Tag Archives: Green

December 2009 Reclaimed Threads’ Business Update; Current Events, Lessons Learned and Looking Forward

Hello world!

I hope that by reading through what I have been going through the last few weeks. running my small business, that it will help anyone going through the same ordeals! If you have any suggestions, helpful links or words of encouragement never hesitate to leave a comment or email me! I love hearing from people and frankly have a few things I am struggling with and would appreciate all the help I can get!

Well, there has been a lot happening with Reclaimed Threads over the last month or so. While I was still in Pittsburgh (3 months total), I worked my butt off building up a holiday inventory that exceeded my expectations in terms of the amount I was able to produce while maintaining the high quality I demand of myself.  Now the challenge lies in my being able to continue being as productive at home (MA) where there are many more opportunities to socialize. I maintain optimistic though, now that I see what I am capable of!

Currently In The Reclaimed Threads’ Etsy Shop:

So about this holiday inventory I mentioned before… I have lots of Christmas products currently up in my shop (www.reclaimedthreads.ets.com)! I had such a great time creating unique ornaments, gift bags and accessories! Make sure to have a look, grab what you like and let me know what you think!

What Is Coming Soon To The Reclaimed Threads’ Etsy Shop:

I have about 20 bags of all shapes, sizes and colors as well as many (MANY!) more accessories finished a ready to be photographed for my Etsy shop. I was originally holding onto them because I had a few shows lined up and thought I would sell them there. This did not end up being the case (story to be shared under the “Reclaimed Threads Out and About” Section) and I am really looking forward to sharing them with a larger group of like-minded people through my shop! Make sure to stop by while you are finishing up your holiday shopping, you won’t be disappointed! My goal is to have all of these items in my shop by next Tuesday, December 15th.

TIP: I have become such a firm believer in setting deadlines for myself lately! It truly does help and when you tell your friends and family (and Facebook and Twitter followers) about your deadline then you are forced to follow through! If you don’t follow through then there is bound to be at least one person who says, I thought you said that you were going to have “X” done by today? I hate disappointing people and looking like a bad business person so this keeps me in line! I will say, though, that despite all of my planning I am missing a total of THREE Etsy Shopper Features that I had planned for the past two weeks and this week. But Thanksgiving, travel and settling back home really messed things up. I had only set loose deadlines in this case so now I am all about full disclosure and am going to put up some sort of schedule of upcoming posts in this blog so that I am locked in!

Material World:

I am soooooo happy that I found a great fabric supplier! Two actually and they have been right under my nose this whole time and I wasn’t even aware of them! There is a home consignment store in my town called Still Life (http://www.stilllifeconsignmentshop.com/) and they have a lot of fabric samples from stores as well as vintage fabric and yardage that people simply didn’t want. I want it though!! I am so happy that people are bringing these items here instead of just throwing them away!

Upstairs in the same building is a designer fabric store called Zimmans (http://zimmans.com/). NOTE: When you go to this website there is music that I can’t figure out how to turn off so be careful if you are reading this at work! haha but back to what I was saying, I was almost overwhelmed with the bins of remnants and bolt ends available here! I am a huge fan of when products, literally no matter what it is, are color coordinated. I got weak at the knees when I saw the rainbow of colors as I walked through the back of this store!

I am definitely going to become a VERY good customer of both of these businesses!

A family member also stumbled across an estate sale recently and found boxes FULL of vintage buttons!  So I have about 9 or 10 Ball glass jars full of buttons, I’m in heaven!

Reclaimed Threads Out and About:

Okay now to my big blunder of 2009. I had a  few shows the last couple of weeks but none were very fruitful. One was a holiday shopping boutique which was a lot of fun and I met many great people but traffic into the boutique show wasn’t very high so there weren’t a lot of sales. I also was at a flea market for two Sundays in a row but I had a sharp gut feeling when I agree to sign up for this (which is a long story in itself including my brother and his friend and all of us splitting a booth, which didn’t happen, etc) that a fleas market might be the most inappropriate place to try and sell handmade, one of a kind, high-end sustainable products. My gut feeling was right and I did not generate many sales but, again, met some nice people. One thing that I gained from both experiences, which I find indispensable, is face to face feedback on my products. I am thrilled to report that people’s reactions and comments were overwhelmingly positive! It makes me very happy and proud to have people, unsolicited, tell me how impressed they are especially when they are seamstresses and other handmade craftsmen which a few were!

TIP Through The Lesson I Learned From This Experience: From now on I am going to be photographing products and uploading them to my shop every week. This is no matter what events I have lined up because by hoarding my inventory for these shows instead of uploading them to my Etsy shop as well, resulted in my missing out on all the post-Thanksgiving exposure. This was poor planning, and in my opinion, plain laziness on my part because I was too naive in thinking that everything I made would sell at these three events. I have learned that you can never assume anything when it comes to how your product will do at a show or event.  It is alright to think positive but always utilize every tool you have available! I should have uploaded all of my inventory to my Etsy shop so that they would be there for people looking specifically for high quality, eco-chic handbags AND for people who left the show with my card and could have decided to check out the shop later that night and see if the bag they liked was still available, possibly even buying it then. Even though feedback was very positive, the flea market was not the place to sell my products, so I would have to advise everyone to be very careful as to what sort of places you try to sell your products. If it is obviously the wrong venue then don’t waste your time and money because both are valuable!! Woops! Lesson learned!

Katherine, What Else Have You Learned So Far About Selling Your Kind of Products (handmade, sustainable bags and accessories):

Over the last few months I have learned a few things about selling my products:

-Customers tell me that my Etsy listing photos do not do my products justice! When they receive their bag they are surprised by how nice it really is! I am still working on taking crisper photos that also give the views that replicate how people look at bags in a store: front and back, inside, over their shoulder, etc.

-Even though I am working on my photos in my Etsy shop, there is still nothing better then having people see my products in person. I sell more bags when people ask me to come to their house while they have company over than anything else that I have done. This has sparked two initiatives that I will be working towards in the next few weeks: I want to get my products into handmade and eco-conscious stores in my area and I want to make a game plan for how I would launch a series of Home Trunk Shows (or home bag parties) to decide if it would be “do-able”.

-People are very much into one of a kind bags but they really like to pick out their own fabric and design elements. I played around with the idea of doing custom bags but with my production crew being made up of me, myself and I, I just do not have the capacity to venture into something like this yet. I am considering making this an exclusive offer at house trunk shows as well as these parties acting as a chance to have first dibs on a selection of new products.

-I need to get more Press Coverage for Reclaimed Threads! I would definitely appreciate any suggestions when it comes to this topic! I love seeing my products reviewed by people and would like to continue with this as well as have features written about the company as a whole! Up to this point, I’ve relied on networking with people and them offering to feature me here and there. I appreciate all of this and am now aiming to be featured more often and by a broader range of media (blogs, magazines, newspapers and TV)! Who isn’t aiming for this?!

FUN FACT: I was going to be featured in the Unofficial Etsy Business Blog as a “green business” recently. This turned into Justine (the editor) asking me to become a contributor to the blog instead. So I will be taking the driver’s seat for a “green stories” series on her blog, this is coming soon and will be a monthly feature. I am working on the questions and finding people to feature at the moment. I will be sure to update everyone once the first feature is ready! I am excited for this, it will be a fun to be a part of what I think is a wonderful blog!

Well, this pretty much sums up my last month or so! I’d love to hear your feedback about my products, the progress that I am making and definitely any suggestions that you have about things that I should be doing that I am not! Thanks for sticking with me through this long update! Remember that you can subscribe to my blog and get updates without even having to think about it!

Best Wishes,

Katherine

About Reclaimed Threads: Reclaimed Threads is a sustainable bag company launched by Katherine DeSantis. Katherine is  a 20-something entrepreneur who combined her love of being creative and sustainably conscious to form Reclaimed Threads.  Every item is handmade by Katherine from reclaimed/repurposed, vintage and organic/sustainable materials. There are a variety of bags and products in her shop: www.reclaimedthreads.etsy.com.

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Etsy Shopper: Gift Ideas For Him!

Hello everyone!

I am excited for this post because after putting all of these great items together in one place, I am full of gift ideas for the men in my life this holiday season! Usually, I have such a hard time because they are so picky and have everything they THINK they want. 🙂 As usual Etsy sellers have come through with some of the most creative spins on products for men! So enjoy and remember that you need to scroll past the pictures to get a product description and link to each seller’s shop, just match the numbers from the pictures to the descriptions…

…As a side note, you can now subscribe to my blog! This is new-ish (about a week) so if you like what you see when you scroll through my blog then make sure you sign up to receive update via email! You do this in the right column where it says “Subscribe to Reclaimed Threads!”

1. These great cuff links are made from recycled skateboard! They are great, maybe for someone who has to dress up for the holidays or some special occasion and is hating the idea. Give him a cool accessory to express himself! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34531856

2. See how creative people are on Etsy!? This is a second pair of cuff links but they are COMPLETELY different than the first! I’ve never seen cuff links like these! I love the zipper pulls! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34516917

3. This set of 2 recycled glasses are made from the bottom of reclaimed wine bottles! I love this idea and the set includes two different kinds of glasses so you will find many excuses to use them! When you check out this shop read the “Quit your Day Job” Feature that Etsy did on this seller! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34717890

4. This eye glass slip is so great! Not only is it made from repurposed leather but it is small and not bulky so whoever you buy it for can bring it along with him wherever he goes and keep his glasses safe! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34329414

5. I love this scarf! The colors are great for the season and very masculine, even though I love the color green and I can see myself “borrowing” it from whoever in my house I gave it to 🙂 This particular one is reserved but check out the other scarves in this shop! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=16874098

6.This leather cuff, made from recycled leather, would be such a unique gift! The antique clock print on it add a nice touch of style. Wait until you see all of the great cuffs in this shop! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33074545

7. What a cool money clip! The front displays a vintage watch movement from Westfield Watch Co. I love how it is so simple and ornate at the same time! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34793328

8. I am from MA and love the Red Sox! There is nothing better than a summer baseball game at Fenway Park. This beautiful photograph is great for any fellow Sox fan! I love it because I know that when this photo was taken, the crowd was roaring and the smells of sausages and peanuts were in the air but there is still something peaceful about this scene. http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=21820461

9.I love the color of this shirt! The hand screened graphic on the front was an original drawing. The T-shirt is American Apparel made from 100% organic jersey cotton. Such a great shirt and would make a wonderful gift! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=31390376

10. This great, one of a kind belt buckle was made from an old math textbook. The book was being taken out of circulation because the interior pages were in bad shape. So instead of being thrown away, it was used to make this belt buckle! Such a great idea and there is a shop full of other cool designs! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33970667

11. This thick and sturdy copper bracelet is hand cut, shaped and pounded into all its glory! There aren’t any chemicals used to coat it, which I think is great! This beautiful bracelet has a matching ring that you can also find in this shop! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34570422

12. This is a great piece of art! Perfect for any den or bachelor pad! 🙂 The image was put through a transfer process onto a recycled tile. It comes in a flat black colored box that was hand constructed for each tile. Truly unique! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=31776995

13. This wonderful wallet is made from a vintage necktie and a retired wool suit! You can fit bills in the large pocket and your cards in the two smaller pockets! I love the colors and the fact that all of those wonderful items were given a new life in this product! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33995931

14. I love that the seller calls this “Modern Art To Wear” because that is exactly what it is! It sounds like a lot of work goes into these belt buckles and I’m certainly glad it does because they are so beautiful, colorful and unlike any other belt buckle I have seen lately! Such a cool gift! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34559134

15. This flask is made from a recycled British tartan topcoat. The colors and texture of the fabric is great for the cold winter months ahead! Buy one as a gift for someone else or grab one for yourself! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=33832179

16. This beautiful ebony guitar pick is the perfect gift for any guitarist! You will always have your pick with you since you can wear it on this stylish necklace. The pick is removable and can be easily reattached to the necklace after you are finished playing! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34617183

17. OH BOY! Again with the Boston pride! This soap is made with Sam Adams Boston Lager, myyyy personal favorite! It is left unscented. You can wash your body, hair and shave with this soap! I just love it, I think it’s great idea and at this price you can buy them as stocking stuffers for everyone! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34805074

18. This great leash is made from recycled climbing rope! It is a great way for man and man’s best friend to spend some quality time together outdoors! This leash is 10 feet long and very durable so it can withstand whatever you two get into! http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=32689649

19. This slim, stainless steel card case is a great accessory for any man (or woman for that matter)! It is lightweight so you can throw it into your pocket and be ready for any opportunity to show it off! The watch mechanisms and celtic cross medallion make a bold statement. There are other medallions available so stop by the shop to check it out!  http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=29308641

About Reclaimed Threads: Reclaimed Threads is a sustainable bag company launched by Katherine DeSantis. Katherine is  a 20-something entrepreneur who combined her love of being creative and sustainably conscious to form Reclaimed Threads.  Every item is handmade by Katherine from reclaimed/repurposed, vintage and organic/sustainable materials. There are a variety of bags and products in her shop: www.reclaimedthreads.etsy.com.

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Find me on my new Facebook account!

I am now on WordPress, Twitter and FACEBOOK!

I have created both a User Profile and Page under the business’s name, “Reclaimed Threads”, on Facebook. To become a “fan” of Reclaimed Threads’ Page, as well as befriend it’s user profile, simply search for Reclaimed Threads while logged into Facebook and you will find it!!  (if you are not familar with Pages on Facebook, you need to click on the box that says “Become a Fan” near the top of the page). I would love to have you all as fans and have another fantastic way to convey all that is going on with the shop and products!! I cannot wait for our grand opening tomorrow, September 2 after 12PM to be able to offer up my products for your enjoyment. So make sure to stop by, tell your friends and come back regularly to see what’s new!

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So tomorrow is the big Grand Opening…

I have everything ready to go for tomorrow’s  Reclaimed Threads Grand Opening! The only thing that is giving me a hard time is finalizing the pricing  for shipping and handling. I am looking all over for the best price for you! I am leaning towards using the US Postal service but am now going back and forth between flat rate boxes or my own packaging. We will have an answer by the morning and I promise the result will be the best price I can manage as a small business! I hope everyone is out there telling their friends and family about the opening being tomorrow and to stop by and browse through the shop!! I am working on the Reclaimed Threads Facebook Page now and will update about that later here.

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Clutches

These two clutches were little side projects while I was putting together the tote bags. They were fun to make and I hope that they bring someone lots of joy and compliments. The white and pink clutch is made from reclaimed table napkins, The dimensions are H: 6”; W: 12”. Price $32. The floral clutch was started years ago and I found it recently. I completed it by sewing in a liner and adding on the leather roping taken from an old broken bag. The dimensions are 12” diagonally from corner to corner and the opening is 7”. Price $35


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The Diana Tote

These are examples of the “Diana” tote bag. These great bags are lots of fun. The straps on each side cinch the top of the bag together when it is not full. When the tote is nice and full, the straps can easily be unbuttoned and tucked into their loops on each side of the bag. The dimensions H: 13.5”; W: 14”; Deep: 4”; with 23” straps and a pocket inside. Price $32.

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The Muriel Tote

These are examples of the “Muriel” tote bag. This is a nice bag, again, for the school or work bound but in addition the wide bottom lends itself as a perfect market tote. The dimensions for these bags are H: 11.5”; Top Width: 17” ; Bottom Width: 11”; Bottom of bag is 6 X 11” with 24” straps and a pocket inside. Price: $32


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