Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why Not Go For Both?

You know how people say they're either shoe people or bag people? Well, I'm really in neither camp. Both serve a purpose, and I like what I wear to be beautifully-made, stylish and in good condition. But it's not like I can't pass a bag store without adding to my collection.

However, recently I've noticed that I need to replace some things. My shoe collection is looking pretty wan. My boot collection is awesome, but sometimes a girl needs shoes. Furthermore, the last bag I bought was this one, exactly 3 years ago. (BTW, the pics in that link don't show that bag off to good advantage. It's not shiny.) That bag, furthermore, turned into the biggest it thing on the planet. I can't walk down the street without seeing someone carrying the Olivia sac. It's getting old. Well, actually the bag is so well-made that it's still perfect after 3 years of near constant wear. But that doesn't mean I don't need to update and refresh.

Gotta say, despite visiting a variety of stores, and considering what I was looking for next on the bag and shoe fronts, the place I ended up was Etsy. And the experience was very good.

To wit, the "new" shoes:

Salvatore Ferragamos from Ramenzombie (based in San Francisco)
Sure, these are vintage. I can't place the era, maybe 70s or 80s? Any experts, please advise. I have wanted a pair since I turned 40, an age when a woman should have a pair of Ferragamos, IMO. Of course, I don't have 500 bucks to spend on new shoes.

So I took a chance on these. They cost $40.00 and I negotiated the shipping down from $16.00 to $7.00.

These shoes are GORGEOUS and they fit perfectly. (I measured my foot, natch, to ensure the chances would be good. I figured I could always consign them if they didn't.)

However, two things less-than-impressed me (though not enough to make me avoid this vendor in the future): Said vendor shipped them in a soft envelope?! (Others have left feedback that her shipping methods leave something to be desired. But just as many say the items were packaged perfectly. Maybe she has a co-worker that's crappy at packaging?). More annoying - and I didn't ask to see a photo of the bottom of the shoes, so I'm to blame - the practically unworn, leather soles are crapped up with red sharpie writing (indicating price, I'm sure the vendor purchased them this way). Note: I always ask to see the soles of shoes if they're not shown. I mean, that's key. But I lost my train of thought. I was looking at too many shoes. And I think I mistook these for another pair.

If I'd seen the soles, would I have bought the shoes? Maybe not. But, other than the sharpie, they are in almost-new condition, the uppers are perfection, and I might be able to manage removing the marker. Live and learn. Great news is that there is a good supply of Ferragamo on Etsy. So I'll have another crack at this.

The second recent Etsy purchase was this baby:

Baby Ballet from Opelle Creative (based in Toronto)
Let me tell you, it's all that and a bag of chips. I got nothin' bad to say about this experience. I first ordered a swatch card. It took a long time to arrive, but it gave me an excellent sense of the quality and colour of the leather. I chose the colour "lilac" a grey with a mauve undertone. Goes so well with everything. The vendor was top-of-the-line. And I find it hilarious that, after all the hunting I did online (I was initially looking for a high-end vintage bag or a bag made by a small niche vendor - and I searched far and wide), I ordered from a bag-maker who lives and works 8 minutes from house, by bike. (I shopped global and local at the same time!)

Certainly, a thrilling part of this experience was not having to pay for shipping. Amy delivers within the general Toronto area for free.

This bag is beautifully constructed. It looks small but it fits lots. The leather is soft and supple (like buttah) but also strong and thick. That weird tassel thing detaches, happily. And it's got another strap that's adjustable and removable so that you can easily wear it over your shoulder or cross-wise. The strap is very soft on your shoulder, comfortable, and it doesn't slip.

And I really don't think I'm going to see it coming and going.

It wasn't cheap - but it wasn't expensive based on its quality. For starters, when I ordered the swatch card (that cost 5 bucks all in), Amy sent me a 10% coupon for my next purchase. As this bag costs $268.00, fyi there's a larger version for $324.00, I saved $27.00 that way (basically a bit less than the tax I was charged, given that my item was Canadian-sold and bought). It was well-packaged. The shipping ain't cheap outside of Canada (up to 30 bucks), but you're getting a handmade and useable piece of art. And I got another 10% off coupon with this order. Way to entice me. I love to save as much as I love to spend.

So whatcha think? Good purchasing? Have you tried these vendors? Let's talk

30 comments:

  1. I have been really enjoying your recent posts. I'm a longtime lurker. Your conversationsl writinig style is a pleasure to read. Thanks for alerting me to Opelle Creative. I NEED one of those bags, and I love to support Ontario businesses(I live in the northern part).

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  2. Thanks so much for saying hello! I hope you have as great an experience with Opelle as I have. You know, she has 100 positive feedback on hundreds of items.

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  3. I love that bag! I'm not generally a person who likes to carry a purse much bigger than my wallet, but I'd almost reconsider for that bag.

    As for the sharpie on the soles, you could try rubbing alcohol, it removes sharpie from some surfaces, but not sure about the bottom of the shoes.

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    1. I'm going to try the rubbing alcohol. Just haven't had a chance yet. Or I've been to lazy, more to the point.

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  4. Gorgeous, both purchases! Those Ferragamos look like new -- and they look contemporary rather than vintage, really. And you won't be seeing them coming and going on Toronto streets. The Opelle bag is also distinctive -- yet there's something that reminds me of the Olivia -- the softness within a just-firm-enough structure, perhaps? or it might just be because the colour is quite similiar to my daughter's Olivia. Smart buys -- good value!

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    1. Thank you! There is a similarity between the bags. I do love that sac shape. The baby ballet is more refined. A good refresher.

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  5. Try hair spray to remove the sharpie writing. I know it works on magic marker ink on tin, so nothing to lose on your soles. Probably has alcohol as countrygirlcouture says in her advice.

    Great bag, love that you won't see it coming and going everywhere. I'm very much into the idea of supporting local vendors, and I live in Toronto too so I'll be checking out Opellle Creative when I next need a bag.

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    1. I will try the hairspray option if the alcohol doesn't do the trick.

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  6. What gorgeous new purchases! I am definitely a bag and shoe lover too. I spend an embarrassing amount on my bags, but I figure I make all my own clothes so I can allow myself to splurge somewhere :)

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  7. I'm so jealous - I've been lusting after that particular bag for a year! Maybe one day... :-)

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    1. If I were a super rich lady, I'd gift you one right now! But don't worry, you'll have one sooner than you think.

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  8. O K, that bag is delicious! I'm gonna have to get one ( diff colour though). CD

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    1. All of the colours are lovely. You might like the mariner (a dark navy). Order the swatch card to ensure...

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  9. I'm going to second rubbing alcohol to take the sharpie off. My son once wrote on my parents wooden banister with sharpie and it came right off.

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    1. Oooh, very good testimonial. Will try soon.

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  10. Hope you've bucked your bronchitis (bwahaha) in time for Thanksgiving! You know I didn;t ever think to look at shoes on Etsy; usually go to eBay, where I have found two perfect pairs--one of them my fave Loeffler Randall! Will take a gander at Etsy next time. Happy Thanksgiving!! xo K

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    1. Hey K: Unfortunately not quite better yet. Shoes on Etsy are genius. And generally affordable.

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  11. I agree about trying the rubbing alcohol, if it doesn't remove it, it *should* at least make it less noticable. My DS had a rubbery coated jacket decorated by a classmate when they were little. The alcohol did not remove it all, but it did remove it to where it looked like dirt smudges, not marker. Or if it's still too much, dare I recommend using black sharpie and just covering the whole sole??

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    1. I sense I should go upstairs this minute and try the rubbing alcohol. Very soon.

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  12. That bag is utterly lovely. I'll definitely keep this vendor in mind for the next time I need a purse. I just bought one a few months ago, so it'll be awhile before I'm back on the bag market.

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    1. I sense she'll be there when you're ready for your next bag.

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  13. Wonderful bag! I love buying bags from independent designers. I bought my last from a shop in San Fran with the most wonderful suede. (Although suede handbags look kind of used after awhile but I love it.)

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    1. I love suede too. But it's not good in this climate. Too much precipitation.

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  14. OMG those shoes and bag are GORGEOUS! Serious shoe and bag envy radiating out of California right now! I'm so checking out that bag maker as soon as my budget recovers from the Lingerie Shop Along, lol.

    BTW, I received my 30E Miss Mandalay Paris from LCL. I have questions I want to pose about it to you, so I'll do that after work one night this week. Agh, if I can overcome my bag envy that long. :-)

    Hope you're feeling less horrible today!

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    1. I'm sure the bags (made to order) will be waiting for you when you're ready to spend again. Maybe get the swatch card (which takes a while) so you'll be ready to go. And I suspect you might get a 10 per cent off coupon with the swatch card.

      Let me know your Mandalay question when you're ready. Feel free to email if you want.

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  15. K, I'm so excited to tell you that my hubby (aka Santa) bought me a baby botanist for Christmas! And I love love love it! And my Envious
    Coach-loving suburbanite friends think it's the cat's ass! CD

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    1. I was hoping that might be your special Xmas gift! You deserve it. Can't wait to see what it looks like. xo

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  16. Replies
    1. Pretty well! If it were in a dark colour, it would be perfect. Because it's dove grey and I wear it daily, the shoulder of the strap (where it rubs against my coat at the top of the shoulder) is a bit discoloured, but it's not noticeable unless you scrutinize a 2 inch piece of the top of the strap. I'm not careful with this thing at all. I overstuff it and the lining, while it's holding up, is a bit scuffed. I would totally buy another of these. Next time, though, I'd likely buy the bigger size. This one's a bit small. Mind you, it keeps me from lugging absolutely everything I can think of - even as I do overstuff it.

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