This post is also available in: Finnish
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but I used to work as an industrial seamstress for seven years. At the time I found it quite hard, even stressful. I didn’t see any upsides to my job and the repeating movements were killing my wrists. When I finally decided to quit, it felt like I had wasted all those years of my life.
It took me a couple of years of reflecting back before I was able to see all the great things that came from having that job. I learned a great deal about mass production, industrial machinery, different sewing techniques and speed (you wouldn’t even believe!) Because of that job I am better at what I do today. I know what’s demanded of a quality item, and I settle for no less. I constantly try out new ways of sewing and improving my models. This is beneficial both to me and my customers.
Let me show you a real life example of what I’m talking about. I’ve made these reversible bags for quite a while now. When I first designed the model I wanted it to be large enough to possibly work as an overnight bag. I wanted it to be simple (I guess most of us Scandinavian folk prefer simplicity), and I wanted the design to work with upcycled materials, which usually come in odd shapes and sizes. I managed to achieve all these goals but while I was sewing these bags I noticed something.
As much as I love what I do and feel passionate about sustainability and improving the environment, I’m still running a business and paying a lot of taxes. As an entrepreneur I need to be sure all of my items make sense, I mean business sense. I realized sewing these bags took too much time. I had to price them higher than I wanted to, which is higher than I would like my customers to pay for them. They were also getting a little too bulky to fit into the packages I use, which meant the mailing costs were getting too high. So something needed to be done.
I didn’t want to ditch the bag completely because I really like it – I’m totally a fan of large bags so that I can carry my whole life with me wherever I go (please tell me I’m not the only one..!) Because of my past in the industrial sewing world I was able to fix the problem – actually I was able to fix all of them. I changed the design just a tiny bit so that I now have pleats in the middle of the bag, instead of rouching all the way from side to side. This little detail makes sewing a lot faster. The second thing I changed was the shoulder strap. I used to cut and sew it from the beginning. Now I’m using upcycled waistbands from thrifted jeans. I get it done a lot faster, it’s more sustainable as I don’t have to use fabric (or throw those waistbands away), and they also have these really cool details that give the bag even more character.
The last thing I changed was that I’m now using only 1 layer of fabric for the top part of the bag. It required some brainstorming to figure out how I can sew the bottom parts into it, in a way that the bag would still be reversible. But I did, and managed to make it less bulky – and with the right fabric choices I can reduce the weight and the mailing costs of the bag.
Because of these minor changes I am now reducing the price of these bags. From now on you can get an overnight shoulder bag for a new price of 54,90€ – well, you actually get 2 bags as it is reversible! For that price you get a unique, handmade item that no-one else in this world has, you support a one-woman-business, and you are making a difference and saving the environment by choosing an upcycled item. Thank you for all of that! Please remember you can always send a request for a custom order, if you want your bag in certain colors. There’s no extra charge!
You can find these shoulder bags in the Accessories-section of my shop.