Hangin’ Up the Hand-Me-Downs

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:

checkbook covers

coin purses

tote bags

Little bags


The list kept growing.

Then I started making pencil cases and mustache wallets:

Banana Yellow Pencil Case

Lumberjack Mustache

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…


10 thoughts on “Hangin’ Up the Hand-Me-Downs

  1. It is good to change and grow when the time is right. Love your notebook cover! Your work is lovely!

  2. I very much enjoy reading your posts…I agree, making one of a kind things is hard. When people want you to reproduce them, it is impossible. Keep going, you make nice things! Good Luck with the new ideas. I love the notebook cover! Aimee

  3. Sounds really neat… I love reading your posts! Keep up the good work!

  4. Love the items! Yes sometimes things do have to change.

  5. I think it is wonderful that you are going on to the next chapter. You and your shop are evolving and can only get better! Blessings to you! Love your posts!

  6. Really enjoyed this post! Sounds like you are off to a great new venture!! That is a beautiful book cover.

  7. I love the notebook cover!

  8. Let’s see, I’d love one of those first bags, and the mustache wallet for my husband, and that notebook cover is amazing…..I love it all! Good luck with your new adventure, turning the page – starting a new chapter. I love doing that, starting fresh always makes me happy! Thanks for linking up today!

    • Thanks Amy! And thanks for visiting. I really do love your blog…real words from a real life being lived for the Lord…just what I need to hear most days!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s