Posts tagged Purse

Giveaway & Interview: Jen Lewis – Purse & Clutch Founder

jen-lewis-purse-and-clutch-austin-texasPurse & Clutch is an Austin based Fair Trade Handbag Boutique that partners with artisans around the world who create their products with an emphasis on craft & quality. Purse & Clutch is committed to a set of ethical principles. Their artisans are treated with respect and are paid a living wage for their region.

ADORABLE – All of their handbags are made of high quality, handmade organic fabrics & recycled materials when possible.

AFFORDABLE – Everything in their shop is under $150.

RESPONSIBLE – On average, every $200 spent in their shop employs an artisan full time for a month!

We are so happy to have Jen Lewis on the blog today to answer some questions about Purse & Clutch! Thank you for joining us today.

Tell us how Purse & Clutch was born.
About 4 years ago, I was working at a local non-profit trying to create sustainable jobs for the homeless community of Austin. I kept wanting to make the “non-profit” model fit into my business brain. And it just didn’t. I had the mindset that to help others with my vocation, it had to be non-profit work.

At the same time, a good friend of mine from grad school had just moved to India and told me about the organization she was working with that was creating jobs for talented artisans groups by designing and creating textiles and women’s accessories and selling them in the States. The business side really drew me in – I loved the idea that I could use the way my brain naturally worked to help connect resources with needs.

I asked how I could help and she said she would send me a box of handbags for me to sell online since they didn’t have anyone selling online at the time. I figured that if it didn’t go well, at least my $500 investment was going towards a good cause!

I snagged a website and a name and was up and running in a few months when the first shipment arrived. And then I proceeded to frantically read every article I could find online on how to run an e-commerce business!

I quickly realized that there was a niche for my product – that people did want to shop ethically and didn’t want to sacrifice their personal sense of style to do so. At the time, the term “fair trade fashion” didn’t really exist! There was either Fair Trade or Fashion.

As I learned more about supply chains management, I realized that I needed to carry more than just products from one artisan group both to offer more variety to shoppers and to make sure that I had products in stock even if a shipment was delayed in route from India.

Now, we’re currently working with about 10 artisan groups from all over the world and work to curate seasonal collections of handbags that are set apart by their sense of design. We carry hand woven cotton that is block printed by hand and stitched together at a center for abused women in India, raw organically tanned goal leather bags from Afghanistan that are designed in Germany, and recycled Mayan blouses repurposed into stunning clutches from Guatemala to name a few.

How do you locate artisans to work with that meet your company’s set of ethical principles?
We always work with existing artisan groups, usually that are under the umbrella of an organization that can guarantee that our set of ethical principles are being met. Some are larger Fair Trade Certified groups while others are a small wing of developmental Non-Profit groups with a heart for sustainable development. I have a robust network here in Austin of travelers who are always looking to connect P&C with new artisan groups they discover who are doing good work.

What drew you to selling purses over other wares?
My initial reason to sell handbags was that it feels like more of a necessity to me than other things that many artisan groups have the existing skillset to make. While an extra throw pillow or table runner may be lovely, I know I’m always going to want something to carry my wallet & keys around in everyday!

What are your long term goals for Purse & Clutch?
We’ve actually just launched a new Ethical Style Ambassador program to get more people involved in telling the stories of the fair side of fashion! We’re looking to add 2 – 3 part time, flexible people to the team in the Austin and Denver areas. This program came out of our Apprenticeship Program that I facilitate twice a year and I hope to continue to empower Apprentices to create a job for themselves at Purse & Clutch.

Our reallllly long term vision for Purse & Clutch is to change the culture around fast fashion and to eradicate the use of sweatshops entirely!

What is your favorite styling tip?
This summer I’m obsessed with mixing neutrals with tons of textural details. Think interesting pleats, loose knits, and embroidered hems in a similar color story. Having 4 or 5 pieces that you absolutely love that can be interchanged makes getting ready in the morning so easy!

We are so glad to have you here today Jen! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.

Purse-and-Clutch-Triangles-Clutch

We are super excited to be giving away this Indigo Clutch from Purse & Clutch’s newest line! We think it adds a geometric pop of interest to any outfit.

Please enter to win the Indigo Clutch by using the giveaway interface below. You can enter once a day with the Facebook and Twitter entry options, so come back and enter again to raise your chances of winning! Contest ends at Midnight CST on Sunday, July 26th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends July 26th at 11:59 PM CST. Open to Residents of the US only. Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. Our opinions are our own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to thinkliz.com and thinkliz.com alone. We do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

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A Diana Hobo Diaper Bag

I haven’t had much time to sit down in front of my sewing machine lately. At least, not as much as I would like. I have one project I would like to finish and two I would like to start. Sadly, I think they may have to wait until the next sewing retreat. Sewing machines just don’t transport to the playground the way a sock and knitting needles do.

But I did grab a moment to sew up one of my Diana Hobo bags as a diaper bag for a good friend expecting her first little one. The fabric is Amy Butler’s Nigella, Starflower Tiles in Spinach here. I hope she enjoys it!

Diana Hobo Diaper Bag

noodlehead clutch

First of all, Happy 4th to all of you. I hope you are doing something relaxing and fun as we reflect on the birth of our nation and what it means to us.

At the last Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day the way to gain entry into my giveaway was to tell me a favorite recipe or favorite free pattern or tutorial and I believe that the most common favorite sewing pattern was Noodlehead’s Gathered Clutch! Now this pattern has been on my radar for awhile. I mean, c’mon, it’s super cute, simple to put together, requires very little fabric and yet would be a perfect gift! So, at the last Sewcial, I finally took the time to sew one of these little clutches up.

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch

Of course I had to use some scraps of some of my favorite fabrics. You might remember seeing them in a new mama set awhile back and I held onto the scraps of Patricia Bravo’s Paradise – Pond in Twilight and Oval Elements in Green Apple. I just adore them together. I mean, look at this fabric:

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch

It reminds me a little bit of paint by number. But better.

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch

The inside has some spots for the essential cards and a little more. And just to give an idea of the size of this little clutch:

Noodlehead Gathered Clutch

It is great for a little date night, but maybe not an everyday purse (although your ‘everyday’ may look quite different than mine!). I think it could be a great little wallet as well – just add extra card pockets. All in all a great little sew – would be a great gift.

12 Days of Handmade Holidays Giveaway: Day 5

::Comments are closed.::

Have I ever mentioned that I have a twin? Well, not a real twin, but a blog twin. It’s funny how the blog world brings people together that otherwise would never meet. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how we ended up following each other’s blogs! We have strikingly similar interests and sons that are just a couple months apart. Needless to say, having little boys about the same age brings our worlds very close. Monica blogs over at Deliberately Domestic and has a fun etsy shop where she sells some of her handmade goods!

And for the giveaway part of this post? Monica graciously donated a fun little snap clutch purse for one of you readers to win! I love the fun pleats and great floral print.

Twelve Days of Handmade Holidays

I’m completely feeling this purse as a date night purse. Just the essentials in the bag and go! Perfect!

Twelve Days of Handmade Holidays

No baby items necessary in this purse!

So how do you enter for Day 5? Three different ways:

  • Scadaddle right on over to Monica’s shop and tell me your favorite item or an item you would love to give to someone special in your life.
  • Reblog the giveaway and leave me a separate comment with the link.
  • Subscribe to my blog via RSS Reader or e-mail and leave me another separate comment saying you subscribed (top left corner of the blog) or tell me that you already subscribe.

What are you waiting for? Enter now because this giveaway will end on Friday, December 10th at 10pm. This item will only be shipped to a winner within the US.

Good luck!

Many many Diana Hobo Purses

If you ever wondered what I did with my time during Jude’s naps, this should give you a hint. I made eight of these purses last week to try and get some inventory in my etsy shop (there were two of the black Ring Dot purses – one had a blue interior, the other, golden yellow – it seemed redundant to show you two of the same) ! Three of them were spoken for before they were even made, but the rest are up for grabs! Oh and there are a couple of slings in there too. I had to share them – I like the way they turned out. 🙂

Diana Hobo Diana Hobo Diana Hobo Diana Hobo Diana Hobo Diana Hobo Diana Hobo Reversible Padded Baby Sling Reversible Padded Baby Sling

Now that I’ve got some shop sewing out of the way, stay tuned for some fun, silly sewing!

sewing, sewing, sewing

Lots of sewing happening around here, a few custom orders and a few bags sewn up to list in the shop.

I had a hard time listing this one, I kinda want to keep it. Still. Don’t be surprised if it disappears from the shop. The fabric is Erin McMorris Wildwood Collection – Checked Floral in Green.

Diana Hobo Purse

Another one I had a hard time listing. This fabric is Michael Miller Brown Disco Dots. Why do these fabrics have to be so beautiful?

Diana Hobo Purse

And I didn’t even get to blog about this purse before it sold! The fabric is Michael Miller Yellow Best Friend Summer Soiree. I made two, one was a gift for a friend’s birthday . . . and the other was sold in the shop. Hooray for making sales to people I don’t even know!

Diana Hobo

And another custom order New Mama Survival Kit in Valori Wells Del Hi, Tango – Ruby and Flora – Blossom. Fun, bright fabrics for a sweet little girl and her mom. 🙂

Custom New Mama Survival Kit Custom New Mama Survival Kit Custom New Mama Survival Kit

Custom New Mama Survival Kit Custom New Mama Survival Kit

Can I just say that I love getting to play with such great fabrics?

I have a custom order that I’m almost finished with that I’m so excited about! It is turning out fantastic – another fabric set that I am so thrilled with. And I do have some sewing going on that is for me (well, Jude actually) and I’ll be sharing that soon.

Phoebe Bag

I don’t want you guys to think I’m not sewing! I am! And I have some great projects that I’m going to be starting soon…. I mean, Christmas sewing is starting now!

I whipped up this little beauty as a gift for my mother-in-law’s birthday. The clarity of writing in this pattern is fantastic although I think it helps to have sewn a few purses already to understand where the steps are taking you. Best of all, this pattern is free from artsycraftybabe! Click here for the free PDF pattern for the Phoebe Bag.

I really like that this bag fits perfectly under your arm when you wear it on your shoulder and I think it’s a good medium sized purse, just perfect to carry what you need, but not big enough that things get lost. The thing I would do differently if I made this again… I think it might be nice to add a zipper to the opening in addition to the flap and magnetic snap. Overall a fun little sewing project! I hope she likes it!

Fat Quarter Totes

I whipped up a three fat quarter tote bags as gifts this past Sunday and I thought they turned out really cute! It’s a free pattern that you can find at Cicada Daydreams. It’s about the perfect size to be a lunch tote. I love that the instructions show you how to utilize the entire fat quarter – almost nothing goes to waste! I used a cotton canvas fabric that I’ve used before in several different projects that is from Ikea (but I don’t think they have this print any longer). I really like that the lining sticks up above the exterior just a bit to peek out and show the color that matches the bottom panel. If I make this again, I would probably add some pockets, either on the outside or the inside, but I think that may be the one thing that’s lacking. . .

Tote Bag Lunch Time

Super fun lunch today! I met with my ‘Little Sister’, Amy (through Big Brothers, Big Sisters) and I taught her a bit about sewing. We sewed this great little tote bag that she is modeling below:

She’s going to be the talk of the school when they all find out that she sewed that nifty little bag! We didn’t follow any pattern, just sewed together the rectangles, made handles and put it all together. She did such a great job picking up how to sew in a straight line, I’m pretty sure we’ll have to do another little sewing project soon! Way to go Amy!

Diana Hobo – Free Pattern

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Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if I could do a ‘free pattern Friday’ every Friday?

So Anna Maria Horner just released a new purse pattern that reminds me a lot of my new free pattern just without straps! I thought I’d show it to y’all because it seems easy enough to make a few small modifications to my pattern to emulate her new clutch!

So remember this purse and my promise to give you a free pattern?

Diana Hobo Bag

Download the Pattern on 11×17 Format

Download the Pattern on 8.5×11 Format

If/when you do make a bag from my pattern, please post it in the flickr group! http://www.flickr.com/groups/dianahobo/

Diana Hobo

Also this should go without being said but I’ll say it anyways: please do not sell items made from this free pattern and do not claim it as your own design!