Have you ever thought how your Blythe Leonard bag was made? Or how I keep up all my different roles, tasks, stores, orders and customs? Well, I began to think about what I was going to write about this month and I remembered something that people ask me almost weekly now. “How do you do it all?” “How do you keep up?” “How do you make all of these bags?”
So, I thought I would tell you about a typical day running Blythe Leonard LLC
Usually, I start my day off my by grabbing my free cup of coffee and some breakfast across the street from my work at Poppa’s West Side Grille, go see Ann! (She is really nice!) I can sit at the counter, post my daily (I try very hard) Instagram post and respond to any Facebook comments, questions, emails, or messages.
Usually we will have a few appointments so the first thing I do is check my calendar to see what all I have that day. Turn on my branding machine to 250 degrees and turn on my burnishing machine to 300 degrees or so. A group of women plan to stop by to shop and see what the brand is all about before their monthly luncheon. We set up a tray of lemon cookies just for the ladies to enjoy! By 9:00, I’m meeting with a woman to discuss my story for an article in a magazine; I show her around the workshop, explain some processes and show her our latest custom work. Luckily, the client picked up her custom order and she was able to experience her reaction to her first sight of her new custom bag. She was so excited.
One of my orders is a custom hand dyed vegetable tanned leather wallet, so I get the pattern out and cut it out. It calls for a tan dye, so I dyed the pieces.
We have a collection that we are working on for a local shop and we begin to make pattern after pattern for the new store. We always make one sample first before making any to send out. So we make one item, check the measurements and move on. Cutting of the leather is the first thing that we do and then we begin to stitch one stitch by one stitch, watching to carefully make sure we are on the straight and narrow. Trimming leather, burnishing, edge coating, and adding the hardware is all in the next steps of the process and adding our logo is the final touch, specifically on this product. Hey, I can’t give away what we are working on, it’s a surprise!
One by one we create the products and finish them off, place the tag and put them in a bag to be transported to the photo room. By noon our mail has arrived and our sample leather color has arrived from our tannery. We are specifically matching a color swatch to the leather dye. It ends up being way too expensive at this moment so I call the tannery and tell them lets hold off for right now. Our fabric has also arrived for print approval, and it looks great! We call to discuss the pricing information further. The women come in the shop and ooo and ahh and “oh I like that one! Oh I love that one!” Sorry ladies, I couldn’t help but hear the giggles and the compliments from my cutting room!
I finish the dying of the wallet.
Another custom order appointment is in ten minutes and we sit down to discuss her dream bag. We bring the leather hides out, the lining fabrics, and the hardware choices to show her. We discuss her bag for about ten minutes and it is in my sketchbook for my to do list. A bag order the day before called for a specific zipper, so I order it and get ready to make my customs for the week. I get back to creating the pieces I started that day and finish what it was I wanted to get finished.
By 2:00, one of my models arrive and we begin to choose her outfits out for the shoot. My models’ wardrobe consists of Raleigh Denim and Hudson Jeans, handmade jewelry, French Pastry and Carole’s Collection shirts, and much more, all made in the USA. We turn on all the lighting fixtures, test lighting, turn on the radio and begin to click away. We go out in the warehouse and outside to get more advertisement photos and stay in the studio for more product shot photos with the model.
Another custom order at 3:00, she wants a specific color and texture leather hide that I do not have in the workshop. She is concerned that she will have to pay for the entire cowhide for her one bag, since it is something that we can use in the shop I tell her it is no problem and we move on. As soon as the consultation is over I call the tannery and order the hide. The bag will be made within the week.
My email said that my zipper shipped. Yay!
Remember that wallet I hand dyed at the beginning of the day? It will be there in the morning to do first thing.
After work, I begin to edit the photos we took and get them ready to post. I respond to my emails that I received during the day and I respond again to all social media accounts. I begin to work on some vector files of designs to be manufactured within the next few weeks and I call the screen printer. He is ready for them. I order the fabric that is made in USA for the collection. I do some follow up phone calls for potential new accounts and I begin writing my thank you emails to my custom orders.
Tomorrow will be something different I know for sure. I love my job and I love being able to create every day of my life. I want to extend a sincere thank you for supporting my dream to bring back American manufacturing jobs to North Carolina. Without my clients, without my cheerleaders, without the believers that we as a whole can bring back manufacturing, my brand would not be what it is today. We are growing every day and I cannot wait to see what we have in store in the future!