February 4, 2012

Let's Try This Again...

Well I guess it is a good thing that I have been soooo busy sewing that I don't have time to keep up my blog...right?  So much has changed since that last post in 2010 I don't know where to start!  No need to re-hash what is in the past so let's just jump right in to January 2012...need to set some goals to get this business moving!

But first I must bring you up to date on the major goals I accomplished in 2011.  Always good to cross stuff off of the list.  My most favorite of all is the design of my logo and branding package for my clothing line "Glad Heart"!  I used an amazing graphic designer on Etsy called 1 Sweet Orange.  Highly recommend! The toughest part was designing the logo but after that it was all downhill.  Check it out...

I love the simple lines, bold colors, and the arrow reflecting the eco-friendly upcycled nature of my clothing line.  I definitely had no idea what I was doing when it came to designing a logo.  Everything was too busy and detailed.   1 Sweet Orange educated me and set me straight...less is more!

Next step, business card.  The majority of the items in my shop are UPCycled from a gently used t shirt.  If people love something, whether it be a band or sports team, they usually have a t shirt for it.  I wanted the design to convey the idea that there is a t shirt for every pop-culture phenomenon under the sun.  I think 1 Sweet Orange captured the feel of my shop perfectly with these vintage pop-culture images.  Had everything printed by Moo and could not be happier with the service and quality.

Now we are on a roll!  How about a hang tag.  I used the mini cards from Moo to create the perfect hang tag for my clothing items.  It is just a simplified version and half the size of the business card.

My Etsy shop was in severe need of a makeover...the avatar and banner were poorly made by yours truly.  Now I look super legit and professional like :).

Finally, I had special placeholders made for my shop for custom orders, reserved listings, and a thank you's when it's time for customer feedback.  They are all editable so I can customize them with my customer's name.

In February I will lay out the goals for 2012...can you stand the suspense?  Ha!  I will give you a hint - to complete a minimum of 1 blog entry per month...I know - reaching for the starts right?  Until next time :).

July 15, 2010

Etsy Christmas in July Sale!

From July 15th - 25th Brava Boutique will be participating in the Etsy Christmas in July Sale.  Everything in our shop ships for free.  If you haven't already, check out our new line of UPcycled T Shirt Dresses.  We take gently used or new unwanted T Shirts and turn them into something fabulous!

Our first collection is called AMERICAN SUMMER. These ONE OF A KIND creations are NUMBERED just like a work of art. They embody summertime in the good old USA...picnics, baseball, vacations, the beach, camping, you get the picture. 

Our latest collection is called PEACE LOVE EARTH. These ONE OF A KIND creations are NUMBERED just like a work of art. They embody the very reason we created this series promoting the idea that we can all do our part to make this world a better place now and for future generations.

Coming soon...our 3rd series....Arrrrrggggghhhhhh!!!!

July 13, 2010

Bad Blogger!

No blog post since Feb...ugh, I am a disgrace to all things bloggy.  Well, at least I have great excuse...business is up and the creativity is flowing!  I am just popping in to leave a quick note (practically impossible for me to be brief but I will give it a go).

Other than my failure as a blogger, we are on track with our goals for 2010!  Will post on that later.  An unexpected surprise came our way when the amazing Sarah Flake formed Handmade in Vegas, a team of Etsy shop artisans who live in Nevada.  Check out the amazing talent in Sin City!

February 3, 2010

Channeling Jerry Maguire

So I was watching Jerry Maguire the other night and was inspired by his memo…I mean Mission Statement…sorry Jerry - a passion filled, gut wrenching, true blue, conviction filled Mission Statement!

As a result of his Mission Statement he was chastised, ridiculed, fired, called a loser , beat up by his fiancĂ©, lost every client to Sugar (love him!) and destroyed his reputation. Naturally, I thought it was a great idea to do the same for Brava Boutique…even if she hates it I am pretty sure Natalie won’t subject me to the same fate Jerry met.

As we emerge from the funk of designing, sewing, and NOT selling our Fall ’09 Collection we have mustered the energy and wherewithal to formulate a plan...to set a goal...to move forward. Ok, so maybe it’s not an earth shattering mission statement but here are the goals of Brava Boutique for 2010.

Custom Orders Only

In the past we have stuck with the same formula…design, buy fabric, sew entire collection, and finally, sell collection. I am exhausted just thinking of continuing in that direction. Our husbands (1 each) and our children (4 each) will trade us in for a more available, fresh, present wife and mother otherwise. All orders will be processed through our Etsy store http://www.bravaboutique.etsy.com/.

Design a Line of Accessories

We are pretty confident that we can sew just about any type of garment; however, accessories are not our forte. This year we will take a step back from garment design and construction to make fabulous, unique, ‘can't live without’ accessories. In the works are some great ideas and we can't wait to share them...stay tuned.

Publish a Pattern

...everyone else is, why not us!

“Twitter” Our Own Horn

At one time we were just seamstresses…now we wear many hats: designer, Etsian, ‘facebooker’, blogger, photographer, and coming soon, “Twitterer” (or is it Tweeter?). When the choice comes down to it I am sure you would rather us sew than Twitter. On the converse, without these awesome tools we wouldn't have anyone to sew for...balance must be achieved.

The only way to really measure progress in this area is to watch our fans/hearts/and followers grow...as I write this we have 205 facebook fans, 58 Etsy hearts, and 25 blog followers...let's see where we are at the end of the year...if we are sewing amazing things that you love these numbers are bound to skyrocket!


For many reasons - that are in and out of our control - we did not realize the success we had hoped for our Fall ’09 Collection (more on that later). We felt a little like Jerry Maguire did after he wrote his Mission Statement; however, like Jerry we will lick our wounds and move to the next thing.

Jerry was forced to start over from rock bottom. Instead of being a great agent to many clients, he became an amazing agent to one. Together they simplified by getting back to what they loved and as a result achieved success beyond their wildest dreams. Without all the Hollywood drama, we are adopting the same philosophy. Become fabulous and focused with a few amazing designs and get back to our love of creating!

November 24, 2009

Christmas Sale!

We are now on ETSY!!! www.bravaboutique.etsy.com

Facebook Fans Receive 20% off Entire Etsy Purchase!!!

Want 25% off your Etsy Purchase? Become a Facebook Fan and Follow this Blog!!!

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!!!


Natalie and Carrie

September 22, 2009

Red Tape

I will be the first to admit that I went kicking and screaming into legitimacy...I was so sure all that paperwork and license fees would stifle all of our fun and creativity. I just am not good with the "Red Tape".

I just want to have fun all the time and write blogs, play on facebook, and sew pretty things for little girls. Who cares if I have a tax i.d. number and why on earth would anyone want one..ugh!

But then I drifted back in from the la la land I live in and acknowledged that if we want to see the fruits of our labor hanging in a swanky boutique window or if we want to go to a trade show without riding someone else's credentials then we must surrender. Thank God for Natalie who has a natural understanding of business stuff. She is good with numbers and is not intimidated by the details or paperwork. She just gets it. I on the other hand can't seem to absorb those types of details...they just bounce right off my brain. If I am honest with myself then I guess I must admit that I probably have selective comprehension. If I don't think it is fun then I just act like I cant do it so I dont have to. Yeah I said it.

It all started with a class Natalie took at the International Textiles Expo called "The Do's and Don'ts of Starting an Apparel Business" taught by Frances Harder. Frances Harder is the founder of FBI (Fashion Business Inc.) a non-profit educational business providing intelligence and support to smaller creative apparel companies. Her books and instructional materials are available from Harder Publications. The title of the class pretty much speaks for itself and it delivered the info we needed. At the class Natalie also purchased a great set of reference materials called "Fashion for Profit" which pretty much summarized the class. Natalie was fired up and enlightened about where we needed to go next.
Before we set out and signed up for every license under the sun we sat down and discussed our goals. What were we doing this for? Did we want to stay small and cozy and sew outfits for our girlfriends or did we want to have a massive obnoxious fashion empire with sweat shops in every country.
In the end we agreed that we wanted to be able to purchase our supplies wholesale and to be able to wholesale our own products to retail boutiques. Maybe someday it would be great to design a collection and hire people to sew for us. In the end it seemed practical to apply for only the minimum credentials needed to get the ball rolling...like salt on your food, its much easier to add than to take away.

In a nutshell we started at the City of Henderson and applied for our business license. They proceeded to give us a checklist that outlined the other credentials we needed to operate as a manufacturer:
Home occupation permit
State sales tax permit

From there we were directed to the requirements outlined by the state of Nevada:
Business License
Sales tax permit
We formed a simple partnership entity...and...

when all was said and done we probably spent about $300.00 in fees so that we could pay taxes. Furthermore we committed ourselves to plenty of future useless government revenue generating fees...the clerk with the State of Nevada even admitted it!
Finally, I ran across a great blog that inspired us to share our own journey...check out http://www.startupkidsline.com/. Amber is the owner of Baby Fabulous - a trend-setting infant and toddler apparel and accessories line. Her blog is meant to share some of her startup and business growth experiences in the hopes that it helps somebody else going through the same thing. She has years worth of experience and has documented every detail. Her selfless sharing is invaluable.

August 10, 2009

Carrie's Sewing Room

Welcome to the place where I get CRAFTY...

(Cue music...go to fabulous playlist and select Beastie Boys' "She's Crafty" for maximum reading enjoyment :)

We never really knew when it happened….it just sort snuck in under our radar. Even in retrospect the day and time eludes us; nevertheless, the room we so fondly referred to as the dining room is now identified as “the sewing room”. My husband hasn’t quite surrendered yet but he knows if I don’t sew there then the only other place for me to go is the “band room”. That’s right, the custom room he built out in the garage that houses all his toys. Did I mention that it is air conditioned and fully sound proof? His toys have air conditioning. I think it would be a great place to sew and create but I’m not so sure he agrees. I am definitely holding on to that card until I really need it.

If you look closely you can see remnants and artifacts from the ancient dining room era...long gone but definitely not forgotten.

Don't you love my Grandmother's pincushion...she was born in Buckingham Palace in the servants quarters...I'm just sayin..it's probably a royal hand-me-down.

Hello Kitty pins from my very first sewing kit...

You KNOW I have a Bernina...love it...the sales guy at Quiltique called it a Sewing Computer...It does so many cool things and has saved me hours! Thanks honey for my birthday present!

I love this tool belt...it has become a permanent fixture on one of the dining room (I mean sewing room) chairs. I think the name of the company that makes them is The Mommy Tool Belt...I will find out for sure.

I was given this plate as a gift when I was little...I use it as a "catch all" while I am sewing. It says, "A little patience, a little smile and a job is done in a little while." Natalie LOVES it when I say that to her...my version is "enjoy the process."

The serger I use is a Janome My Lock 204D...my mom bought it for me for my birthday from Cynthia's Sewing Shop. It is simple and easy to use and I love it! I am so busy sewing I don't have time to take the "free class with purchase"...I am sure it can do things I never even thought of...

At first I used to take out my sewing machine and all my stuff and then put it all away at the end of the day. Not so much anymore. It’s like a factory now and I only clean it up when we are having company. Cleaned up it just looks like a tidy factory surrounded by 8 leather dining chairs. At least I put the ironing board away. Is it perfect? No. Is it conducive to me still hanging out with my family while I sew? Yes. And that is just fine with me. I have a feeling that is why my husband doesn’t spend much time in the band room…it’s lonely in the cushy, quiet, air conditioned room.