It’s spring time, and for a lot of us, that means spring cleaning. For me, it’s also meant some goal-oriented purging.
I started on this hand-made journey about two years ago, with only a pair of jeans, a box full of second-hand quilting scraps, and my trusty old sewing machine. The picture above is the first type of bag I made. It’s what got me started.
What began as a fun project, making a new bag for myself (I LOVE purses!), ended up starting a flurry of special requests from friends to make bags for them. They donated the pair of pants, I made them a bag. I had fun, they loved having a new and unique bag. It was a great arrangement.
Then those friends of mine convinced me that I needed to start making my bags to sell. I figured, why not? Problem was, I didn’t have any more jeans to make bags out of. So I put out a request to all of my Facebook friends who lived locally, and before I knew it, I had a very nice pile of second hand jeans just waiting to be converted into bags.
One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had an entire line of denim goodies and an Etsy shop called Hand-Me-Down Designs:
The list kept growing.
Then I started making pencil cases and mustache wallets:
These two particular items started selling like crazy!
The trouble I was beginning to face, though, was that, when using hand-me-downs, there are only so many pieces I can cut from one pair of pants. Case in point…that fabulous Lumberjack Mustache wallet…it was my top seller, until I ran out of fabric. Now I can’t find quite the right print ANYWHERE! So sad…no more lumberjack plaid. 😦
I also started learning the advantages of being able to reproduce and relist items. So I decided to start using some new materials. I was able to make and sells DOZENS of my Sophisticated Pinstripe Mustache wallets during the holiday season because I was using material that I purchased by the yard and could get more of.
These past two months have been pretty slow on Etsy for me…for a lot of folks…and I’ve been using the time considering my long term plan for my shop. Where do I want to see myself in 1 year, 5 years, even 10 years down the road? What’s it gonna take to get there?
I’ve had a year and a half of “trying things out,” and it’s time to focus, set a direction, and pursue it. For me, this means going from Hand-Me-Down Designs, to HMDDesigns. All the best things about my products are staying, like the quality craftsmanship, fun designs, and personal touches. But the hand-me-downs have to go.
I admit, it’s a little sad…but any good story has chapters, and the one about denim creations is coming to a close.
I’m really looking forward to the next chapter, though. I’ve got some big plans, and they start with a notebook cover…