Swatch Selections Cont’d. & Donating My Hair to Locks of Love

This past week I submitted more color options to my manufacturer. While the above Ambitionist briefcase comes in a traditional solid black, I wanted a fun, colorful option as well. The decision came down between a nude pink versus a lilac. I had produced both before and liked both, though found the lilac one much more popular sales-wise. People say they prefer the pink, but don’t buy it at the same frequency as the lilac for some reason.

We had run out of lilac briefcases before and figured we’d stop producing those to move on to new color options. I decided against that and am back to production of lilac briefcases. =)

We’re going with 2 different textures of vegan leather:

The above is a sheeny, smooth material. The gold and silver swatches, #16 and #18 respectively really show what I mean (though no, I am not making any bags in those colors). The colors we are going with, highlighted with yellow boxes, are more understated but still have that sheen and polish to it. This particular material will be great for the briefcases. The look is very professional and sleek.

The second texture I love, love, love, love, love. It’s uber soft and suede-like, velvety, and just super duper pretty. I’ve challenged many people to feel this material and compare it with genuine leather, and no one has been able to distinguish the difference, not even self-proclaimed fashionistas! Problem with this material is that I can’t use it for the more structured briefcases, so only the totes come in this swatch option.

I did very informal, amateur color blocking to illustrate my color selections for this upcoming purchase order. The amaranth pink looks tacky in my color blocks above, but here is how it actually looks:

Workaholic shoulder tote (above)

Executive satchel brief (above)

And here’s a look into the design business process:

That’s the first page screenshot of a memo I sent to my factory. I organized my color and swatch selections into tables to make it as convenient as possible for the manufacturer. When you first establish a relationship with the factory, each bag style is assigned an SKU (stock-keeping unit) number. For example, my bag styles are numbered SL-2______. Each material selection also has an SKU.

Typically within one account, the first 3 digits of the SKU are the same, so for example when I call up the factory to talk about, say, the Ambitionist briefcase. I won’t say, “And for the Ambitionist in Lilac…” Instead, I’ll say, “For SL-974, in the number 13…” I say “SL” for the letter reference as you see above, and skip the first 3 digits because those 3 digits are the same for every bag under my account.

For lawyers who deal in intellectual property law, it’s similar to how we colloquially refer to patent numbers and trademark registration numbers, mais oui?

Although the descriptions (e.g., Ambitionist, Peripatetic, Catalyst, Executive, etc.) aren’t terribly relevant to the factory or for communicating to the factory, I put it next to every SKU for my own ease of cross-reference. That’s because personally I am terrible, completely utterly awful with numbers. It’s easier for me to remember “Peripatetic in Amaranth Rose” than it is for me to remember a 3-digit number. Seriously! However, for those who are good with numbers, there would probably never be the whole blurb descriptions and all you’d have are the SKUs. I could never do it that way because the numbers would make me dizzy.

So that’s what I’ve been doing TZ venture wise. Thought I’d also add a personal update:

As of last Friday that was how my hair looked. I’ve had long hair as far back as I can remember. (It’s even longer than it appears in the above photos because the front layers are shorter; from the back, the hair falls only a few inches above my waist.) Any time I referred to my hair length as “short,” it meant just below my shoulders. Never before in this lifetime had my hair actually been short enough for you to see the nape of my neck. And I had planned to go blissfully for the rest of my life like so.

Since I have ridiculously thick, coarse hair, long hair has been doubly uncomfortable this summer. When I attempt to wind it up into a bun, the bun itself is the same size as my head. Real attractive, huh? So I decided to get it cut.

Perhaps handbag designing has gotten to me or something, but now I think and plan in terms of thumbnail sketches. Below is the sketch I rendered illustrating what I intended to get done. See, the back nape of my neck would still be fully covered.

Then my cousin suggested that I donate to Locks of Love. The hair donation had to be at least 10 inches long, which is a lot more hair than I had wanted to cut off. Also, I was concerned about my colored chunks. Per the website, it can be dyed hair, but not bleached. I talked to my stylist who regularly does my hair, and she said my hair had not been bleached, just semi-permanently dyed, so it should be fine. Alrightey then.

There’s me post-cut. The length is much shorter than my thumbnail sketch, but that’s because I asked the stylist to cut off more hair to make sure we definitely got in the full 10 inches, 12 if possible. So we went for 12. Yes, a whole foot of hair. Women who prefer their own hair long and have gone their whole lives with long hair like me will be able to commiserate: watching a whole foot of your own hair get lopped off isn’t the easiest thing to do. =X

There’s my hair! Two ponytails. Hmm, looking at your own hair packaged away in plastic bags on a table is rather creepy.

“Before” and “After” photos:

There’s me with glasses. My mother’s signature hairstyle is a short bob, longer in front, and she wears glasses; so everyone, from my husband to both my sisters and my brother-in-law have remarked my uncanny resemblance to my mother now that my hair basically looks like hers. Sigh.

The shortest layer is 10 inches, with most of it approximately 15 inches, though with those split ends, I just hope it’s still usable! Eeks.

I am definitely going through a readjustment period. =)  Just as people warned me, I squeeze out wayyy too much shampoo and conditioner when washing and even brushing my hair has been different. I woke up this morning, sleepy-headed, and on automatic, grabbed my hairbrush, started at the top and applied the normal force to get the normal acceleration I need to shove a brush through what is typically the wild, wild jungle that is my hair every morning. But I painfull scraped my neck instead. Ouch! Now I was awake. I blinked and looked at my reflection and realized I had no more hair to brush. Haha. Oh dear.

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  • Christine Lee Zilka

    Your bags are coming along! I’m thinking about which ones I’ll get. (I think it’s funny how I recommended the nudey pink, because I figure others’ll like it more, but that I’d get the lilac–did other people say the SAME thing?! LOL). 

    As for your hair–I had long hair all through childhood. It was tough when I got it chopped off. But now I go short, then I go as long as possible, then lop it off, periodically. Because hair grows back. It will be okay if you want it long again!

    And in the interim, wear some really low cut tops. I bet your husband won’t say you look like your mom anymore, then. ;)

  • AppleSidra

    If I actually tallied the votes up, I think nudey pink won, but it wasn’t the actual decisions by people I paid attention to; it was their explanations and rationales for WHY they picked what they picked. Ultimately, I felt the Lilac one would be more marketable. =D

    Haha logically I know everything is going to be okay and hair grows back blah blah blah, but try telling that to the emotional me who is staring in the mirror right now!!! =P  Ah well.

    I can’t wear low-cut tops!! I have nothing to…reveal!

  • Joey

    That amaranth pink colour is gorgeous! I Really like it a lot!

    You’re so brave for cutting off your hair and not just a few inches at that, but a whole foot! There was once upon a time where I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if I had lopped off all my precious long hair, but I think as I grow older and took more care of my hair, I feel it would be such a waste for me. Also, I don’t think I’m ready for a major change like that.
    But I must say short hair suits you so well! You look really fresh with the clean cuts. Nice one! :D

  • mydailyoutfits

    I love people who do a big change like that and you should not regret it because you look AMAZING, I think it suits you soo much better :) :)  You rock that hairstyle and now wear it with confidence because it’s amazing ;) :)

  • Allison

    I love this post – I really feel like I’m learning a lot of what goes on behind the design process, which is definitely something I know absolutely nothing about! Your dedication is amazing – and your product looks absolutely incredible. You should be proud of all your hard work, because clearly you have a high quality product :)

    You are also GORGEOUS, Sunny! Your hair was beautiful before, but it looks INCREDIBLE now! I love the long bob – it really works so well for your face. I also think that you are a gorgeous person on the inside as well as on the out – Locks of Love is such a wonderful charity, and giving something so much a part of yourself is such a beautiful thing to do (because even though it sounds a little silly, I think that women really do find identity or comfort in their hair — and think of the person who you are going to help with this gift that is so of yourself!). The readjustment period will go away – but you’re giving a gift to someone that will last forever!


  • Meredith Corning

    Wow!  I love the briefcases!  They all look scrumptious:-)  And I happen to love that cut…it’s the cut I usually give my daughter before school starts, although she has insisted this year she wants to “let it grow out.”  Locks of Love was a wonderful idea…so many people forget they can do that.  Great post and I like to pop over here from time to time, since you are my hero~Meredith xoxo

  • Kirstin Marie

    I love that you donated your hair to locks of love. That’s so wonderful, and your new hair cut looks really sweet on you!!

  • Mae Lu

    You have the phantom limb effect with your hair! I had that when I lopped off 10 inches of my own hair just a few weeks ago, too! I didn’t donate it, sadly. I should have. Or scooped it up for composting.

    Oh well. You’ll get used to it. Less shampoo and conditioner, save money on product! :) Your hair looks way healthier now.

    I think I can help you with SEOing your posts if you want a few tips.

    Mae Lu @ thereafterish.!

  • lisa

    Bravo for donating your hair to Locks of Love! The new ‘do looks fantastic on you. I don’t think you should get too annoyed with your loved ones for comparing you to your mother: if she looks as beautiful as you do with this angled-bob-and-glasses combo, the comparison is surely a compliment. :)

  • JoJo

    Omg Sunny your hair looks FANTASTIC!! You look very sophisticated and professional, which is what you are! haha how did your stylist react to your bringing in a haircut sketch like that?

  • AppleSidra

    Haha she was totally cool with it! And even checked it a few times to get the side-swept bangs right! Isn’t that nuts? =D

  • AppleSidra

    Aww, thank you. My mother is stunning, but alas.. it *is* every woman’s curse that we will become our mother. =)

  • AppleSidra

    Let’s hold a silent vigil for our hair. Yes, I’m going to save a TON of money on shampoo and conditioner. I had no realization of how MUCH product I was using in my jungle of hair before until now. I barely use a dime’s worth of stuff now, whereas before, it was like a mini-mountain in my hand!

  • AppleSidra

    Thanks! =D

  • AppleSidra

    Just as I love to pop over to the Compassion Fashion Project. =)

  • AppleSidra

    Thanks! I hope the info I put on this blog is helpful to someone out there. =) Here’s to hoping the readjustment period will end soon. =D

  • AppleSidra

    Trying! Haha. Thanks. Yeah, I do like the big change. It’s good to shake things up a bit every once in a while, even if it’s just hair. =P

  • AppleSidra

    It does look more professional now, which is good. Wow you were a brave youth then! I was even more possessive over my long hair before than I am now! I’ve *loosened* up about it over the years. It’s cool to hear you were that open-minded that young!

  • Anonymous

    Love your new hair cut, Sunny! Cath and I did the same thing a few months ago: cut above the shoulders and donating the hair to Locks of Love! Doesn’t your head feel so much lighter? 
    Love the colors and textures you are picking of your bags! And I would definitely get confused by the numbers too. It’s been so fun sharing in your process!

  • Annette Tang

    i always love how you explain your whole process..  i would have no idea how to explain what i do haha.. 

    anyways… I LOVE YOUR HAIR!!! it looks sooo cute on you and you look so fresh! 

  • Catherine Lee

    Just as Lar mentioned, we both got our hair cut the other month. It definitely takes some getting use to, but it’s so freeing – especially in the summer. And you look great!

  • Julie Lan

    thanks for sharing the detail process! I learned with the post hehe

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