Fragrant Pouches and Purse Hooks

June 16 of this year is the Duanwu Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday that falls on the fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar. I, of course, did not know this. I got the memo, so to speak, from the manufacturer of my prospective Taryn Zhang purse hooks. They sent me a gift of several lovely ornaments in honor of the holiday, like the above red one.

Oh but wait…you’re curious about the purse hooks.

Purse Hooks: Purse hooks are really popular in Taiwan right now, and slowly gaining momentum here in the States. Last year a friend from Taiwan visited the Bay Area and she introduced me to them. It was love at first sight. I noted to myself that one day Taryn Zhang would make purse hooks.

The ones I want to manufacture are in the shape of a medallion. The hooks hang off the edge of tables and keep your prized handbags off dirty restaurant floors. I am obsessed with these things.  

So anyway, back to the fragrant pouches. This Taiwanese company sent me xiangbao, or fragrant pouches for the Duanwu Festival. They came in the mail today. It’s a tradition to send xiangbao, like sending Christmas cards to friends and family, or coloring eggs on Easter.

Folks used to believe that these pouches expelled wickedness. Worn around the necks of children, the fragrant pouches could ward off evil and disease. Emperors and empresses would carry these things with them at all times. It’s not entirely clear to me how or why the xiangbao came to be associated with the Duanwu Festival, but it did, and they’re given out on this day.

They’re called fragrant pouches because they are very…fragrant. The smell of them attracted the resident kitty, and he wouldn’t get out of the way when I tried photographing the pouches, so there he is in the background. He really likes the fragrant pouches. Long after I put the camera away, he was still playing with the ornaments and swatting at them with his paws.

Stock photograph of a sample purse hook

Now, purse hooks. If and when I proceed with offering Taryn Zhang purse hooks, I will be proud to say that they are made in Taiwan. Taiwan is my country of origin, and a place I hold in highest regard.

And of course I will be going with the manufacturer who sends me fragrant pouches by airmail, even though we still haven’t signed on the dotted line. That is what we call good faith dealings. =) 

I realize my blogging has been haphazard lately. Vacation photos, afternoon tea, fragrant pouches…and here we thought this was a purse blog!

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  • Mae Lu

    I love that you put personal touches here. In fact, it makes me love this blog even more! It's nice to talk about designs and purses, but it's even more lovely to see that it's a person designing them!

    And I love the idea of purse hooks. How about the TZ logo in a large square (as it already is), filling the circle area? But embossed?

  • AppleSidra

    Hey Mae! Yes, they will be embossed. I think I like your idea but I want a clearer picture… so you mean sketch out an actual circle as a border, then the square TZ logo inside? That might work! I'm still trying to figure out what looks best. I don't love the square logo on the circle medallion because it looks weird, but I also don't like the circle TZ logo because it's ugly. lol. I need to think on this some more before I proceed. = / But if I can flesh out your idea, it sounds like it might just work! Thanks!! You rock!!

  • emmayamada

    I LOVE purse hooks ! I first used one at a Japanese restaurant. The server brought it to me so I wouldn't have to put my bag on the floor ! Too Sweet ! I also love the personal touches on your blog, it is like getting to know you. I already know that you are a very sweet lady. If you are ever in the Seattle area, you are welcome at my home. : ) The fragrant pouches are very pretty. I love the colorful fabric !

  • AppleSidra

    Emma, that is too kind of you! Your blog is fantastic as well, and if you and your beautiful family is ever in the Bay Area, let me know! I'd love to treat you out to dinner! We'd have you over at our place too, except we live in a tiny cramped little 1-bedroom condo. =*( That's the biggest problem about living in an urban environment…housing is so…small and cramped.

  • AppleSidra

    P.S. “you and your beautiful family is” — it should be are. you and your beautiful family ARE.. argh. Now that's bothering me.

  • Femme Rationale

    i saw a lady use a purse hook several weeks ago and i was fascinated! haha such a great idea.

  • kobukson

    Must the medallion itself be a circular shape? I think a square medallion would accommodate your logo better and possibly be a better solution than trying to square a circle…

  • AppleSidra

    That was my initial conception, a square base. For some reason, every manufacturer makes them in circles, and if you want a square, that's “custom” and costly (not just by a little bit more, but by a LOT more). If the force-that-square-into-a-circle option really doesn't work at all, then we'll bite the bullet and go with the custom square base. In the meantime, though, I'm going to put in my best effort to make it work. Sigh.

  • kobukson

    Oh boy, I was afraid that might be the case.

    In engineering design, we often have to work within constraints imposed by real world conditions and try to find an optimal solution amidst a slew of competing variables – cost always being one of them. And this “optimal solution” often falls short of the glory of the abstract ideal that we had in our heads. In other words, I feel your pain, sister!

    I agree that the circle TZ logo looks whacked.

    However, I don't think the square logo centered on the circle medallion is really all that bad. I'm not sure why you say it looks weird. In fact maybe you can make it work somehow. In your initial photo, it shows a Imperial coin hanging off the fragrant pouch. Notice that there is a square hole in the center of the coin.

    Now imagine your round medallion as a coin. The square TZ logo sits where the square hole is situated on the actual coin. Maybe if you can make the medallion mimic the coin, you can make this work. Perhaps you can also surround the logo with the four characters shown on the actual coin.

    Just a suggestion. But if your intuition insists that this still looks weird, then you should heed your gut instinct.

  • AsianCajuns(Lar)

    Sunny, that is so cool! I had never heard of the Duanwe festival either. I think it's so thoughtful that they sent those. I love the photos with your kitty.
    Cath and I both received purse hooks from our aunts (on the Chinese side- of course ;) a few years ago, but I've since mislaid it. I think Taryn purse holders would be ingenious.
    Love your purse posts and your random posts ;)

  • emmayamada

    Hey Girl, If you lived near me I would have you help me weed my closet Lol. You would get some cute clothes : )

  • emmayamada

    I don't have your email…mine is [email protected] and I have a facebook. Talk to you soon : )

  • Handbag Manufacturer

    the purses here are full of chinese culture.

  • Pingback: Our Purse Hook Samples are Here! | Taryn's Design Diary

  • laptop bags

    Nice logo, very chinese, I love them.