Designer of the Week - Clutterbags

This week get to know Janie of Clutterbags.

"Until recently, our family had always lived in Bellevue Washington. A few months ago we made a family decision to move closer to extended family in Utah. Since my husband works from home, we are able to move just about anywhere without affecting his job. This move is a big adventure for us because, even though I'm originally from Kansas, my husband and I grew up in Washington and had always lived just minutes away from both sets of parents. But, so far we love it here and are more than willing to exchange rain for snow! LOL."

" We have 3 older children, (2 sons James and Corey, and 1 daughter Kelly), that we dearly love and not a day goes by that we aren't ever so thankful to have them. They're wonderful to us and we couldn't ask for nicer more loving children."

See Janie's current eBay auctions: Clutterbags and add Clutterbags to your favorite eBay sellers list: Click Here:

JM: Janie, When did you get started creating bags?

JANIE: About 3 years ago in 2004 when I came to the conclusion I had better find something to do with the stacks and stacks of the fabrics I had been collecting. I have sewn for my family for years and years...quilts, Halloween costumes, baby blankets, clothing, etc. but I was ready to branch out and try something new. A good friend of mine suggested that I try making tote bags. I thought it sounded like a good idea that could be really fun and set out to make a pattern for my first bag. It was so much fun that I quickly made another.

JM: When did you start selling your designs on eBay and do you sell anywhere else besides eBay?

JANIE:At first, my goal was just to make fun, unique, and stylish tote bags for myself, my friends and my family. But, after I ran out of family and friends to make bags for, I decided that maybe it was time to try and reach a broader market so I decided to try my luck on eBay. After a lot of preparation, I started selling on eBay in August or September of 2004. I was really nervous! With so many talented bag makers already selling on eBay, I was worried that my bags would barely be noticed. I jumped in anyway and haven't regretted it for a second.

I also began selling my bags from my website at about the same time. Selling from my website has been lots of fun. It gives me an opportunity to get to know my customer's on a more personal level and allows the customer to have more input into the design of their individual bags.

More recently, I was invited to sell my bags on Blossom Street where I will have a Shoppe in the Pavilion. I'm very excited about the opportunity to sell on Blossom Street and I hope to have as much fun there as I've had on eBay.

Before eBay, I worked part time for Eddie Bauer in their customer service dept. It didn't take long though before I realized that we would go broke in no time at all because all of my paychecks went for clothes!

JM: Do you remember the first item you sold on eBay?

JANIE: I sure do! I listed several bags on eBay for my first try but the one one of the bags that sold first was a black and white Jamestown Toile that had black and white windowpane plaid straps and a front pocket trimmed with the plaid. I think it sold for around $29.00. I was so excited just to know that it sold that I couldn't wait to put more bags out.

JM: Where did come up with your name?

JANIE: Actually, I'd have to credit my husband for coming up with the name Clutterbags. He thought it was an under-stated but appropriate description of the inside of my purse! LOL.

JM: Do you belong to any boutique group?

JANIE: Currently I belong to ODODtoo, which is the accessory division of ODOD (Original Designs by Original Designers). I was invited to join ODODtoo around November of 2005 and have really enjoyed my association with everyone in the group. They are a fabulous group of talented ladies. They are all just great to work with, very easy going, and always supportive of one another. I have really appreciated the opportunity to work with them. Also, recently I was invited to join a new group made up of all bag ladies called BoutiqueBLU (Bag Ladies United). We're a small group of friends who make bags exclusively. We strive for originality in our designs and it is the foundation behind our group. Even though I've only known this great group of ladies for a short time, I already feel like we're dear old friends. We have fun and we laugh a lot!!

JM: What is your favorite type of bag to create? Why?

JANIE: I love all types of bags! I would love to find time to do more children's totes and fun funky everyday totes and handbags. But, with the inquiries I've received from new moms in search of the "perfect diaper bag", I decided that one of my main goals would be to try and provide a stylish yet functional diaper bag that reflects the personalities of my customer's and yet doesn't look like a diaper bag. A bag that is stylish enough to continue to be used when a diaper bag is no longer needed.

JM: If you could learn some new skills, what would they be?

JANIE: There are so many new skills I'd like to learn. Probably first on my list would be to take a photography class so that I can learn how to take better photographs of both my family and my bags . Then, I'd like to take a pattern or fabric design class. I make my own patterns and it can be very frustrating when they don't turn out as I'd planned. A class in pattern design would really help and save me from pulling my hair out when I'm frustrated!

JM: If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?

JANIE: I love to travel! My husband jokes that I'm the only person he knows that can be packed and ready to go anywhere with only 10 minutes notice. Somewhere that I've never been and would like to see is the New England states in the fall when the leaves are turning color. I'd also like to go back to Europe and see the countries that I didn't see the first time. I'd like to sail the Caribbean and see America by car. I've never been to NY so I'd love to go there too

JM: What other things do you enjoy besides creating?

JANIE: My family! There's nothing more important to me than my family and I'd rather spend time with them than anything else. I love family get togethers...especially during the holidays.

I also enjoy decorating my house for the seasons and the holidays and I'm always searching for new decorating ideas. If anyone has any great fall decorating ideas, email me. I'm always looking for new ideas.

I love the ocean. When our children were little, we'd travel down to the Oregon coast to a place called Cannon Beach and Seaside to spend a few days. It was heaven for me. I could sit on the sand for hours watching the waves and the ships go by. The ocean is the one thing I will miss the most with the move to Utah.

JM: Anything else you would like to add?

JANIE: I would like all of my customers to know how much I appreciate them for their continued support and patronage. They are the very best!!

And, thank you Amy for the opportunity to interview with Journal Modiste. I've had lots of fun!

Do you have a question that you are dying to ask Janie? Comment about something she said or designed? Post it here and she will answer it!

Leave a comment:

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Carrie-onesweetworld8 | Sunday, September 24, 2006 8:58 PM | flag
Janie you are sooooo talented. Wonderful interview and congrats on being featured!!

Angie~ pretty*me | Thursday, September 21, 2006 7:29 AM | flag
Gorgeous Bags Janie!! Love them all! :)

Jona | Wednesday, September 20, 2006 10:59 AM | flag
I agree with Chaleen, Janie's bags are definitely drool-worthy!! So gorgeous and creative! Great interview!

Janie | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 8:24 PM | flag
Thanks so much girls!! You're all wonderful and I appreciate you all and your support!!

Karen | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 5:32 PM | flag
Janie - you have some of the most beautiful bags on ebay. What a refreshing style. I have enjoyed our conversations.

| Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:04 AM | flag
Janie your bags are always unique and precious! Lee Anne

Chaleen | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 8:34 AM | flag
Your talent is flawless, Janie! Your bags make me drool, and your friendship is a blessing to me! Keep up the great work!!

Christie | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 6:49 AM | flag
Janie you have the most beautiful bags. I just love seeing your new creations! You are also such a great friend!

Rashmi | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 6:41 AM | flag
Great feature Janie! Your work is so flawless.....Keep lots more bags coming!! Warm wishes.

Pam | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 6:21 AM | flag
Janie, CONGRATULATIONS on your JM Feature!!! I've always loved your bags, even before I knew you. You are so creative and have such a great eye for color & fabric combinations. You are a sweetheart & I wish you continued success on Ebay! ;-)

Wendy | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 5:40 AM | flag
Janie is the absolute best! Her designs are outstanding and she's a sweet person to boot!

Cora | Tuesday, September 19, 2006 4:13 AM | flag
Beautiful bags..... I love them all. Keep up the good work!!!!!!

Some past Clutterbags Designs

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