Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Breaking Free

Every since I was about 12 years old I have kept a sketch book with designs of clothing I wanted to make, but my idea to start designing and producing handbags started in 2002. I saw an emergence in the handbag industry where alot of stay-at-home moms and just regular women were producing whimsical looking handbags and the consumers were loving it; being able to buy something that was quirky,that only a few other people owned, or maybe no one else owned it at all. I saw some people making good extra income doing this, and I also saw people who made it their sole-source of income, and became quite successful with it too. The problem was, some of the results were not that appealing, while there were some skilled seamstresses out there, some sewers' bags looked homemade and others lacked originality and designer quality. People figured if they picked a cute fabric, that was all that was necessary. Nothing set their bag apart from the next person's. I would see some people who would purchase Licensed and Trademarked fabrics, such as Philadelphia Eagles, or Mickey Mouse, and make a bag out of it; nothing special just a sack with the logo all over it and turn around and sell them online. Not only was this Trademark infringement*, and if caught you can be subjected to various penalties, but the bags were, in my opinion boring, because they lacked any design elements. I decided that I wanted to get in this market too for extra income, but I wanted bags with a uniqueness all my own. I wanted different designs etc. so I started sketching; anytime the mood struck me; whenever I saw something that would inspire me, I would sketch it quickly; on receipts, candy wrappers, you name it. I did not want to lose the idea. Eventually I started keeping a miniature sketch book with me just for my handbag designs. But alas as I said back then I was stuck at my main humdrum low-paying job and I was always trying to work as many hours as I could to keep afloat (although it wasn't working). I just ended up burnt-out, still in debt, and still could not afford to go back to school. So my idea of having a side business...was pushed aside. Turning Point: Last year after being fed up with our old neighborhood, but realizing how hard it was to be able to move, I kept telling my older sister (who was visiting at the time) "SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE, SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE" I repeated this to her several times. I felt so completely suffocated. That is when I heard 2 things that made me start taking action. The first thing was something I was always familiar with but somehow I felt Like I was hearing it for the first time when I actually listened to it. There is a Canadian singer/songwriter named Dawud Wharnsbury Ali and he has a song that tells a little about some of the lessons learned from the story of Yusuf (arabic translation for Joseph) in the Quran (sura/chapter 12). One of the verses from the song goes: ["The words of Allah* are clear to the world, With Hardship Will Always Come Ease." "The beautiful story of Yusuf has so much to fill our lives." "A lesson in forgiveness and brotherhood we cannot compromise." "The power of patience and the fire of hope, must burn in the hearts of the wise."] ---After listening to this song once again it was like I had finally heard what he said at that moment. I actually paid attention to the words. The second thing was as I stated earlier in a previous post, I went to a business seminar with my mom and one of her co-workers, and the speaker asked the audience " Why are you working to make someone else dreams come true? Because when you go to work for someone else, you are working to acheive their dreams." It was like I was being hit in the head with a big "Duh!" sign. After really reflecting on these two things, I started to slowly make changes, I pursued the post office job, and after letting that go, even though everyone told me I was crazy for doing so (see earlier post "How did I get to this point?" for my reason), I decided to get more serious about my handbags while still holding down my job at Wally World, and while I am not progressing at a rapid pace, I am making movement, which is something I have put off for awhile. I am emerging-slowly but emerging nonetheless... Note* most Licensed and Trademarked logo fabrics, state that you are only allowed to produce goods for home and private use and not for resale. Allah--arabic term for the creator of all existence. Can be loosely translated into the english term GOD

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