Designer of the Week - Bella Boutique Creations
This week get to know Suzanne Fontana of Bella Boutique Creations.
She lives in Hillsdale, New Jersey (she's a recent transplanted Native New Yorker!). She is married 12.5 years to a her college sweetheart Leo. They have 2 beautiful daughters, Christina Nichole soon to be 10, and Rebecca Camryn, my Diva in training and model of my children's designs, soon to be 6.
JM: Suzanne, When did you get started creating bags?
SUZANNE: Though I have been sewing all of my life, my first memory of a sewing machine was a child's Singer sewing machine I received at 8 years old one christmas. I created clothing for my baby tender love dolls (boy am I dating myself!) I then received my first real Singer sewing machine for christmas when I was 12, (I still have it!) I loved making my own clothes and Holly Hobby dolls. As I got older and married my sewing changed its purpose.
From home accessories, window treatments, it turned to baby items outfits and the such after the birth of my first child. I began designing and creating all types of totes, bags, purses and baby bags ( and little girls clothing too!) nearly 4 years ago. I loved the Vera Bradley diaper bag and refused to pay for one if I could create one designed specifically towards my own needs. So I bought a pattern, and made the entire ensemble from duffle to makeup tote, to check book cover and diaper tote bag!
JM: When did you start selling your designs on eBay and do you sell anywhere else besides eBay?
SUZANNE:I began selling my designs on ebay in february of 2001. I was browsing ebay for yarn and happened upon a diaper tote bag that was hand made ( and not very well made I might add). I saw that tote and was inspired to offer the a more high quality product. That was the birth of my bag designing on ebay. I do sell my totes to a artsy type of boutique back in New York, as well as privately. A website is in the works!
Before ebay, I actually did have a 9-5 job! I am a Certified Social Worker. I worked to facilitate private adoptions via the foster care system in NYC.
JM: Do you remember the first item you sold on eBay?
SUZANNE:Yes i do! It was a denim tote, with a band of Waverly blue and cream Country Life Toile fabric. It had cream pompom trim and blue and white gingham fabric for the lining. It sold for $29.00, I was thrilled beyond belief!
JM: Where did come up with your name?
SUZANNE: I was stuck! I had what I thought was the most adorable tote bag ready to list, and couldn't think of a name. My eldest daughter was playing with some dolls, and told me " Mommy look at my angel baby! I was originally known as Angel Baby Design Originals! then I began branching out and designing little girls clothing, and then changed the name to Bella Boutique Creations, I was not just bags anymore, I created beautiful boutique designs, hence Bella Boutique Creations!
JM: Do you belong to any boutique group?
SUZANNE: As a matter of fact, yes I do. I am the founding member of a fabulous ebay design group that has been reinvented and newly named Lily Lane! Along with my wonderful moderator and friend, Christi of MoppetsClosets, we are taking our group into 2006 with a new attitude, more of the same high quality designs. Each of us has a unique gift to offer the group as a whole and that is what makes us who we are!
What I like most about our group is that we are truly friends and care about each other. We take pride in all we do whether it is on or off eBay.
JM: What is your favorite type of bag to create? Why?
SUZANNE: Oh this is a very hard question to answer! I LOVE creating BAGS!! But if I had to choose one type that I like best it would be the diaper bag. The whole premise of my business was to create a diaper bag that let you keep your sense of style and offer designs that can go beyond baby! " Why carry a diaper bag that looked like the pj's your baby had on last night, when you can carry a stylish reflection of you!" This philosophy allowed me to create bags with components that you wouldn't ordinarily find in a store bought, mass produced diaper bag ( reversibility, customized pockets, shoulder strap lengths and the 100% custom made to order bag. The size dictates the the type of diaper tote it is: baby diaper bag, toddler diaper bag etc. Basically they all are diaper bags but bought by mommies crafters teachers etc. It's all in the customizations!
JM: If you could learn some new skills, what would they be?
SUZANNE: If I could learn some new skills........after thinking about this, I would have to say I'd love to learn more about the technical aspects of creating the perfect listings ( computer stuff), photo editing etc. I'd like to basically learn what ever I needed to that would make me 100% completely self-sufficient with respect to my e business! I am not very literate in this area and do have to rely on others expertise to make my business better!
JM: If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
SUZANNE: I would definitely love to visit Japan. I have always been facinated with their culture, and even more so since i had the pleasure of seeing Memoirs of a Geisha. Their pagentry, music the food..... it has always been facinating to me.
JM: What other things do you enjoy besides creating?
SUZANNE: I am the ultimate crafter, besides sewing ( as you already know), I am an avid knitter, crocheter, quilter, I love cooking, baking, and collecting. I enjoy spending time with my wonderful husband of 12 years Leo, and my children biking, going to the beach ( we spend a few weeks each summer at our summer place on the Jersey shore). My eldest daughter has gotten hooked on scrap booking so I guess I am a scrapbooker too!
JM: Anything else you would like to add?
SUZANNE: I'd like to take this time to thank Amy for the opportunity of sharing a little about myself to the Journal modiste community. I'd also like to thank all of my customers, and my ebay peers for the great experiences I have had while selling my designs on ebay.
I would also like to send out a special thank you to my group members! Ladies you all are great at what you do and we make LilyLane!
Do you have a question that you are dying to ask Suzanne? Comment about something she said or designed? Post it here and she will answer it!
Leave a comment:
| Tuesday, January 24, 2006 9:25 AM | flag
HEy Suzanne, Congrats!! Great job!! You got it, baby!! xoxox Adios! Lucia