses, but they were clear, I'm not sure what they were for, lol:

This was right before the fireworks started.

The fireworks were great (except that they spelled USA backwards, A-S-U), and a good time was had by all.

I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday as well. And to everyone with a deployed soldier, I hope that they return safely and soon.


Fit For A Princess...

Our builder was kind enough to let me paint a mural in the girls' room now, before we move in. Since it was a four day weekend, Steven watched the girls and I went to paint!

I'm not good enough to free hand onto the wall (its 8 1/2 feet by 13 feet!), so I had to draw it out on paper first:

I didn't bring my camera, so these pictures are from my iphone, so I had to take several, I couldn't get everything in one picture:

So, there it is! Exactly how Sydney requested- she hasn't seen it yet, I can hardly wait to show it to her. What do you think???

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Haircut!

We took Sydney to get her very first haircut yesterday. Here she is sitting in the chair:

She concentrated very hard on staying still.

Getting styled.

The final result:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

Designing (whether it be purses or clothes or anything else) is a process. It usually gets better after many revisions. Here is Sydney modeling my flag heart design tee, July 2005:

The proportion on the star fabric and the stripes is a little to large, and this is before I really learned how to make twirl skirts. Here she is modeling the same outfit, July 2006.

I actually really like the rick rack, but it did not wash well. I had stopped designing clothes to focus on purses last year, so there's no picture for July 07, but here is July 08:

The proportion is better on the stars and stripes, and I really favor the simple design. The girls will be wearing these this year, so I'll post a picture of them at the end of the week. I'll be adding this design to the website, in case anyone's interested.

I thought you might enjoy seeing what's behind a design. When you see a product added on the website, its not just something we saw somewhere else, or even something with just thought up, made once, took a picture and then put up for sale. There's a story, a design process, revisions, testing and solicited feedback that goes into each item, before we ever offer it for sale. That way we know our customers will be happy with the product they receive.

Hope everyone has a good 4th of July!

When life gives you lemons....


I know its cheesy, but its really true. My 4 year old helped me remember this one today. Our household goods have been in storage for almost 6 months now, and seems like everyday, Sydney remembers one of her toys that she doesn't have with her now. Last week it was her toy shopping cart, today it was her dollhouse. But instead of complaining, she proceeded to just make a new one:

She played with this for hours today, and was so PROUD of her handiwork. I just love how creative she is already. She is getting her first haircut tomorrow, so that is why we bought her all the little hair clips, lol!

This is a little boys lounge set that went out yesterday. I am without my serger (household goods, again), so I had to use french seams- more time consuming, but the final product has a more boutique quality that way.

And not to be outdone, while I had the camera out, my youngest had to get in on the action. Her curls are finally starting to grow!

How can you not just love that face?