Some of the best looking products are handmade. There’s something to be said about all the work put into a handmade item that makes people appreciate it. That is just one aspect of what makes the Pink Lemonade Boutique Bags so special.
Having made her bags for 5 years now, Caroline Ritzer went from one single diaper bag for herself to designing a variety of great bags that are all as unique as their maker. She now has a great business that enables her to stay home with her children as well.
What is ‘Pink Lemonade Boutique Bags’?
Pink Lemonade Boutique Bags offers stylish, unique, custom handmade bags that can be used as a Diaper Bag, Tote or Handbag.
How many different kinds of bags do you have?
I have a couple different styles that I offer. From diaperbag/tote to shabby n chic rag totes there is truly something for everyone.
What inspires their design?
My inspirations come from a variety of places/needs. Sometimes it starts with a gorgeous new line of fabric that is just begging to become a tote bag, other times it could be that I need a present for a friend or someone in my family. Once I decide what I want to make, then I look for the perfect fabric/materials to use and go from there. I love reading the blogs of all the fabulous indie designers and browsing the online market places to see what everyone else is creating right now.
What is your most popular selling bag?
My current best seller is my Pink Chocolate Trellis tote.
How long have you been making them?
When my daughter was born 5 years ago, I made my first diaper bag for myself. I wanted a custom bag that would stand out in the crowd and look different from the generic store bought bags that everyone else was carrying.
A self taught seamstress, I started making my diaper bags as gifts for my friends who were starting their own families. I always get so much joy out of the positive feedback from everyone who received a bag or gave one as a gift which is really one of the reasons I decided to sell them!
When did you start your business?
Shortly before my sons first birthday, I decided to leave my career of 15 years in Retail Sales Management and Pink Lemonade Boutique Bags was officially born. I opened my own website, www.pinklemonadebags.com, last spring. Now going into my third year of business, I have stores on eBay, Etsy, WinkElf and eCrater.
What sort of steps did you need to go through to start your business?
The first step I took in starting my online business was to sign up with eBay so I could start selling my designs there. Then I obtained my business license and my state sales tax permit. I also purchased my domain name so that I would have the ability to open a website when I was ready. After the first couple of sales, I focused on improving my presentation standards when listing my bags for sale. I quickly realized that I had to learn how to take better pictures of my bags in order to be a competitive seller. I also had to learn how to use graphic templates and obtain some basic HTML knowledge in order to create more appealing listings. Then I worked really hard on creating more designs and tried to build up an inventory of bags. I soon was selling them as fast as I could make them.
What have you learned since you launched that you wish you’d known before?
I wish I would have started with the wholesale accounts for my current suppliers, I would have saved so much money! I also wish I would have known about bulk-fabric buying groups and been invited to join one a lot earlier!
Do you have one piece of advice that’s been invaluable in starting or running your business?
My best piece of advice is to make every customer your top priority. Whether they are emailing you a question or making a purchase, I always remember that without my customers I would not have a business and a means for staying home with my children.
How have you been able to manage your time as a parent so you can work on your business and making your bags?
When I first started my business my children were 1yr and 3yrs old. I frequently stayed up late at night sewing because I didn’t have the time during the day to work on my bags. It was tough, but somewhat achievable because I would try to take naps when my children did. When I was getting ready for my craft shows, I would stay up until 1-2am the week before the show.
What have you learned as a parent that you were able to apply to business?
The biggest lesson I have learned as a parent is to make raising your family your top priority. Work can wait and bags can be made another day, but no one else can take the place of “Momma”. The whole point in my undertaking this business endeavor was so that I could stay home with my children while they were little.
Do you have any advice for other moms interested in starting their own online business?
Do the right thing. First rule of thumb selling online is to learn that nothing is new and someone has “been there, done that” before you. Once you find your niche in the online marketplace, strive to be original. It is imperative that you try to come up with your own designs. Always remember that there are thousands of sellers before you who have worked very hard on their online businesses. They too have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their business in order to enjoy their success. There is nothing more frustrating and hurtful than to have someone steal your designs and try to capitalize off of your hard work.