Meet Our Vendor: John Met Betty Handbags
We love this one-woman operation out of Bainbridge Island focused on vegan leather and salvaged materials! Not only is this interview full of info about this cool business, it is full of some wonderful insight into facing your fears. Read on my lovelies.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jill, designer and maker of colorfu,l retro inspired handbags. I design handbags inspired by the clean lines of midcentury design, drawing inspiration from vintage furniture and architecture from the 50’s & 60’s. I complement these designs with new and vintage fabrics that reflect the design aesthetic of that time period in combination with eco-friendly faux leathers. I live and work on Bainbridge Island in my home studio.
What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
The newest addition to the John Met Betty line is The Audrey Cross Body Bag, a twist on a customer favorite The Audrey Clutch, but larger and waterproof! This style features an adjustable cross body strap & protective waterproof layer that allows you to enjoy fun designer prints without the worry of getting them dirty or wet! I’m also hoping to launch my travel bag this fall, it’s a design I’ve carried myself for years, and have had lots of requests for it from customers. I’m hoping to have a few for UCU this holiday season!
Any new exciting news you’d like to share with our readers?
I’ve recently launched my wholesale line, so if you can’t make it to a show, you will be able to shop for my bags in a few local shops, including Magnolia’s Shoes on Bainbridge Island, Flicka Boutique in Poulsbo, and the newest shop, The Esse Purse Museum (YES => PURSE MUSEUEM!) in Little Rock, Arkansas.
What do you love most about craft show vending?
My favorite thing about vending, is meeting my customers & getting to know them personally. Urban Craft Uprising has the most amazing & loyal customers, it’s fun remembering which bag they purchased at a previous show, and seeing them return to my booth wearing their purchases. Secondly, it would be the friendships I’ve made with other vendors. I feel lucky to have met so many talented & wonderful people through the shows I’ve done with UCU. The icing on the cake is trading items at the end of the weekend!
What’s something you’ve learned through running your business in the past 12 months?
To face challenges I would normally fear/avoid. I attended Camp Thundercraft last April, which was hosted by Urban Craft Uprising, that in and of itself was a challenge for me. I’m not a camper & love my amenities, I’m also a MAJOR introvert who likes to spend copious amounts of time alone, haha. This was a challenge that was worth the risk, I met some amazing people that have become my good friends and the experience also pushed me to grow my business in a new direction. Previous to camp, I was putting off exploring wholesale as a source of income, mostly due to fear and lack of know how, mixed in with some stubbornness. I took a course with Kristen Rask of Urban Craft Uprising & Robyn Bradley of Handmade La Conner, and after implementing some of their suggestions, my wholesale accounts began to grow! Most of the choices I’ve made in life and business, that have lead to the most success, are choices I would normally avoid because I was afraid to do them. So if there’s something you fear, go do it! It will only lead you to greater things.
Be sure to follow us on Instagram for your chance to win your very own Waterproof Audrey Cross Body Bag! #giveaways are the BEST!