Enter Try #2



It’s time to formally put away Try #1 and enter the next phase, Try #2. Actually, the above photos is more of a pictorial of Try #1.5. The real Try #1 was learning to make the handbags by hand, and sewing them myself. That was a bit of a disaster. And yet it was a great learning experience, and now if ever I was put to task, like if a gunman threatened to shoot me unless I sewed him (or her) a purse (in fact, such a gunman would more likely be a woman than a man, though hey, that too is pretty presumptuous of me), well fear not, I can do it. After the real Try #1, hand-sewn handbags, came the above, Try #1.5. 

I managed to stuff all my research notes, sketches, design spec sheets and the first batch of prototypes into 2 bags. Nicely enough, into 2 of the Taryn Zhang prototype bags, the Catalyst in red, and the Overachiever in black. 

And where will these 2 bags go? The back corner of my closet of course, right next to the shoeboxes full of the hand-sewn handbags I made a year ago. I can hear my husband James right now. “See? I told you so.” 

Last summer when I was sewing clutch after clutch at the dining table (that was the only available place in our little condo for me to work), my husband said, “You’re never going to carry any of those. They’re going to be shoved into a box and forever stuck in the back of our closet.” And I said no, of course I’ll use them. He turned out to be right. They’re all now in shoeboxes in the back of my closet. Sometimes he pokes fun at me while we’re dressing up to go to a formal event and he sees me looking over my collection of [store bought] evening bags to pick one to match my outfit. “Why don’t you carry one of those clutches you sewed?” he’ll always offer. 

Then I set about getting the first batch of samples manufactured. He tried to manage my expectations by telling me that the first batch would probably be awful and I’d probably have to redo the whole thing. “And this first batch of samples is going to go in boxes and be forever stuck in the back of our closet,” he warned. Again I said no, of course they’ll come out great and if they don’t, they’ll at least come out good enough for my personal use, so no matter what, they’ll still be useful. Again, he was right. The samples and swatches and all my file folders were cluttering up our place, so I gathered everything to put away today…to put in the back of our closet. Sigh!


Oh, but he’s not entirely right. I am using 2 of the first round samples. The Jetsetter in antique rose, which really is great for travel, and the Workaholic in black. See below. 

In My Bag: Intellectuals of smug temperaments should avert their eyes. =) The fascination with what's in another fellow sister's purse is an irrational, superficial girly-girl curiosity. In mine: current open case files; yellow legal notepad; handful of pens; day planner/calendar; design journal/sketchpad; sunglasses; homemade pink purse organizer for compact, lip gloss, tissue pack, and mints; cosmetics organizer bag with all sorts of junk (hair ties, flash drives, brown rice and matcha teabags, hand sanitizer, lotion, Hello Kitty Band-Aids, etc.); and Hello Kitty wristlet wallet.


Oh– note the peeling and scratches on the wall behind the Workaholic. Cat lovers will have no problems identifying where those scratches came from. 


"In case you forgot, I went to law school too, so counselor, I hereby plead the fifth."

Now for Try #2. I got rid of the Duchess, the Modernist, the Kindred Spirit, and the Peripatetic. I’m debating whether I should strike out or try again the Catalyst. Also, I’ve added the Ambitionist, the Executive, and the Financier (or maybe Tycooness; I haven’t settled on a name yet). 

The whole process starts all over again. Tomorrow the swatches should be arriving and I’ll start picking out materials and the color palette. Yay. I’m thinking definitely black, a dark deep red, a gray, a nudish-beige-off-white-cream-neutral-something sort of color, antique rose, and I don’t know what else. Brown is the tough color to decide on. It’s really easy for a brown bag to look bag-lady-ish and uncool, but a good brown bag is also a staple in any woman’s wardrobe. 

Excerpts from design specs of Try #2

The above drawings were rendered in MS Paint. All my designs are either sketched by hand or in MS Paint. 

Overall, not much to update. Try #1 (or #1.5) didn’t work out, so now it’s onto Try #2. Let the good times roll.

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