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My newest handbag design. Handmade with exclusive fabric featuring licensed artwork by several great artists & my custom fob.
My newest handbag design. Handmade with exclusive fabric featuring licensed artwork by several great artists & my custom fob.
102 backers pledged $7,385 to help bring this project to life.

Haut Totes update #4

Posted by Melissa Lewis ( Haut Totes ) (Creator)

Hey Everyone,

This project finalized 5 days ago, so I thought I'd give you all an update on where things are at the moment. 

As you know one of the main reasons I launched my new line like this was so that I could cover the cost of the custom hardware I was having manufactured with pre-orders.  All of the purses pictured were made with 10" kisslock frames, which is a pretty standard size.  But for some reason they seemed just a bit too small and making something with a standard size makes WAY too much sense!  I also really, really, really wanted to be able to offer gunmetal as a choice!

So, I spent the 7 weeks before I launched my new line finding a manufacturer who would not only make me custom sized kisslock frames, but make them in gunmetal finish as well, AND make purse feet and the handle hardware in the same finish.  This involved a lot of late nights emailing and instant messaging people in China.

That process prompted me to bang my head occasionally and wonder "Why don't I just put a zippered top on these purses and call them good enough!"  

In the end it all paid off and I found a great manufacturer who could make me what I wanted.  All I had to do was order a minimum of 300 frames in each finish.  LOL  I took a gamble that this line would be successful and wired them an arm and a leg, and launched my line!

I know it's kinda silly, but I got this picture and was totally excited and wanted to share it.  In these 5 boxes are 183 pounds of purse bits!  The boxes have been having a great time, they flew to Hong Kong, from there they were off to Paris, after Paris they flew on to the sightseeing capitol of the US, Yep, you guessed it New Jersey.  After spending a few quality hours in New Jersey they went on to Memphis TN where they stopped for customs check. 

After chatting with the Fed Ex international shipment clearance people several times trying to explain that the boxes weren't filled with purses, but purse parts.  And, no the metals used in the purse parts weren't gold, silver or platinum!? (Why they didn't just open the boxes and look, I don't know...) It was decided that the shipment was ok and it was on it's merry way.  According to my obsessive tracking, the boxes are now in Reno and should be delivered to me next week!  I am totally excited, and a bit nervous.

One of the quirky bits with taking pre-orders through Kickstarter is that I knew how many purses and or keys would be purchased, but not which design!  So, I've spent the last few days gathering information about which purse design, handle length and metal finish people want and ordering fabric.  I've also spent a lot of time formatting image files for the fabric printer for all the bags with custom text, as those have to be done individually.

If you've answered your questionnaires I have your choices and mailing address.  Meaning that the fabric for your purses is being printed, or if you just ordered keys, meaning that I them packed for shipping as soon as payment to me clears.  If you haven't answered the questionnaire you got from me, please do so as soon as you get a chance.

I expect the frames in the next week, and the first of the purse fabric next week as well.  As long as everything arrives on schedule and the quality looks good the first bags should start shipping in 2 weeks.  I received over 40 purse orders which is about 200 hours of sewing!  That is just sewing time, add in cutting, pinning, packing, shipping, etc. My plan is to pull 4 extremely long weeks and try and have all the purses shipped by the end of May. 

I'll be sending updates along the way, but as usual if you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to contact me!

Thanks again for supporting my new line!

Melissa Lewis


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      linda mallery on

      Thanks so much for such a great update. We are all excited with you and pleased to see how this gets done. Fingers crossed all goes well!