Monthly Archives: March 2011

Another week..


It has been a busy week here in Vietnam..

All the bags were received in Australia and Hong Kong, Lisa has been busy selling in Hong Kong, it looks like the girls of Hong Kong like a bit of Bling, as the most popular bag has been the Silver Croc.

Mia Tui is going to be sold in Bumps to Babes, which is fantastic news as it is the biggest and best baby store in Hong Kong, we will be giving away free the Baby Changing Mat with every bag brought, the Amelie bag really does make a fantastic baby bag.

The bags have made it into 3 shops in Australia, I will take it slow building the business in Australia, as I am not familiar with the country, but I was given an opportunity from Kerry a lady I met here in Vietnam who said she would help me.  So let’s see how the bags sell and I will launch the On-line shop later in the year.

Good news for me this week, I have found a continual supplier for fabric, this was really concerning me as I am buying in the local market and they don’t have the same fabric twice, or rarely do. Now I can have fabric made in any colour or design, I just have to buy a 1000m roll..! So now to decide on what to make..!

The new sample came in yesterday the smaller version of the Amelie bag.. This will appeal to people who don’t have to drag the kitchen sink around with them, but still want to be organised.

You still get the unique interior, the insulated water-bottle holder, key clips, phone pocket which now has a pen pocket on the front. There is a sunglass/glasses holder so you don’t have to root around
at the bottom of your bag to find them. The security clips on the side of the bottle holder so you can secure you insert bags.
It comes with a clutch bag and a clear insert bag.

The website is nearly there.. hopefully it will be finished within the week, and then I need to pack up the bags, mats and kid’s ruck sacks for delivery to the UK..

The kids are on holiday this week, so I am heading to the beach for a few days, get out of the city and get some fresh sea air.. I am going back to the resort I first had the idea for the bags..!!!

Until next time..

MT


How it began.


I have been thinking about my blog and what I want to get out of it, what I want is it to be is a record of me trying to start-up a new business here in Vietnam and the up’s and downs along the way.

It is not easy to start your own business and you have to be very fortunate to find some wonderful people to help you on your way, and already in the short time I have been making bags some amazing people have come my way, so it would be nice to recognise them.

So how did the bags come about, well it wasn’t like I was really a “bag” type of girl, I would never spend much money on a bag, but I did have this one bag that I brought from Tesco’s (Supermarket in the UK) that was the perfect size for me with two kids but I could never find anything in it as there were no pockets.

So on a girl’s weekend away to the beach I got to asking everyone what would make the perfect bag.. armed with a pen and paper I started to design the interior of the perfect bag. Someone had a Penny Scallan bag that they liked – good size but the fabric went mouldy in the humidity.

Now came the problem of where do I start finding someone to produce the bag,  I went to Manish here in Vietnam, he had made some “Saigon Shopper” bags for an expat who sold them at bazaars, he was willing to help us but was unable to source the fabric I was looking for. 

He did however produce the very 1st Mia Tui bag from my dimensions.. Mmm I could have fitted both my kids in the bag.. So we made some adjustments and got to an OKish bag, but not really what I had in my mind..! I wished I could have kept the 1st bag he made me.. Just for a laugh.!

I went looking in the local market and found the type of fabric that I was looking for, and a great interior fabric..so I was getting closer.

My husband works here in Vietnam and has some good contacts that produced gift sets for him, so I went to see Mrs Hang.. She got me the 1st Mia Tui sample that was pretty close to what I had in my mind, but she struggled to find me a factory that could produce the bags..

So off I went back to the UK for the summer break with my sample bag from Mrs Hang.. I loved it, I could find everything I needed all the time, there were a few little design flaws..

When I got back to Saigon in Aug a good friend of mine Guy gave me a contact of a man who could find me a factory to produce the bags.. he didn’t speak a word of English so I got Lan to come and translate, he arranged a meeting for me at a factory.

 I arranged to have someone on the end of a phone who could translate if needed and off I went to the factory.. This is where an amazing girl came my way, and I will always be indebted to her..

Van – her brother owned the factory and she gave me the break I needed to get the bags produced, Van has worked for Coach and she knows all about bags and how to make them.. she got  a sample made up and then we slightly modified  it so the bag could have a zip closing, Van and I sat on the factory floor with the workers getting the closure of the zip right. The first sample Van Made below..

Van has been with me every step of the way, yes we have made mistakes.. Van has cut the interior of the fabric wrong on 2 separate occasions.. We have now thrown that pattern in the bin..!

But we have learnt so much and every bag I sell or see someone at the airport carrying my bag.. I feel so proud.

I have just finished producing for the 2nd time, production has increased by 200% and I will be shipping to the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and will dip my toe in the Australian market.

There have been some steep learning curves this time, on what types of fabric to use.. I have personally ironed the interior of 200 odd bags.. and I will be attaching tags and packing them all myself in the next few days..

I have a big thank you to say to Simone who has helped with the bag tag design, logo design and was the person who created our 1st website..  She is truly a great friend.

Also to all my friends here in Vietnam who I must bore to death with all my stories of bag making.. Sometimes it is the only thing I can think of..!

Lastly there is Lauren who I started this whole journey with, and if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have got off my backside and started a business.. She has a job, 2 gorgeous kids and just didn’t have the time available.

So I begin the next round of selling.. Lisa in Hong Kong is on stand-by, the bags will be with you soon,  and we will have two hard days of selling to the ladies in Singapore.

I just hope everyone love’s the bags.

My two Friends Sarah & May modeling the bag’s                               You can use the bag as a great baby bag