Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Being a person who loves to be a creator and build with my hands, I really enjoy watching these kind of shows and seeing craftsmanship at work behind the scenes. I myself have a select group of luxury clients that I create for.
When the very rich spend money, they want the best in quality. It takes special craftsmanship to create luxury items.
It is a win, win all around. it keeps craftsmen employed, and the rich spending their money for quality items.
Luxury items are works of art. It truly is a labor of love for the creator / artist, and an investment for the buyer.
Luxury buyers are not purchasing mass produced items made on an assembly line. These people want custom made one of a kind high quality items that will last, and they are willing to pay for it.
So the best that you are at your craft, the more you can keep yourself employed.
For the 1% of the people with money, there is also only 1% of true craftsmanship artists out there. Both share the passion of finely made items.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Friday, January 27, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Today, my friend and I ran over to the furniture consignment shop down from our salon.
They have the most beautiful furniture you have ever seen that people are trying to sell because they have lost their jobs which means they have lost their homes here in Florida.
And, some people just are tired of their furniture and want to buy new, so they send their items over to the consignment shop. Now mind you, this is no ordinary consignment shop. Everything they sell is top craftsmanship quality at huge discounted prices.
The store also sells draperies, paintings and other home dec items.
The owner was telling me that they will only sell custom made bedding, draperies and home dec items. The bedding and draperies she will only consign if made in the USA.
What she explained to me and showed me is the quality of work. People come to her consignment shop because of the quality craftsmanship. What came next really opened my eyes.
She told me, many people who make draperies and bedding try to have her sell them in her store. She said in all her years, the best quality items that are custom made per bedding, draperies, etc., come from outside of Florida and especially from the Carolina's.
As we talked, I mentioned that in the Carolina's is where the industry used to be. The textile factories, the furniture factories and so much more. The people who worked in those factories have the skill to create high quality custom made items. and since those factories have moved out of the country, there now has been a couple generations who lost those skills to be taught and applied.
But I was really surprised to hear quality custom sewing in Florida she says is not up to par.
The bedding, drapery, and furniture in her store is so beautiful. And at prices people can all afford. Example, a high end dining room hutch which sold brand new for $10,000 and is in perfect condition, is selling used for $1,200.
So what does this tell us per the quality of craftsmanship here where I live in Florida compared to the rest of our country? It is all about education and skill.
Above is a photo you can see on how the president is showing to rebuild our country. To bring manufacturing back, we need to keep our educational programs alive to teach the skills so we can produce again.
For people who say there are no bags made in the USA anymore, I would ask them "How much time and research have you put into finding this out?"
Here is a young company who has their bags made in NY. ---- YES, in NY!!
And guess what? Look at the age of the owners!
The youth will lead our country into a new beginning. But the consumers in the USA need to support them.
The quality is outstanding of a Hayden - Harnett bag!!
After all, the next pink slip could be handed to you at your job! Think about it!
Support Made In USA.
When American companies send jobs to China and other off shore countries, it trickles down to the smallest business in the USA.
So you like that bag that is made in China? (Read the country of origin tag inside). Think about how many people lost their manufacturing jobs when those bags were sent to China for production before you pull out that credit / debit card.
What American consumers do not understand, is that for every person that gets laid off from their job that was sent to places like China, it is a domino fall that has a cause and effect of other jobs right down to your job as well. No jobs mean people do not have money to buy. And in your job, if that happens, your pink slip is fast approaching.
Read your labels and tell your friends. If they act like they do not care, when their pink slip is handed to them, they will care then. The only way to rebuild our country is to rebuild jobs and the consumer needs to support the made in USA product.
If they don't want to participate or care, show them a map of China and ask when they will be giving up their USA citizenship, and where in China they will be moving to since they don't care about the USA......
Please my friends, read your labels before you buy! Your job could be next!
Americans, if you want to see change in our economy, it takes each and every person to participate.
Before you buy that high fashion handbag that is no longer made in America, but made in China (check your labels before you buy), please consider a made in the USA product/handbag.
And don't forget our Canadian neighbors. Support our friends in Canada who still employ people in a handbag factory.
If you have friends who buy those fashion bags made in China, please let them know they truly are NOT participating in rebuilding the USA economy. You will hear many say they don't care, they love the bag. Kindly remind them that when the job lay offs trickle down to where they work, and they are unemployed, that is when reality will set in and they will suddenly care.
Canada is our sister and we need to stick close to home by supporting Made in USA, Made In Canada, and fair trade items around the world (check for fair trade labels).
Pass the word! ----- Read your labels before you buy!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
The alligator used to be on the brink of extinction. Today they have been removed off of the endangered species list and their population is now being controlled by each state where their natural habitat exists.
Here is an interesting video as they talk about how they control the population.
Currently in Florida, a species that has endangered the habitat of the Florida gator are pythons.
Pythons are not native to the USA. People adopt them as pets and when they cannot handle them no longer, they release them into the everglades and other areas in Florida. And not just Florida, but other southern states as well. This is a serious threat to the human population regarding children, pets and other native creatures.
The snakes are now being hunted and killed. Their meat is used for human consumption and their skins are used for luxury items such as shoes, handbags, etc.
In the case of the python, it is the irresponsibility of humans that is causing this conflict in nature where these reptiles are not native.
As per the gators, just like there are cattle farms to raise milk and meat, as long as humans consume meat, there will always be cattle farms. Gator farms raise the alligators for the same purpose.
Both animals are used for meat and have their skins turned into leather. So nothing of each animal is wasted. Gators however are a breed of animal that can only be raised in the southern states which is their natural habitat. Whereas cattle can be raised in any climate. That is what makes a luxury skin even more valuable along with the skin itself.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Attention independent artist/craftsman sewers!
With the latest trend in luxury and hyper luxury, retail consumers are looking for quality one of a kind items to buy.
And the better the craftsmanship, materials used, design, and the item being one of a kind, the more they are willing to pay for it.
So you have a desire to create, you own a sewing machine and you want to make what you see high end people buying.
High end consumers want products that will last and increase over time like a fine painting. They are so over assembly line item products.
As a home sewer / artist, you have an advantage to be able to produce one of a kind items of high end quality.
For those who are looking to get to the next level in construction methods and techniques, you will benefit from my CD book CELEBRITY BAGS. it will take the home sewer to the next level in being able to produce bags that rival the construction and quality you see in the high end department stores and designer stores. Your end results will be professional and not homemade.
As I get booked each year across the country teaching my workshops, people constantly write me and say they cannot believe my students finish a handbag in two days that looks like a high end expensive bag at the department stores.
Let me be upfront and honest with you, people who sew are social people, and though we are social in my workshops, my students who come to my classes are serious about learning, and I am serious about teaching them the skills to help them get to the next level in perfecting their craft. The end results the students accomplish are stellar!
You can order my CD book from my website.
If you would like to come to one of my workshops, check the travel page on my website. If you do not see your local sewing machine dealer posted, call them and ask that they book my workshop. I guarantee when you have finished my workshop, people will not be asking you how you made your bag, they will be asking you - "Where did you buy that bag?"
We can bring quality items back to being made in the USA. You invested in the tools, now you can use those tools to produce professional results in all you make!
What is "Hyper Luxury" ?
Sunday, January 22, 2012
A young boy is killed by using a fake electrical plug for his personal computer game not knowing it was fake.
From electronics to fake fish, fake tools, fake vodka, fake organic foods.
The counterfeit market is all around the world and is deadly to humans! These fake products substitute quality parts and ingredients which could and have caused death.
This is a great documentary to watch on the counterfeit in Britain.
This is a huge issue as well here in the USA and around the world. People need to be aware. Those flea markets and dollar stores, plus the online auctions are full of fake products. They are being made from all over the world. But the majority of them are coming from China.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
When people say they don't have time, or they say it is cheaper to buy it already made. My question to many is, don't you want to learn and be self productive? The pride of making something with your own two hands.
Be it wood working - learning to fix things around the house, landscaping, some hobby that teaches you patience, and skill.
I met Jeff on Facebook over a year ago and was blown away with his quality of work. We chatted back and forth a few times.
I asked Jeff if he would like to share his story on how he learned to become a master tailor?
Where did you learn, what inspired your interest, and where did the passion come from?
Jeff is making a difference and setting an example that everyone can learn and make it themselves again in the USA and any country you live in.
Below is Jeff's story. I hope it inspires you and that we all can take a lesson and learn from Jeff.
Just like grandma used to tell me when I was growing up, "where there is a will, there is a way".
My wife (Memrie) and I have been married 27 years and we have two daughters who are 22 and 23 years old. A few years ago, my girls needed some pants hemmed and Memrie never got around to it, so I thought I'd give it a try. Memrie had an old manual sewing machine with the big dials on it, and I found out while fixing those pants that I enjoyed it. So I bought a vest pattern and some fabric and tried that, and enjoyed that even more. So naturally, I decided to bite off way more than I could chew and bought a suit pattern and some fabric on eBay.
I was in waaay over my head. I didn't understand the construction techniques, and I didn't understand the terminology. So I Googled everything, I emailed the pattern maker (Vogue Patterns) and tried to find as much info as I could. The people at Vogue Patterns were very helpful and encouraging, so I charged ahead.
The first suit I made took me about two months, and the fabric was a very light, blousy wool crepe. It ended up looking very unstructured and flowy, like a formal pair of pajamas. So I threw it away and tried again with a heavier wool plaid. I didn't know how to match the plaid, I didn't cut out the pieces very carefully, I stitched quickly and paid little attention to the details, so the results were less than stellar, and suit number
two went in the trash as well.
With suit number three, I slowed down and searched for the info I needed, so it was an improvement. But it still went in the trash. Suit number four was the first one I felt really comfortable wearing in public, and I try to improve with each project, whether it's a suit or something for my family.
I read as much as I can on techniques, and I've really benefited from the Vogue Patterns Magazine, because they include articles on specific things, like hand stitching or measuring and such. When I'm in a department store, I examine the suits, looking for construction methods, materials, or styles that I might wish to copy, and I take pictures.
Living in the middle of nowhere, about a hundred miles south of Memphis, TN, in the Mississippi Delta, I've had to find most of what I need online. I buy fabric and supplies online, and have learned which fabrics and which sellers produce the best results for me. I've upgraded sewing machines, so that now I have two electronic machines and a serger.
The suit that I most recently finished is my fourteenth! I'm excited about that, even though I realize that I was just as excited when I said that I had just finished my fourth one, or my tenth one! It takes me about a month to make one, working on it an hour here and there at night after work, so each suit represents a lot of time. I also make things for my wife and daughters, especially coats because I tend to enjoy those the most.
My day job involves marketing, and most of my contacts know that I sew, which sometimes is a handy conversation starter. But I do have to decline requests to make things for money fairly often. I have a feeling that if I were to sew garments for a fee, that I might lose my enthusiasm for it, and I don't want that to happen.
A common phrase I hear is, "I love to sew, I just don't have time to do it". But most people who say that spend hours every night planting imaginary corn or feeding imaginary horses on the computer or just watching TV. Anyone can sew and most people have plenty of time to do it, they just have to do it.
If you would like to see more amazing photos of Jeff's work, become a friend with Jeff on Facebook. Here is the link.
Thank you, Jeff for your inspiration, you are the MAN!!!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
For many, many years, saddle making in America and around the world, has always been a highly skilled craftsman job. A skilled work of art.
This was back then, and is today, a highly respected trade done by the skilled craftsman, and respected by the cowboys who sit on them.
One has to know how to work with leather, how to fit a horse for comfort as well as comfort for the rider.
Many saddle makers would add their own signature leather tooling artwork like a fashion designer has their own unique details and brand logo.
This was back then, and is today, a highly respected trade done by the skilled craftsman, and respected by the cowboys who sit on them.
Some saddle houses have several people making the saddles and there are still individual saddle makers who create the whole saddle from start to finish.
Many stitch the leather by hand, and many use the sewing machine. The art of leather work in America through the centuries is an amazing wonder to behold.
In France, Hermes has always been known for their quality craftsmanship, and their leather work is all sewn by hand. Most famous at Hermes is their Berkin handbag.
I thought about writing this blog post for several weeks. I am going to cover a wide spectrum of the consumer market in this blog.
I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a person who is one of the CEO's of a corporation.
The CEO was telling me that China wants to be the
production factory of the world. They do not want anyone to compete with them. And here is how it has been working..
An American or any other country company wants to have their products made in China for cheaper labor and faster production. Let me make up a name of a company, I'll use the name BB company.
BB has China make their product. The factory in China charges BB about exactly what it costs the factory to make. So now one would ask, how does the China factory make a profit? That is the question I asked the CEO.
As our conversation continued, the CEO told me if a product costs the BB company $1 from the China factory per item, the factory is subsidized for example $10 per unit by the Chinese government. So where does the government get the money? From the interest they make on the money places like the USA owes them.
So this is why made in the USA has such a hard time competing.
So let's evaluate the fashion industry. High end luxury fashion items by high end brands, are made in places like France and Italy. So who buys them? People who can afford them. So why can't these quality items be made by the American designer counterparts in the USA? Is it a lack of quality craftsmanship? Perhaps.
Perhaps it is the prestige of a foreign country as well. Perhaps the foreign countries value the craft higher than American workers would or do. Look at the home sewing world. Do the items generally look homemade or do you see a high quality craft that has been handed down and taught to family members and friends? Remember, there were a couple generations that have been skipped for creating.
Countries like France and Italy have always held high standards for their craftsmanship and they allow their craftsman to earn a good living making those items.
Many times I have posted so many videos of factories in places like Italy and France. Especially in Italy at a shoe factory where there are mostly men making the shoes. These men would never be able to support a family if they were not making a good wage. I was also surprised to see it is mostly men still making high end shoes today in those countries.
The high end consumer in the USA buys these high end fashion accessories.
Now, how about the USA middle classes version of a high end handbag? The average cost for the middle class designer bag sold in the mall is $500 for one and it is made in China.
So if these USA companies are charging that much for a bag made so cheap in China, why can't they just have it made in the USA?
It is called greed. They have to satisfy profits for the shareholders. And what about the American consumer? Do they care to read labels and support American made? They will when it hits their own job and a lay off comes around.
Now in China, the labor is increasing and many USA manufacturing companies are having production made in Mexico. There was talk that manufacturing would be moving to places like Africa for even cheaper slave labor.
Let us not forget that in many of these slave labor sweatshops, no labor laws are being followed and workers are treated very poorly for your enjoyment of your consumer purchase.
So who really is to blame for all of this?
The consumer! The consumer who has never been educated to look at their labels of the items they buy.
The consumer who never put a priority on themselves to produce quality work in this country but many wanted instant gratification.
There is something to be said about the long ago when people on the farm lands made everything and grew everything to survive. Look at the Amish people who have existed all these years without modern necessities. And when they make things, they last forever.
The consumer in the USA that for many years now, wanted cheap! Cheap is as cheap does and produces or lack of production in themselves.
What happened to USA quality and our educational programs for the arts and trade craftsman?
Here is the bottom line,, no jobs in the USA mean no sales for any of these companies. So everyone will lose in the end. No education means our country cannot compete with places like China.
Example, I hear in the quilt world, the people will buy sewing machines for $8,000 and up, but complain about the price of fabric.
Any quality sewer knows, the better the fabric the better the item being made will last and resell for.
If you ever watched Project Runway and you have seen the home visits of the designers, they are sewing on budget sewing machines and buying expensive fabrics. Their finished garments are outstanding!
So what makes a better garment / item - the machine or the fabric? And what about the person in front of the machine?
The last quilt fabric manufacturing factory closed it's doors and sent production to China because they could not afford to stay open. Quilters wanted cheap fabrics and the manufacturing company had to go to China for cheap fabric for the home quilt consumers..
I wrote before that I was shopping at Walmart for a new kitty dish. Two were two on the shelf. I turned them both over. One made in the USA and one made in China. They were both about the same price.
Clothing is another topic. People do need affordable clothing today especially when their income is at a record low. My gosh, if corporations kept factories in the USA, people could afford to pay more and buy made in the USA.
I needed new frying pans, I found Nordic -Ware at Walmart and Nordic -Ware is made in the USA.
Let us go back to when cars were completely made in the USA. The USA car manufacturers had this brilliant idea that they would make parts designed to last for only several years. They would break which would bring the consumer back to the shop for repairs shortly after the warranty expired. And in some cases, people were paying repair bills along with the car payment.
Suddenly the USA consumers started buying cars made in Japan because they lasted longer, had little repairs if any needed and had better gas mileage. The new generations were buying the smaller gas saving cars and the older generations still wanted the big tank gas eating cars.
Did American corporations destroy themselves? Did the American people turn their back on their own country because of poor quality?
In general now pertaining to all products, did the American Corporations and consumers go for cheap and create a throw away consumer product society?
My grandmother gave me an iron that her mother gave her. It was so heavy, but that iron could press a cotton shirt and the steam was always there with regular tap water. You don't find irons like that anymore to press your clothes. I cannot tell you how many irons I had worn out in under five years. But great grandma's iron had never let me down.
There is an old saying that people years ago used to take care of what they owned. Many of the older generations today of 80 and above, have money in their bank accounts when they retired because they did not have to replace so many items and they lived on so little necessities.
Many of those generations also were very handy with the hammer, nails, sewing machine and gardening to grow their own vegetables.
I remember when grandma and grandpa sold the farm and moved to the city. The first thing grandma did was plant a garden in the back yard. She was brought up making vegetable soup with meat bones for flavor. That pot of soup would last the whole week for pennies a day. And each day it tasted better than the day before. When I was growing up, a stay at home mom used to can their own grown vegetables in preparation for the winter food supply. Both my mom and grandma worked and they still were doing this. People worked harder and did more back then. And the economy was not in dire distress.
Slowly, America is heading back to making things of their own again. There was a generation or two who were not interested in creativity. Many of the young people are NOT learning these crafts from their parents today you can bet that is for sure when you look at the statistics.
Many mom and dads my age and younger are telling me their children from the teens to their twenties are wanting to learn to make their own clothing. Many mom's have no clue how to use the sewing machine to make clothes.
The younger generations are coming back to making their own clothing while the older generations are making quilts to decorate the beds.
People are learning to recycle items into new again. Slowly, people are starting to care not only about themselves, but the environment, and learning how to survive by making their own again.
And in the craft industry people are learning to make their own jewelry again as well.
Here is an interesting article to read on the labor situation in China now.
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