For those of you who joined us after 2004, you may not know that we started as a purse company. What was that all about, you ask? Well, I was going to be the next Kate Spade and sell my purse company to Neimans for several million. But, alas, when they offered to buy it ;-) , I just wasn't interested in letting my baby go.
Okay, that isn't exactly what happened. I started the business in August of 2001 and attended my first wholesale trade show in October of 2001. You might remember a 'little event' in September of 2001 that disrupted the entire world, including the retail environment. Not a successful show, by any means. Undaunted, I attended four more shows over the course of the next year. Okay, so I'm a slow learner. I eventually switched to selling directly to customers via the web, which is where we had the most success.
[On the left are the original hand-dyed canvases. The bags on the right were our tricked-out grosgrain stripe version.]
Oh the craziness of the purse days. When I first started, I wanted dozens of colors of canvas, which I couldn't find locally and would have to order 50 yard rolls of every color. So I dyed it myself. Crazy? Yes. But not as crazy as when I decided to silkscreen my own fabrics. 3 yards took me virtually all day and of course it would have problem areas, so I might get 12 purse fronts, if I was lucky. My husband did build me a shower/bathtub arrangement to wash the 24" x 36" screens which was as messy as you might imagine. (My landlord was kind of horrified when we moved out of that space.)
[On the left is the Houston bag, our all time best seller, with interchangeable scarves and belts. The bags on the right are hand silk-screened fabrics. Don't ever teach an accountant how to use Illustrator or let them loose with ink.]
And did I mention the evening in January of 2003 that I was using the 5" straight blade cutter to cut out purses and engaged my two left fingers? I thought "engaged" sounded better than cut the holy *#)@*^& out of them. I had to have surgery to reattach the tendons and nerves and had four months of rehabilitation. For real. I can say (with just a little bit of pride) that I can stick straight pins in the side of my first and second finger and I can't feel it until they are about 1/4" in. That comes in handy more than you might realize.
So, yes we sold purses until about mid-2005. So how did this morph into the site we call jcaroline creative? You'll have to wait for the next installment...