Monday, January 2, 2017

NokHoo Interview: Snapshots from Paris

Today's NokHoo interview is with Anne, a School Historian who uses her Raining Paradise bag for work and, recently, took it with her on vacation to Paris! I asked Anne to describe how she uses her bag...

"I use my bag every single day for work. I work at a school where I switch campuses daily and have to bring my laptop with me back and forth. In the back compartment I keep my computer and any work files I need to travel with. In the front half of the main compartment I keep personal papers and I usually can get my purse into that area, too. I like having two internal sections since I can empty one when I get home and leave the work things undisturbed.

"The outside large pocket fits my makeup bag, spare USB and power cords. The side mesh pockets fit my phone and iPod in one side and either sunglasses or keys in the other. I like having two side pockets to keep my keys separate so they don't scratch things up, and I like that they are mesh so I can see at a glance where stuff is.

"I also use this as my go-to carry-on bag when I fly. I don't bring my computer with my when I travel, but this fits everything I need for flying, especially with my grade school-aged daughter. It fits a spare outfit for each of us, portable DVD player, a DVD case, a few books for me, puzzle books and magazines for her and my wallet and make-up. It fits under the seat in front of me so I can access it multiple times during the flight." 

What does she like most about her bag?

"I love that it is a stylish back pack. I was having serious hip and back problems to the point of pursuing surgery. I tried a Chiropractor first and, after an x-ray of my spine, we could see that I had a serious sideways bend in my lower back. This was from carrying a bag on one shoulder since high school and college. Ditching my old laptop bag and actually wearing both straps of my NokHoo bag has made a MAJOR difference in my health. Plus I get a million compliments on it!"

(I'm so happy to hear this! When I designed these bags, I really wanted them to be good for your back, especially if you have to lug around a lot of stuff.)

How did Anne's NokHoo do in Paris?

"I loved bringing my NokHoo bag to France with me. It didn't make me look like a tourist and it had everything I needed for the flight. It was a great bag to have on the serious walking days when I needed my water bottle and sweater and spare shoes."

Thanks to lovely Anne for posing with her Raining Paradise bag in Paris and for taking the time to chat about her bag. As always, check out our website to see the latest NokHoo styles!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Hoo-liday sale is on!!

Totally amazing bags for $99 (instead of $149)... free shipping.
Through 1/2/17.  So exciting.
here (my site):
or here (Etsy):

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What I Learned...

Hooray, my first retail show is over!  It was six days of standing, smiling and hoping to connect with anyone who walked by.  Before the show I was just nervous that I wouldn't break even but I did much more than that (!!!).  Totally exhausting but many bags found new owners and I learned a TON.  

Here are some things I learned:
1) Tiny tweaks to the display make a BIG difference!  That little sign "Great for commuters, students... etc." totally sparked ideas.
2) People responded enthusiastically to the quality and design details — this was totally gratifying.  
3) There's something in the air.  One day (and only on that day) five people asked if the pen holders were for bullets.  The next day (only on that day) four people asked if it was a makeup bag.  One day I sold a ton of DeLoverly (the red one), the next day I sold everything but DeLoverly.  So strange.

I could go on and on.  I'm still processing it all and sorting out next steps.  NokHoo is headed to a wholesale show in Seattle in January so I'll be applying what I've learned there for sure.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hello, Christmas Bazaar!

Today I made my first real foray into selling at a craft show.  At the eleventh hour (I think it was last  Thursday) I decided to sign up for America's Largest Christmas Bazaar here in Portland.  I had one week to prep a booth and, oh, also get ready to host Thanksgiving.  Here are the pics from day one:

Here's what went wrong: 
1) wet paint on the display (I painted it two days ago but it's so humid from the rain it didn't dry!!) 
2) the sign was dropped in the rain as we unpacked the car and I had to re-work it as the show opened
3) I misread the paperwork and so we weren't able to set up until two hours before the show started
4) I ache from standing!!

Here's what went right:
1) great conversations with people who appreciated the workmanship and detail in the bags
2) the dude who gave me rum and coke on the sly after I had been standing for six hours (yes!)
3) awesome people watching
4) customers, hooray!!

All-in-all it was a great first day.  Even what went wrong feels good once you're on the other side of it (I think that paint must be dry by now).  I have another five days to go and will need a massage at the end but I'm especially enjoying the conversations with customers — feedback is priceless.  Cheers to another good day and more selling tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NokHoo Interview: The Cruising Crooner

It's time for another interview and today I'm talking with Dustin, a talented musician and proud owner of the NokHoo Sirrush bag. Dustin is part of the a cappella quartet The Neptunes who currently grace the stage of the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship. When he's not traveling the high seas, he's home rehearsing new music. During one of his breaks from cruising, I asked Dustin to talk about how he uses his bag...

"I mainly use my bag for transporting my Apple laptop and music folder to rehearsal 3-5 nights a week. The thing I like most about my bag is that it's very versatile and has pockets for anything I need to bring. Not only is the inside clean and stylish, but there's a ton of space.
I use the main pocket with the velcro strap for my laptop so that I know it's securely set in the pocket. I use the remaining large pocket for my binder full of music as well as anything else I need (gum, cough drops, etc.). I also use the cell phone pocket on the strap to carry my iPod Touch which has a keyboard application on it."
Dustin's favorite detail is the buckle on the front of the bag (which I'm glad to hear since it was a custom-made labor of love). Here's a little snippet of The Neptunes singing "For the Longest Time" on their last cruise, Dustin is on the left. SUPER talented and a NokHoo fan, you can't beat that. Thanks for the interview, Dustin!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Drawing Dr. Seuss in the Desert

I just came back from a trip to Phoenix, AZ and got to spend a little time in the desert.  Coming from the lush NW I thought it looked so barren at first but the more time I spent wandering around the landscape, the more I grew to love it.  I got really excited to draw the plants, which look like they came out of a Dr. Seuss book — so much quirky character.

My 4-year-old daughter was with me and one of the things I love to do is to draw collaboratively with her.  I draw something, she draws on top and so on…  the results get goofy but that's the fun of it.  The drawing above is one of those.  She named the plants (in case you're wondering why I wrote "crazy sparkle shirt" and "lined butterfly tattoo" next to the cacti).

Here's another (non-collaborative) drawing.  I'm loving colored sketchbooks these days.  I think it's 108 degrees in Phoenix now so I'm glad to be back but it was so beautiful I'll definitely return!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Joy of Color Matching (or not)

I was reminded today of the importance of color-matching and, feeling sure that everyone would find this fascinating, got all excited to write a blog post about it.  I'm sitting at my favorite tea shop writing and re-writing these sentences and realizing that, perhaps, this is a REALLY nerdy topic and can't possibly sound interesting to anyone but me.  But I'm going for it anyway so bear with me!  Here's why I think color-matching is an unappreciated art…

Nearly everything you wear or have around your home has multiple parts that need to match.  I was recently deconstructing old NokHoo sample bags and noticing how many elements had to match:
1) the main fabric
2) thread
3) elastic
4) zippers
5) mesh pockets
6) twill tape
7) straps

If you sew you probably have some idea how difficult it is to get all of these elements to coordinate.  It's nearly impossible to source off-the-shelf bits and pieces that happen to match.  I spent the first part of my career working for big companies that had whole departments in place for this and I spent HOURS staring at colors, commenting on them and sending them back until they were just right.  (As any old coworker reading this can confirm!)  Getting colors to match isn't as simple as mixing the same percentage of red, yellow and blue into a dye.  Many times each element is made in a different factory,   weather and humidity play a part and a huge factor is the type of material being dyed (plastic, elastic, natural and synthetic fabrics, etc.).

When I initially had the NokHoo bags made I was lucky to have a partner in India, where they have the manufacturing infrastructure to match colors.  Now I'm back in the US and starting to source and manufacture here.  I'm excited to work locally but, since US manufacturing has virtually disappeared, these tiny, but important, details are both difficult to find and difficult to afford.  Which means that, when you accidentally find a color that matches, it's really exciting!  Here's my serendipitous find that inspired this blog post…

Hooray! For my upcycling project a perfect match with the blue bag.  I'm making this into a kiss lock purse which I'll post as soon as it's complete.  So, when you look at the stuff you own, take a moment to appreciate all the matching parts, it's truly an art!