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Anne, A Very Talented Designer, With the Last Word From Me… (that’s me, Denise)

Some Really Great People We’ve Met This Year, and a Bit About Some Old Years, Too!

February (A New Smart Friend)

ImageDAn interesting person that I have met this year, is a woman who virtually fell into my life in early February. She bought a few pieces of an item from our Etsy store. The items were buckles, slide buckles. She bought them because she had a very specific problem. She makes gorgeous leather bags. But she could not find slide buckles that worked correctly for a thicker strap. I had known for a very long time that this was a problem for many of our customers. I had known, instinctively, how to fix this dilemma. I’d known for ages. Well, I had known at least as long as I had been making bags myself. This creative endeavor that we, the artisans who make bags, purses, handbags, etc… well most people just call it sewing. Personally, I think the skill is a little more specific than sewing. Forgive me for saying so, I think this skill-set takes a healthy dose of confidence, technical knowledge, and a dash of engineering genius.

I have not asked this very intuitive woman for her permission to use her special gifts in an exemplary blog post, so I will say this: She has very much inspired me in so many ways. I’ll also say that I “Etsy-met” her. She does not have an Etsy store. She does have a beautiful website. I think that she will allow me to link to aforementioned beautiful site. Because she has, let me put it this way, healthy enough business acumen to allow a flaky-artist-type like me to link to it. But I will do at some point in the next few weeks, when she has offered to give me some help with it.

March (Is all about Anne)

ImageGIf this wasn’t a way of karma, magical-thinking, or whatever philosophy to which you ascribe, to come full-circle, well let me tell you this: the aforementioned brilliant woman gave me the courage and the references (well, she DID like those darn buckles) to put yet another terrific person directly in my path. I guarantee that Anne Verberkmoes is an incredibly talented woman. She is a pattern designer, a VERY talented pattern designer. As you might imagine, she’s also an exceptional sew-er (check out her web site, take a look at her Etsy store.) You can bet that I did. She is braver than I will ever be. She has done all of this …created it…from whole cloth, so to speak. She took a chance on us, Bagmaker Supply to be a supplier for her new hardware kits.


Anne Does Some Very Brave Videos (WOW, it isn’t always easy to put yourself out there.)

I know many of our customers are novices.  Basically I am too.  It isn’t easy to put yourself “out there.”  Anne does this with a grace and ease that belies the fact that English is not her first language.  Anne has done some of the neatest things, which make me know that next week we need to include an in-depth interview.  You will not believe her cool adventures.

Kaleidoscope Bag,  Anne’s Great New Release

She has the greatest new bags, which use the weirdest , (and in my opinion) the neatest piece of non-hardware in her latest release. If you cannot guess what that is, you’ll have to look no further than the materials list for her beautiful new release. Anne came into my life in March. My heritage is Irish-American, so you can imagine my delight that the stars aligned to send me Anne at the perfect time. It was a perfect piece of luck that sent me Anne. Unfortunate incidents precluded me from being there 100% for her (I had until Easter to gather all magical pieces and beautiful handbag parts for the gorgeous new release). I blew my deadline. In her gracious way, Anne forgave all. Please allow me to be the last place to showcase Anne’s new pattern(s) It’s the greatest idea, a two-for-one pattern. There is a version for the sewing expert, and there is a novice version that uses lots of hardware in lieu of super-duper sewing skills! It is the amazing Kaleidoscope bag:

A Very Small (Incomplete Photo,) of Some VERY Beautiful Hardware


ImageAOur hardware kit (the novice version) Anne calls this version “Bring on the Hardware.” She knows a great deal about hardware. That made me laugh. And as a seller of hardware it made me happy!  The quality of this hardware is excellent.  We know good hardware.  Anne most certainly does!  That is why we (Bagmaker Supply) is honored to be Anne’s choice.  We are great choice, we always try to provide the best.  We believe in Anne even more than she believes in herself.  ALL OF OUR HARDWARE IS EXCELLENT! But we knew this needed to be a little bit nicer.  The picture only shows a portion of the goodies in the beginner version.  It is a teaser.  It’s professional quality and shiny and beautiful.  This picture will be replaced soon with a lovely close-up picture.

You needn’t look far to find Anne. She is all over the place. Of course she also has an Etsy presence. This is her Etsy logo, (which I love:) Underneath the logo you will find all of the places that you will find Anne :

Website :
Facebook page:

April (Enter, the Calendar Girl)

ImageEThis month has ALWAYS been a favorite of mine. Although I met this person in a November long ago. It was so long ago that it was six days before my 31st birthday.  A couple of years later…specifically, in April of 1997 we decided to “collaborate” permanently. The whole day, that April I was having but one thought: “I AM SO OLD!” An aside, my son is older than I was in that April, in 1994. Yikes, time flies. So do I. I am always running around Chicago with this man. My exceptional and crazy-smart husband is George. He is a tech-whiz. I am not. He is a linear thinker, oh boy do I wish I had that gift. The funniest thing about our meet-cute (well, it kind of was!) is that I was running around in Chicago’s hippest hipster enclave, Wicker Park. It was an almost-cold November night, I ran into a copy shop that was absolutely open 24 hours (only in Chicago, probably only in the mid-90s) I was a big-idea girl. I have a few gifts, I paint, sew, and mostly I always have some goofy scheme. My scheme-du-jour, of late ’94 was a great idea for a calendar. I have always had a passing interest in technology. Mostly my interest was in how some genius skill, that I couldn’t quite get the hang of, might improve some kooky art project. The art project involved at least 12 original drawings. I’d heard that a cool new “something” called “Windows ’95” could provide a tabula rasa. In other words, there was some neat application where I could basically print out a calendar, one with no pictures. I was so excited about my “Denise calendar.” If I had any feeble brains in my addled head, they certainly weren’t figuring out that silly Windows ’95. I looked around at the edgy staff…the spiky rainbow hair, tats, etc. Nothing was screaming out to me “I can help a stubborn artsy girl who is unable to master this uniquely helpful technology.” Then I saw him. I almost missed him. The neatly trimmed beard initially sent the wrong message to messy-artsy-girl. But luckily, I saw his really bad watch, black plastic, LED. It was a very 1994-watch. It was nerdy in a way that explained to me at a glace, “This man can sort out my calendar and so much more!” He has sorted every calendar year for me since. He is my forever-partner in our business, in my life, and in my heart. This past week was our 20th anniversary.

ImageFThis is a very cool comic-book-ized drawing of us. It has such great meaning to George and me. The original, is a “selfie.” It’s the two of us, possibly dazed by bureaucracy, having spent the entire morning in Chicago’s Loop. We were at city hall getting a business license. We took the photo in a beautiful park outside the Art Institute. The name of our business? ImagecBucktown Studio DBA Bagmaker Supply. It’s been working out a lot better than that calendar-thing.

Oh, and if you were wondering about January, well, it was really just January in Chicago. I will say this: It wasn’t as cold as you might expect. Hey, for Chicago, that is a most excellent start for the year . And in if you were were also wondering about this, I have just about got that Windows ’95 stuff down cold. Nah, who am I kidding?

Our New Weekly Blog Post … A Featured Customer

I’m Denise, if you receive our weekly Etsy Store newsletter you’ve probably received some communication from me, either in an Etsy conversation, or an email. I am only half of Bagmarker Supply. George is my brilliant husband and partner. He’s the level-headed one who keeps the wheels of commerce turning here!

I am taking a new approach to this blog. I tried to do sewing tips and tutorials. I quickly realized that I am not nearly as good at it as my incredibly talented customers. I am going to be attaching this blog every week to our newsletter. I want to focus on you. I love talented people and I have met so many amazing, cool people through our Etsy store. This was initially going to be our Easter post. As many of you are aware, a family situation necessitated my flying out of town. So, we had to close the store for a while. I suppose it’s become a post-Easter post! Wow, the outpouring of support we received from you, was phenomenal. Thank you so very much. You, our customers, are what our business is all about. We love “talking” with you, sharing ideas, and we really are so moved by your kindness and good wishes. Generosity is the theme of this week’s post. Kathy Troost of Kathy’s Keepsakes is the embodiment of that spirit.

Image 9 Kathy has been working with and supporting strong, motivated women for years. She helps them face some incredibly difficult challenges. Kathy helps women who are struggling with addiction problems, homeless women, and those recently released from prison. They’re all people who are looking for second chances. She helps them find a chance, and build their confidence by sharing with them her skills and craftsmanship. She teaches purse making to the disenfranchised. Most of her hopeful clientele have never sewn before. The Detroit Rescue Mission is where Kathy does her important work. It’s a Christian organization in Detroit, Michigan. She calls her classes a “sewing experience” in three hours her students make an item that they can use and take away with them.

Kathy’s Etsy store is what mainly funds her important work. She sells fidget mats and Image 4other clever items in her store, Kathy’s Keepsakes. We hope you’ll support Kathy, either by looking at her Etsy store, or sending a donation to her through PayPal. The Mission itself does great work too, but it doesn’t fund her sewing room (you’ll find links to all at the end of this page) You will maybe even consider sending her some “misfit” hardware or fabric that you’re not using. Here are some photos of some happy people who have completed the sewing experience. Kathy’s work really, truly matters. I love it so much when someone is using “our craft,” that of bag making, to make such a difference.

Image 1You can also be generous in another way. Great, quick, easy project ideas and tips for things that even an absolute beginner can be proud to make in an afternoon. I know that our customers are a great bunch of people. You can definitely give back, even if you’re only giving back with your great ideas. Once your Etsy store is a huge success, we know you’ll send a generous endowment! But until that time, the gift of a project idea or a fantastic tip will be most welcome. Please try to help this great sewing room any way you can!

Since this is a weekly blog, I do want to share a couple of other things that have been on my mind this past week, one is irritating but unavoidable, the other makes me both happy and a little melancholy.

Image6As all of you who own small businesses are aware, last week the tax man came calling (if you didn’t guess, that was the BAD thing!) Oh, I guess it’s not that bad. But it sure is annoying to drop everything and get all of your ducks in a row (in this case, I guess it’s more like getting your docs in a row, huh?) for Uncle Sam. We got through it with flying colors. And I really have to admit, the aforementioned brilliant husband did all the work, save providing some of those documents, and signing my half of the (finally!) finished return. Whew!

Image 7Finally, the happy / sad. This time of year always reminds me of my mom, Rosemary. Her birthday was last month. Sadly, this past week was the 7th anniversary of the day she passed away at 87. I miss her every single day. She was always funny and quick-witted. Mom taught me to sew, as many moms do. She endowed me with a love of all sorts of creative pursuits. She was an expert at many kinds of needlework -crocheting and embroidery, etc.  She also liked to paint landscapes. I inherited her love of words, puzzles, and reading. My mom was a spitfire as a young girl, here’s a photo. On the left is my mom. On the right is the herb, rosemary with which she shared her name. If you know anything about flower and plant “meanings” Rosemary is for remembrance. Kind of fitting, huh?

These are some links that will help Kathy: You can buy great items in her Etsy store, 100% of her profits fund her classes: To send her a financial gift, you can reach her at please consider a donation using PayPal, or she’ll send you an address to mail a check. The Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries houses Kathy’s project, but does not fund it. Please think about supporting them too. Here’s their site: Finally, Kathy’s beautiful sewing room was built by another great organization which we didn’t touch on. But they deserve a mention for the unique services that provide to many charitable organizations: Enchanted Makeovers, please check out the very cool, things they are doing. This is their Face Book Page:

This week’s blog post was more personal than most. We are going to be showcasing some beautiful hardware, looking at the work of some extremely talented designers and pattern makers. We want to share some cool tips and tricks.  Also, we want to introduce you to some other interesting people, who have helped us.  We are sure their expertise in various fields will be of value to you and your business.  We hope to provide some inspiration and ideas that will help you, and of course, your business, thrive and grow.

Unnaturally Excited About Purse Handles…

Yes I am.  We got in the coolest purse handles this past week.  I am especially enthused about this bead-able handle:



I put the beads on it.  But you could give it tons of different looks, depending on how you embellish it.  How about this:


Or this…?


Oh, one more thing…if you NEED these bead-able handles, you can get them right here:

Okay, I’ll stop now.  Besides, this week I’m going to be waxing rhapsodic over zippers… Yeah, I know, I have a real problem…sorry.

Ramp Up Your Bagmaking!

Adding a zipper lining pocket to a purse or tote bag definitely adds value.  This simple addition will make your bag more desirable and more salable.  Our new tutorial shows you an easy method of installing a zippered pocket.  It doesn’t take long to do, and it may mean the difference between selling and not selling your bag!

Be Glad They Weren’t Selfies…

Yesterday I took 543 pictures. Nah, I didn’t actually count. But my camera did. It let me know the grand total when I downloaded them. Or maybe it was the computer cluing me in…do you wish to download 543 images? Yes, please. Would you like to caption them? Uhh…no thank you! I should explain: The other day a big heavy box of goodies arrived…new product for our store. After carefully receiving each piece and giving it an item number, I set about my photography duties. Now, Ansel Adams, I’m not. But I’m trying to be a passable tabletop photographer, and largely failing! Oh I suppose I’m okay at it, just okay. Impossibly shiny nickel plated hardware presents a lot of challenges to the photographer. I’ll be convinced that I’m capturing a piece just right, angling the lighting perfectly, catching a nice reflection, but diminishing the shadows. Then, magnified 8000 times on my computer screen, I’ll see it…..a tiny portrait of me, reflected in the shiny surface of a buckle. Yep, there I am, the camera obscuring much of my face, only the grim, frustrated but determined set of my mouth, revealing my identity and my disposition. So I guess I was taking selfies after all…

Welcome To Our Blog!

We’ve really been busy these last couple of weeks.  We’re trying to get Bagmaker Supply off the ground.  George has been working on applications for our website, I’ve been trying to complete several tutorials.  I’ve also been ordering new products.  That’s, of course, the fun part!  Browsing through catalogs, both on and offline.  Trying to imagine new, interesting ways to use various hardware items.  Spending money.  But trying to do so prudently, imagining what I would want to buy, trying to figure out what other people want to buy.  Negotiating with manufacturers, trying to always find the best value.  We want to be able to offer wholesale pricing to our customers.   Occasionally averting disaster.  I very nearly ordered ten dozen purse handles from a supplier abroad that, as it turns out,  has a reputation for often not actually shipping  orders once they have your money.   Live and learn!  I think that this incident has taught me to research everything very carefully before I commit.  I’m gearing up for Tutorial Tuesday, which will start tomorrow.