As most of you know I am attempting to live a creative life by making yoga mat bags and such. You may think it must so cool to have this freedom of doing something different, but let me tell you: it is NOT all hunky-dory. Sometimes it means having an A-ha moment in designing, only to realize that making that design, and more importantly, USING that design may not be feasible. So you start again, improve, make, sell, and repeat.
Here is an example of my first bags that were all handmade by my super nice sister-in-law and myself. I was excited for two reasons: a) I finally learnt to use a sewing machine (after many meltdowns, mind you!) and b) the idea in my head was not so bad, after all :) I am so grateful for the folks who purchased these and gave me the motivation to make more.
Sometimes your designs may not match the market. For instance, I thought I hit the jackpot when I made a batch of bags keeping the male yoga participants in mind. I got canvas fabric and ‘manly’ colors, only to have no takers for this set for nearly 6 months! I just could not understand why, considering that men have such limited choices in yoga accessories. In fact, I still have one of those bags left for sale.
Anyway, then came the cotton silk bag design, which I am most proud of, FYI. I loved the colors of the cotton silk fabrics and the sari trims that went with it, but designing those bags took a LOT of time and effort..more than any of my previous bags.
But with every bag I have made my moment of pride is always overcome by my anxiety about a potential buyers’ reaction. Sometimes I just want to design the product and bask in that glory, without having to worry about sales.
At least, I do feel that my approach to design has become more methodical. For instance, the latest batch of bag designs is a result of brainstorming with some real yoga participants who suggested an all-purpose tote bag. Again, that design went through some versions: the first one, was too long, and the straps were not correctly attached; the second one had burlap straps, which some people may not like because it can be itchy; some people may ONLY WANT burlap straps….
This attempt was followed by making a coordinating small pouch so that you are not fishing for your small items in the big bag.
And now I can safely say that I am happy with the outcome. So you can see that even something as basic as a tote bag comes after some failed attempts, and even then who knows if it will work. Ok, I am not all depressing, but I just want to paint a real picture for all those aspiring creative folks who need to know how things actually come into being.
Yes, there is the excitement when you touch fabric pieces and mix-n-match them and find some amazing combinations. Yes, there is satisfaction knowing that you are in control of the entire process, and yes, it is beyond measure when a customer leaves you feedback saying that your bag made their day! But to reach that stage, you will go through an evolution in your process, and yourself. Just be patient. There is someone out there for your piece of art. Speaking of, do you know of any male yogi who needs a yoga mat bag? :)