Today’s sponsor is my oldest Etsy friend. I actually found Rebecca on Etsy and noticed that she and I had a lot in common in business. So I contacted her and we started chatting about various business things and soon turned into friends. She runs the Etsy shop: Better Life Bags.
|(Mine’s the one in the middle. I love, love, love it!)|
HBL: How did you get started with your craft?
BLB: When I was pregnant with my son, I couldn’t find a diaper bag that I loved. They were either too expensive or too boring. So, I decided to learn how to make a diaper bag using a fabric combination I wanted. I loved the thought of having a one-of-a-kind bag that I had designed myself! Luckily, I had just gotten a great sewing machine for my birthday and had sewn a little in my “younger years”. I had a dear friend help me get through the first one and teach me the essentials of bag making. Now I can’t break away from my sewing machine. It’s my better half.
|Freitas Ruffle Clutch…I absolutely HEART Amy Butler’s fabric, don’t you?|
HBL: What do you love about your craft?
BLB: I love taking pieces of gorgeous material, cutting it up, and sewing it back together into a fun bag creation! There’s something satisfactory about creating something from nothing. I also love that each bag I make is different and unique. My customers get to design their own by picking out fabric for each part of the bags I create. This makes for many different combinations and versions of the same style. It’s never boring!
|Lovin’ these checkbook covers: I bet she would even add some slots for credit cards if you asked her!|
HBL: Why did you decide to go into business with it?
BLB: Well, I never planned to open a business with my craft. It sort of happened by accident. Like I mentioned before, I made myself a diaper bag and then posted pictures of it on Facebook. Within a week, I had a request to make one for a pregnant friend and she paid me for it! After posting the picture of that bag, I had another request for a large tote bag. And the Nicole was born. People kept ordering, so I kept sewing!
|The Carla: Design Your Own!|
HBL: Why did you decide to have it be charitable?
BLB: I’ve always loved ordering from companies that help others with the profits, and I wanted to do that from the very beginning – which is why we named it Better Life Bags (“making lives better one purse at a time”). My brother had just introduced me to www.kiva.org and I thought it would be an awesome idea to donate 10% of the bag transaction to a low-income entrepreneur in developing countries. Each of my customers receive a print out of who their bag went to help and what they are going to do with the money. The cool thing about Kiva is that the money is only loaned out and gets repaid back to me over a few months. I can then reloan the money out to someone else. So it’s like your bag never stops giving back!
|How awesome is this diaper bag?! You can convert it to have backpack straps too!|
HBL: Tell me about your family.
BLB: I have a wonderful husband who I fell in love with 5 years ago and married 2 1/2 years later. We have an adorable son who turned one at the beginning of this month. And much to our surprise, we have a little girl due in January to make us a family of FOUR!
|The Maggie Ruffle Purse|
HBL: Describe a typical day for you.
BLB: My son wakes me up at 8am and we snuggle in bed while he drinks his bottle of milk. Sometimes we stay there for an hour – sometimes 10 minutes. Either way, it’s my favorite part of the day. Mornings are usually busy for us and it’s good to wear my son out before his nap, so we run errands, go to Bible Study, play outside, go to library story time, etc… Naps are golden for me as I get some time to myself. Since my husband works part time and goes to school part time, he often has a few hours every day or so to spend with our son while I get caught up on bag orders. I’m very thankful for him and for his support for our small business!
|The Nicole: Design Your Own!|
HBL: Where do you hope to see your business go in the next 5 years?
BLB: This one makes me excited! We just recently moved to a poor area of Detroit, MI where there are a lot of 1st generation immigrants from Yemen. These Yemeni women rarely leave their homes and can’t get jobs out in public because their families are very conservative Muslims. I hope to be able to hire some of them within the next five years to not only give them something to do at home but to also help them out financially. I’m so inspired by stories I hear of businesses hiring women overseas to make quality products and then providing a market for them to sell to in order to earn income for their families. I’m going to start highlighting some of these companies on my blog in the next few weeks… Christmas gift ideas! I REALLY want to use this business to help others profit like they do.