April 13, 2017

My first Etsy sale.

I opened my Etsy boutique on the 21st of March 2017.
I listed few items. and was trying to get a grip of the Etsy interface when on the 24th of March my first order came in.
I was really surprised and not ready, but I tried my best to be able to process this first order in a timely manner.
But, of course things never go has predicted or wanted.
Because my store was open for only 4 days, I could not send the package right away, Etsy has a 5 days delay for new accounts.
So I waited 5 days, and checked the status of the order on Etsy's side, Etsy was still telling me not to send the order yet as the processing was not over.
After 10 days I received an email from Etsy asking me to update my bank data, which I did right away, doing so added 3 more days to the processing of the order on Etsy's side.
I started to get nervous as I advertise a 1 working day handling.

So I sent an email to my buyer, to explain the delay, email to which unfortunately I had no answer.
After 2 days I decided to send the package anyways.
The buyer was located in NY USA, so I prepared my package with a nice protective bag around the Vintage Cartier hand bag, leather instructions and of course a goodie to thank my buyer for her patienty, I informed my buyer of this, still no answer.
Anyhow, I went to my local post office, the guy there did not seem to know how to send a package to the US...we struggled, and finally settled for the correct fee, which was 18.62 EUR according to his computer post thingy.

I felt better knowing the package was sent even thought Etsy has not transferred the money to me yet.
I wanted to make my fisrt costumer experience as fast and smooth as possible.
I sent the package on the 1st of April.
On Friday the 7th, I received a note from the post, asking me to pay for the package, they asked for 21 EUR!
I could not fathom why, the note said that I did not franked my package enough, it is not like I decided, here in Holland you go to the post office, and the employee tells you how much it costs, sticks the label on the box, you pay and that is it, you do not chose the fare yourself!
The note also said that even though the fees where not up to what it should be, they anyhow sent the package to its destination.
I was kind of perplex.
But then I thought what if they did not proceed to send the package further into its journey??
That would completely destroy my first sell, my first review, that would set me back stage one with some bad luggage for all my potential buyers to see.
So I called the post company, they told me the sticker was missing, so that is why I have to pay.
I a normal life set up, I would have never paid, because I did nothing wrong, but my reputation was on the line, so I paid.
I sold the bag for 90 EUR, and cost me 39,62 to ship, so not what I was expecting, but the sacrifice is worth, this is my first sale after all.
To this day I have no way to know if the buyer received the bag.
All I can do is send her an email, but so far it did not trigger an answer.
I will probably send her an email next Monday, to check.
Hopefully she on her side had no issues to receive the package.
Overall my first sale was enjoyable but stressful.
I've learned some lessons here for sure.
Next time will be more careful with the post guy, and stick some cello tape on the label, to make sure it does not go away.
Here is the beautiful Cartier Vintage hand bag I sent to America:

It is kind of special, it use to be owned by my husband's grandma, whom passed away last year.
It is kind of amazing to think that this beloved is set for a new life in the New World.

Since that sale, I am still longing for the next order, trying my best to pick, list and sell nice desired leather accessories.
I even listed some hand made earnings of my creation (5 EUR the pair, grab them form my Etsy boutique following the link on the side), to create traffic, but I have to say my dear beloved hand bags are the ones bringing traffic.
I am not sure if my sales will be triggered by my first review or not, I thought a sale would make people order, but so far nothing happens, so I have hopes that my first buyer's review will trigger more sales. Maybe delusional, but you got to find something to make run, right?

Stay tuned on my blog, to know if my buyer received the bag and the overall outcome of this adventure.

Picking, sunny days and new car.

The sunny days are finally there in The Netherlands, so to speak.
At least srping is really here, criters and other amphibians are coming out and somehow migrating to our garden.
A couple of frogs or toads thought our garden was romantic enough for them to mate there.
Which we do not mind, it's just that any creatures freak me out so you can imagine my nervousness when I saw them.
Nevertheless my disgust, we are animal lovers and just let them go about their business...

Aren't they cute in their own way?

That afternoon I spent listing my new beloved leather accessories onto Etsy, I would never have guessed how time consuming this is, but rewarding as listing does bring a pick in my boutique trafic, so worth it!

I listed a hand bag I got from a man who was selling it on our local craiglist (marktplaats).

This wonderful beloved bag was made by a company called Cellarich.
They do only custom or on demand items, they do not seem to produce this model anymore, which is making it a special one to me.
You can check them out here:

In short: 
Cellarrich has been founded in 1993 by 4 former students (textile arts) in Amsterdam.The original location was a cellar on the Prinsengracht. Here arises the name cellar-rich. From this “cellar” we delivered tailored made bags and small leather goods.
In 1997 Cellarrich moved to a shop on the Haarlemmerdijk. The Cellarrich collection was no longer produced in our own workshop. From that moment Cellarrich stopped with tailor made products and started with a large basic collection of clasp wallets, small leather goods and bags produced elsewhere. Since then Cellarrich works  together for the productions with a small Dutch family company and with a factory with a social mentality in the Czech Republic. Together with these two companies Cellarrich is constantly looking for balance between beautiful, durable and affordable products. The products are all very basic and the collection only changes a little each season. The diversity of the collection is in the amount of colours and materials. The leather that Cellarrich uses comes from The Netherlands and Italy.

That same day I also listed a new beloved hand bag, a very cute and elegant white bag, on which the leather have been cut out by hand superficially to reveal the core of the leather, a nice soft brown colour.
I also got this cutie from marktplaats, funny enough, the lady who sold it to me, could not be there, at the time we agreed I should come to pick it up.
This was April the 1st, and she told me:
'You know what? I will just leave in it in a bag next to our trash bin, and you just slip the money through the mail box!'
I agreed, thinking to myself that it might be an April's fool.

So there it was, 1st of April, hubby agreed to drive me there in our brand new ride, it was in my city, so no long travel.
We parked, I exit the car, and there it was the zip lock bag with my new beloved inside, just next to the trash bin.
I picked it up and slipped the money through the mail box as agreed.
Few hours later, I got a text from the lady, thanking me and wishing me good times with the cutie.
I really went with the idea of a scam or a joke, but no this was really happening, and I am really happy, that this kind of transaction, laced with trust can still happen, trust in humanity restored a bit for me.
Now the said cutie:

I am so stocked about this one really. You can grab it from my Etsy store, link here on the side.
It is now 20% off, a real bargain.

Hubby and I are both picking, listing and reselling as a hobby.
In order to enlarge our stock we needed to be mobile.
Our old French car was dying on us, only starting when it wanted to, very frustrating when you have a appointment for a pick with a very tight time slot.
So we went car shopping.
I do not have my driving licence, never had the use of it, while living in Paris.
So I basically have no idea of what a good car to drive is.
But I do have ideas on what is a comfortable car for the for of us, as the kids and I, have motion sickness in cars.
My one and only requirement for the new car was that it should not be to low or to close from the floor.
I call it a high car!
Hubby looked at many models and brands, to finally settle on , can you guess?
A French one!
He settled on the new Captur from Renault, which is a small SUV, big SUV's like in the US are rare where I live and no one has the use for such a big car, so let's call the new car a SUV!
Here is the new ride, in which now I am very comfortable going picking, without getting motion sickness too much:

If you look closely you can see my little red head fairy taking the picture.

Hoping to travel and pick like never with our new ride, exciting days ahead.

Keep tuned on my blog for more adventures.

March 30, 2017

Chic n' Joy's blog changes direction, my new Etsy shop...

Dear followers,

Sewing and crafting is still my thing and will still be present on this blog.
But old Chic n' Joy sewing and crafting look is gone for the better...

I have been really busy this past few months, hunting and picking the best Vintage Leather Goods I could find out there.

I found myself being really disappointment at high end leather goods lately, the quality, the materials are not up to what the standards of the industry use to be.

I noticed that Leather is less and less popular, for the wrong reasons I believe.
The vegetarian trend, the vegetarian leather trend (by the way vegetarian leather is not a thing, or it is leather or it is not, if it is not it is plastic (PU) manufactured to look like leather, but without the proprieties of real leather). The pricing on leather goods is not that high but leather seams to be completely forgotten by the new generation.

You can now buy a high street handbag for 160 EUR, made out of PU! This item will start to show signs of wears and tears pretty quick.
My dear friend purchased a G***s handbag a while back, I let you guess, pun intended!
A year after her purchase, threads are coming out of the straps, the varnish on the PU is coming off, a waste of money if you ask me

We as humans have been wearing leather since ever, we know how to work it and we know how to 'harvest' it in a proper way, I will not expand myself on the subject... But giving new life to vintage leather goods is in no way cruel or against animal activism. Those goods are already produced, and for some of my Etsy's shop items are more than 40 years old! I believe we passed the 'moral phase' on those. I am myself an animal lover and I will never condon cruelty against animals.
The goods I gather, are honouring the animal, by the way they are made (high quality finishes) and by their life span which again can be more than a life time. Leather is a good investment, that you can pass on. I am not triggering a surge in the leather production here.

A leather item will last you a lifetime and more, why on earth would you buy PU, fake leather?
PU does not last, and you are lucky if it lasts more than 6 months without any visible damages that will ultimately prevent you from using the item, like the straps snapping.

Armed with my knowledge on the matter (I am a Fashion Industry Graduate), I decided to go on a journey to find and provide the best Vintage Leather Goods items out there for you to enjoy, and give them a new happy life.

On this blog you will for now on find, my newest and latest Vintage leather finds.
I will share my journey's, share stories about those vintage items and how I got my hand on them.

I will share/post more often than I use to.

Chic n' Joy on Etsy

You can already visit and buy on my Etsy shop: Chic n' Joy
follow the link on the left side of this article.

All my Vintage Leather Goods are made out of leather, and each sees its leather treated to renew and extend its life span.
I provide a very handy fabric draw string bag for you to store your new loved one the best way possible.
We also give you an insight into the leather life, what to expect, what is normal on a leather, with care instructions.

I will post the care instructions on my blog to make those info available for any Leather lover.

September 18, 2011

From hubby's hoodie to cute skirt for me!

My husband made a bit of cleaning in his closet, so there I was with a mountain of old t-shirts and sweat shirts.

The grey and the lines pattern on this sweat shirt caught my eyes, I thought hum! A cute skirt maybe...

Not visible on the pic, but there is a huge pocket on the front bottom.

Here is how I did it:
First you have to cut the skirt's panels.
Like this:

secure with pins.

Then cut out two bands out of one of the sleeves, you need them to be a half of your waist size and add about 5 mm to the length for both bands, for ease. If your waist is 66 cm, then you need two bands of 33,5 cm. The height of the waist band for me was 4,5 cm, do not forget to leave 1 cm seam allowance all around.

Now you have all two pieces for the skirt.
Now, back to the skirt's panel, first you need to unsew a small part on one seam to insert the zip, secure the seam with your sewing machine.
Serge the top edge.
To make the gathering you need to sew a straight line on the panels at 1 cm from the top edge, secure that straight line with a back point but do not do it at the end, leave a good amount of thread a the end.
Now just pull the under thread (the one that cam out of the can on your sewing machine).
See it's starts to gather, do it till it matches the length of the waistband
Now the waistband; sew the two bands together and iron the seam flat, then apply some fusible to the wrong side of the waistband, to give it some strength and serge the band.
Fold it in the length and iron it.
Sew waistband and skirt together following the gathering line on the skirt.
Pull out the gathering threads.
Insert zip.
Iron the whole thing, and you are done!

See the pocket!?
It was so easy to make!

September 13, 2011

From Grand-ma's skirt to Back to school dress for Grand-daugther.

It's time!
Every kids all around the world are getting back to school.

My four years old daughter attend her first day ever at school, she was so excited to finally go to school, since she was 2 years old, she was asking me : "when do I start to go to school, like my brother?" She doesn't speak English as her first language, so it was all in a French/Ducth/English mixed language, so it was more like : "C'est quand que je vais op school als mijn broer? I find her even cuter when she does that mix! And makes me feel sad, cause I know she won't do it that often now that she goes to school her Dutch will be more structured and so her French will fade a bit I think. As for her English, well TV helps a lot, and she has a great accent.

So, the day comes and I decided that for her first day at school she needed a brand new dress.
But, I didn't wanted to buy any, so I put my head straight in my stash, and found this great pink linen skirt that my mother in law gave me, she didn't wear it any more and wasn't my style at all, since it has great amount of fabric I thought it was great for this project, and the girl really liked the colour.

Linen skirt

September 12, 2011

Tutorial, Wall art," Save Money, Live Better": reuse! Silhouettes, oups! I did it again!

still some finishing touch to do here, was done and then gone so I don't have any other pictures!

After my last  wall art were done and hang in our living room, I had a lot of compliments and even an order for two wall art silhouettes!
So, I did it again, this time I had to make the silhouette of a family member who is well known for always having a broom in hand, and the second one is her partner who have the same "tic" but with a rake, you need to know that they are not crazy at all, they are just retired, so they have plenty of time to broom the house and rake the garden's grass, I guess.
They were very happy with the result.
I made them the same way as the previous ones, cut out by hand with scissors of different sizes.
This time it was less painful though!

June 29, 2011

Smurfette goes Haute Couture accessories

Smurfette/Schtroumpfette source: smurfs.wikia.com

The 29th of july, "The Smurfs" the movie is set to come out!
(movie trailer below)

Until then, someone is already on her way to become a A-lister!
This month's issue of Harper's Bazaar, there is a focus on young blue starlet/fashionista: Smurfette.
For the occasion she poses joyfully wearing Marc Jacobs, Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana and sure Louis Vuitton!

See the looks after the jump...