Monday, August 5, 2013

Digital Versus Real Embroidery

I have dozens and dozens of embroidery designs available and dozens of colors to embroider each design. Having all of that choice is great, but for a small shop like me, it's hard to convey to my customers how much choice they have and be able to show all the designs available on a bag. To help me accomplish this, I use a special embroidery software that allows me to change the colors of the thread, change the size of the embroidery and even digitize a custom logo or picture into an embroidery.

This same software also allows me to take a stock photo of a bag and place the embroidery design over the bag so the customer can see what the image would look like on the bag. Because I am a small shop, I can't really afford to actually embroider 100+ bags and have them sitting around as inventory waiting for a customer to love them and buy them. Especially considering a customer can choose from 16 different thread colors on so many of my embroidery design choices. So I have used this method to list a few dozen bags - essentially with the 'picture' of the embroidery over a specified bag. The only problem with this, is the picture of the embroidery in my digitizing software does not look as good as the actual embroidery. In fact, the actual embroidery is SO much more beautiful and vibrant. The colors are richer and bolder.

I thought it would be a good idea to list some examples of embroidery software vs actual embroidery so my customers can see how AMAZING the actual product is that they will be receiving.

Here's one of the best examples:

Actual embroidery (left) VS Digital Software Embroidery (right)

The digital software version is on the right and the actual embroidery is on the left. Not only does the design look slightly smaller on the right, but the colors of the birds look dull and dark. The black of the cages doesn't really pop like it does on the actual embroidery. It's a big difference! 

Embroidery Software (left) VS Actual Embroidery (right)
Here are 3 more examples. The biggest eye-catching difference to me is the Police Box - the royal blue of the box on the actual embroidery is SO amazing. Take a look at the Zombie Kitty - the placement is different on the actual embroidery because the bag was different from the stock photo bag, but the green of the kitty is so much brighter! Also take a look at the Bookworm - you can hardly see the word 'Bookworm' on the left, but the in actual embroidery it is very visible! 

Here's a good example of why I can't embroider every bag before I list it. This Wordy Bird design is very popular and you can choose from 16 thread color options. 
Embroidery Software (left) VS Actual Embroidery (middle and right)
The left version is showing black thread with the embroidery software. The next two are actual embroideries with Hunter Green and Rouge thread. See how much more weight the actual embroidery carries? And these colors didn't translate well visually in the embroidery software (which is why I always stick with black) but they look beautiful here. 

It has always been important to me for my customers to have lots of choices and options when buying from me. I think that's pretty evident in almost all the products I offer at Owl Say Designs. I'm hoping this post helps explain that the embroider designs you see on my bag listing are not at all bland! They are beautiful and vibrant and so very unique! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Embroidered Bags

I love, love, love upcycling the Military bags I've been using for embroidery. For me, they are the perfect mix of function, durability and style. Unfortunately, they are sometimes hard to obtain. Once I have a bag both I and my customers love, I scour the internet looking for them and buy in big quantities.  Even so, it's bound to happen that I will run out, and this has been my problem lately. I currently have about 20 or so of these bags left at the time of posting. This is because I JUST found more! The constant issue of having to source them has had me rethinking if I shouldn't go to a more easily accessible bag.

These are the new Canvas Rucksacks now available at Owl Say Designs. I love them! Maybe I'm just tired of looking at Olive Drab, but I am LOVING the new gray color. I love the matching strap. I love the easy turn closures on the flap. The colors really pop on the more neutral smoke gray which means I'm able to offer more color options for single color embroideries. 

For instance, here is a customer favorite design, the Deep Sea Helmet. It was previously only available in brown on the military rucksacks, but it's shown here in Navy Blue. You also have the choice of 16 other embroidery colors, all of which pop nicely on the gray canvas field bag. 

The new gray bags are also one main open pocket, which has been frequently requested. It has one long adjustable strap that can be shortened to carry on your shoulder, or lengthened to carry the bag across your body (like a hip bag). It's large enough to fit an iPad or any eReader. Smaller laptops and books will also fit. Perfect for a necessities only diaper bag too. I love its durability and that it can span functionality across a lot of different customers. 

Here's an example of the customer who chose the Wordy Bird design embroidered in Hunter Green (as opposed how it's listed in Black embroidery). I wouldn't have thought to use Hunter Green for this design, but the color pops quite nicely on the gray bag. This is also a good time to mention that I use my embroidery software to digitally put the embroidery on the bag - meaning, the pics I have listed show a bag with 'virtual' embroidery. The downside of this, is the color and design are so much more vibrant and intricate once it's actually embroidered. But another post on this later...

My next most requested item is a dedicated laptop and/or messenger bag and I love these! I'm not gonna lie, I wish these were offered in gray! But I DO love the light khaki color of these bags. Same options go for these as for the gray field bags, all of the one color embroidery designs are available in 16 different embroidery options. These do fit up to a 17" laptop. They are medium-weight cotton canvas, so you'll probably need a neoprene sleeve on your laptop if you use this as your dedicated laptop bag. I'd like to point out that if you purchase a padded laptop bag from a big box store, it would never look this cute!  

Like the Smoke Canvas Field Bags, these have an adjustable strap allowing you to carry it on your shoulder or across your body. They also work great as book bags for school age or college kids and as diaper bags. In fact, I'm trying to narrow down the design I want to put on the bag for my 14 month old!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

2012 Wrap up

2012 was an incredibly busy year for me. It brought some of my highest highs and some of my lowest lows...but mainly highs. I think the best way to share what 2012 had in store for me is through pictures.
Let's start here:
Images taken by Chelle Cates Photography 

Ok, technically these were taken in Oct 2011. But we were so busy in 2012 we didn't have family pics taken and these are the latest family pics. I'm about 4 months pregnant with Luke in these pics. Interesting facts about these pics:

  • I saw the pics of Joel Dewberry's family on his blog taken in cherry blossoms and was inspired to do something similar with matching ties/outfits. So I made the ties from Joel Dewberry fabric and made a matching skirt for me. Which I just realized you can't see from the pics I chose to upload. Well, believe me, it's awesome. 

Which leads me to the real first pics of 2012.
Images taken by Chelle Cates Photography
Images taken by Chelle Cates Photography 
Images taken by Chelle Cates Photography 
Images taken by Chelle Cates Photography 
Here are some interesting facts about Luke's Newborn pics:

  • Bible Pic - That Bible is actually Jon's grandmother's Bible. The pages are worn and marked up and it's absolutely beautiful. I lived with her for a year before Jon and I were married and I have such wonderful memories of her sitting on the couch reading that Bible. It's opened up to Psalm 139:14 which reads "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I know that full well."
  •  It was Chelle's idea to use Aiden's tie from our family pics and a mustache...I'm so glad she said something because it made the cutest pictures!
  • I had this whole Fox Theme going for Luke (obviously). If you love his little fox suit, I got it from Lion and Lamb Photos' Etsy Shop.
  • The fox background in the brothers shot is designed by Kelly from Petunias. She has various fabric designs uploaded to Spoonflower. You can search Spoonflower for Petunias and see this design and others.
  • I made Aiden's tie shirt. Cause I'm cool like that.

These pics bring us through March 2012. Then Aiden played T-ball during the summer and Soccer in the Fall. And we started homeschooling, so we needed school pics...again from Chelle!

Images taken by Chelle Cates Photography 
Interesting facts about our School Pics:

  • Aiden was in a super snarky mood and DID NOT want to be taking pictures. He kept squinting his eyes and being a general stink weasel. But somehow, Chelle still managed to capture the cuteness of this little boy.

In case it isn't already obvious, Chelle Cates is our awesome family photographer. Please take a minute to check out her webpage. She has a wonderful story and is so gifted!

So then our life got really topsy turvy. At the end of August, we found a new house to move in to. This is our old house. I'll write a whole post about this house and how much I love it, but at 1000sq ft, we just didn't have enough room. Like I said, it's a post all its own, but we have moved from this house....

To this one. A 1950's ranch style house. It's a 'Grandma House' and needs lots of updating, but I love Ranch Style houses and this one is just perfect for us. And at 2600 sq feet, it's almost 3 times the size of our last one. I'll definitely be posting more about how we update this one!

I couldn't begin to recap everything we went through in 2012. It's just a blur. We still have our other house and are in the process of finishing up the last honey-do's and trying to decide if we should sell it or rent it. The market will kind of be the deciding factor on that point. We had some weird things happen just after moving in to our new house, but the only thing I'd really classify as bad is the OSD sales for 2012. And those weren't just bad, they were horrid. The final sales numbers were about 1/6 of what I made the year before. I'll discuss it more in a future post. But's ok. I am exactly where God wants me to be and that is so incredibly comforting. I don't know what's in store for us or for OSD in 2013. Family-wise, I hope it's calm and quiet. I hope we can finish getting settled in. Business-wise, I am praying for direction. And I don't really know what my plans are yet. But God has brought our family and OSD this far, so I know I can trust in Him for 2013 too.