About Me

I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Contest (8)

Monday
Feb062012

{VEIL GIVE-AWAY!} Designer vs. Artisan? You Decide. 

*DEEP BREATH* OK, I think I’m going to get my teeth knocked in for this post, but you know that’s never stopped me before. I do want to preface this with the fact that  I started this little give-away/contest as a personal project. I wanted to just see. For you to understand why I did what I did, you might need to read this first. They are definitely related.

If you don't care to read my ramblings on this project, just look at the pictures and scroll down to enter. But if you are even just a teeny tiny little bit of  a conscientious bride, you should read.  I'm just sayin.....

Got the gist of things? Good, let’s move on.

This is how it started: I got lost on the internet again, ended up on Pinterest again, which took me to a picture from BHLDN.com. It was a picture of their  Dotted Voile Veil. It cost $160 and I thought that was pretty pricey, as are all things at BHLDN.  I saw the alternate photo and noted that the veil had some doodads and stuff and thought that $160 was an okay price with all the little flowers and crystals and stuff.

Then I read a comment from a purchaser/reviewer on this veil:

I was disappointed just like the last reviewer. I thought that the veil came with the bow and white flower pin. It doesn't it is just a piece of fabric barely attached with clear twine to a metal clip. I can't believe I spent $160.00 on it. If you get the bow and clip as well your total cost would be $260.00. Still debating on whether I will keep it. If you can find the fabric you can easily make it yourself.

First off, her math is a little wonky. The price of the bow is $200, the veil is $160, that means together they would be $360, not $260, GAH! She also included a photo:

image

THIS for $160!

So I was all I CAN TOTALLY MAKE THAT FOR A TON LESS AND SELL IT FOR A TON LESS!  So that’s what I started doing. I have some dotted tulle (“voile” means “veil” in French, so it the same shit essentially), I have some little doodads, let’s see what I can make.

The description of the bow thing is as follows:

…spray of enameled petals and glittering Swarovski stones in the midst of a loopy tulle bow. French dotted Swiss nylon, tulle, enameled brass flowers, Swarovski crystals.

So I don’t have Swarovski crystals on hand, but I do have some vintage goodies I could play around with that include a brass filigree flower, some vintage rhinestones and little vintage white plastic flowers with rhinestone centers. Some of the pieces aren’t in the best shape, but it was just a side project, so who cares, right? 

But wait, do you want to know WHY I wanted to try this? I wanted to see what it would price out to be. I wanted to see what my time and cost of goods would come out to.

Below is what I came up with (all on the left) and how it compares to the BHLDN items (all on the right). Check it:

 BLHDN1

 BLHDN1

 20390126_011_a

  20390167_011_a

 BHLDN2

Dotted6

Not bad, right? Pretty damn close if I do say so myself. While I was making this, in my head I was a little worried about selling it. It’s a purposeful knock-off. I don’t want to steal ideas and sell them as my own. That’s not my bag. I know the material isn’t identical, the doodads aren’t the same, there’s more pouf to the bow; legally BHLDN would have no recourse against me even if I did sell it.

I just saw the pricing and I threw up a little in my mouth. It was so gross. Now, little ol’ me? Making these pieces? It cost me next to nothing. The material I had on hand, the little plastic flowers were some of my grandmother’s old missing-its-partner earrings I took apart. Same for the filigree brass flower. The tulle in the bow I already had. However, if I was going to price this out based on economies of scale, purchasing quantity buys (as a large company like BHLDN would naturally do), the materials themselves? I’m going to estimate that the cost of the raw goods is NO MORE than $10, total. A couple crystals, some enameled flowers and material…can’t be more than $10. Simply can NOT. So, let’s pretend I’m a normal retailer and I take a 50-60% mark-up, that’s would put this at $22.50 or so, thus far compared to $360.

But don’t get your panties in a twist just yet. We haven’t talked about labor. It took me about 4 hours to make, futzing around with things, taking earrings apart,  making it just so. Based on BHLDN’s info, the designer of this piece is Debra Mooreland. It also states that the artisans that work in Debra’s Ohio studio “painstakingly build each piece by hand,” according to her original prototype.

And I guess that’s where we get down to the nitty gritty. How much is that time worth? The item is made in America, which means it will be more expensive. I’m OK with that. How much should an artisan make in an hour for copying a prototype? Now we’re just talking about skilled labor, not a designer.

Let’s just pretend for a second that I am one of these artisans and I’m making this from a prototype (which is basically what I did). I have all the materials on hand and I know what to do. No futzing. Streamlined process. On the high end, I’d say two hours, MAX. Probably less after the first 3 or 4. What is my time worth? What is Debra Mooreland’s time worth? What is one of her artisan’s time worth? What’s the licensing fee that BHLDN is paying Debra Mooreland (in my décor line of work, the range is 3-8%)? How much is overhead? Let’s say I charge $50 (I totally don’t) per hour for my work. In a perfect BHLDN world, you’ve got $100 in labor, plus the $10 for the parts and that equals $110. Add in the 50-60% markup and you’ve got $220 on the LOW side. Add in licensing fees and overhead and all of  sudden, the price starts to make sense.

And what if BHLDN approached ME and asked me to be one of their featured artists? Would I object to the pricing structure to have items made here in America and to have my work distributed through a well-know entity? Is $50 an hour reasonable? Is $100? Thought provoking, no?

Me? I priced this out the same way as I do all my items. I pay myself slightly more than minimum wage per hour (which disgusts me, but it is so), I charge for materials, packaging and generally, I take less than a 50% margin. I don’t do these things because I’m stupid. I charge less because I’m not well-known. I’m relatively new in the industry. My “brand” doesn’t command a high price…yet. However, to make all things fair, I gave myself a 50% mark up on this. The total cost I’d charge? $105 for both pieces compared to $360

So I have 2 points in all this. First? Shop around. Shop on Cargoh. Shop on Etsy.  Look around and you can find skilled artisans working hard to make ends meet, creating beautiful, quality product without the licensing fees and overhead.

Second? You can get this for FREE because you were patient and read all the bullshit that went through my head on this one.

Here’s what you gotta do:

1. Leave a comment. Anything will do: rant, praise, rambling jargon. (1 Entry)

2. Help me reach 1000 Twitter followers (I’m SO CLOSE!) and follow me @T30SB. Tweet this message: Veil Giveaway @T30SB http://bit.ly/zrkuCt . Leave a SEPARATE comment here that you did it. Already a follower? Tweet the same and let me know you are! (1 Entry)

3. Help me reach 1000 Facebook followers (I’m a little further behind on this one) and hit up my page here.  Leave a SEPARATE comment that you did it. Already a follower? Tell me you are in your additional comment! (1 Entry)

4. Follow me on Pinterest (you should really be a member already!) and tell me you did so by leaving a SEPARATE comment! Already follow me? Fantastic. Tell me about in your additional comment. (1 Entry)

So that’s FOUR chances to win! The contest will run for a week, ending on Sunday, February 12th at noon, EST. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, February 13th! Just in time for Valentine's Day! WOOT!

Wednesday
Sep142011

{Giveaway!} Melissa Sweet, Pre-Loved

OKOKOKOKOKOKOKOKOKOK….OK!!! I’m so excited. Like puppybutt-wiggle excited!

OK, so remember the kick-ass backyard Unfake Wedding from yesterday? Well, OK. The bride? Her name is Stephanie? Yeah, well. OK, just read her email. It’s WAY easier than trying to explain it all.

CS_206

Hi Louise

I hope you are having a great Wednesday! You don't know me, but I read your blog and love it. Even though my wedding is now over, yours is one of the few wedding blogs I still read on a regular basis (probably because you're not just about weddings anymore!). I really like your spunk, style and great adventures. Your earthquake story today was great. My friends back east were freaking out over their earthquake yesterday and I couldn't help but laugh after all of the quakes we've been through in California!
Anyhow, post-wedding I find myself with a beautiful dress, just sitting in the closet... After some thought, I would like to give it away for a few reasons:
1. It is so gorgeous and it would be sad for it to never see the light of day again. The world needs beautiful things and this is one of them!
2. It is discontinued so there won't be any more made...sadly...bringing me back to point number 1.
3. I hope I will have a boy (if/when we decide to have kids) but even if I have a girl child I would not want her to feel obligated to wear my dress. She should be able to have the fun of choosing her own!
4. I am very practical and into re-using and recycling, so the thought of my dress having a second life makes me happy. Seeing it in the closet again and again will probably make me feel guilty that it hasn't gone to a new home yet.
It is a Melissa Sweet, style "Plum" that I got at a sample sale in Miami. You seem to like stories so here goes the story of how I found my dress: I was looking for a dress last summer and thought I was going to buy one online,  for about $500 from Dolly Couture- the Milan, very cute tulle tea-length number. From watching/drooling over Say Yes to the Dress, though, I knew about fancy designers and I had signed up for the Priscilla of Boston email list on the off-chance that there was a sample sale in a city while I was traveling, since there was no PofB in LA (where we live) at the time and I travel a fair bit for work. Lo and behold, about 3 days before I have this trip to Miami I get a sample sale email. I Google-map the hotel and the salon, and they are 2 blocks apart. Fate! I had a 1-hour break between meetings and a team dinner one night, so I headed over to the salon. After being hassled for not having an appointment (when the sample sale email said 'no appointments necessary'!) I was allowed to browse the racks. I am fairly in touch with what I wanted and what works for my body, so I quickly had two selections and was shown to a dressing room. Contrary to what happens on SYTTD, the lady left me alone to get into the dresses myself. I put the first one on and it's fabulous (it's the one I ended up getting- the first wedding dress I ever tried on!). The sample size fits me and flatters my figure in a way I didn't anticipate from the drop-waist. The price tag, however, says $1850 (marked down from $3500) and there's no way I'm going to pay that much for a dress. I reluctantly take it off and put on the second one, which makes me look super-fat and is not very attractive, but it doesn't have a price tag so the lady goes to check on the price for me. She comes back and says that the second one is $2500, but 50% off, so down to $1250. Thanks but no thanks. Then she says that the first one, which I loved, was $995...and also 50% off! For the same price as the online dress, I could have a Melissa Sweet?!! Yes please!! I paid for the dress and carried it home with me on the plane the next day. Everyone laughed to know that I bought my wedding dress alone, in Miami, in an hour break before dinner, and as the first wedding dress I tried on. Nuts, but just the way I like it. :)
So anyhow, if you are amenable and would be so gracious as to post this, I would love to give the dress away to one of your readers or friends. I would want someone spunky who is not WIC-obsessed, but other than that I don't have a lot of criteria.
The dress is a sample, but in great shape, bridal size 8 (I normally wear a street size 4-6 on top where it's fitted), and it has been professionally cleaned since the wedding. I altered the length myself by taking it up from the waist since I wanted an actual tea length and I am not 5'8" like the model it was built for (just 5'4"). I have been sewing for over 20 years so the alterations look close to professional (the one mistake I made is hidden by the sash and I doubt anyone else would have even noticed). For full disclosure, I did manage to drip some salted caramel ice cream on the skirt at the wedding, but that is gone now!
If you'd like to take a look at the dress (and our wedding!!) our photographer got it published on this random blog a few weeks ago: One Love Photography.
Let me know what you think...thanks!!

OK, so you totally know what we’re doing now, right???? FREE GOWN! FREE GOWN! FREE GOWN!!!! FREEEEEEE GOOOOOOOWWN!

So here’s the skinny. I totally had Stephanie send me the dress so I could give the thing a look-see to make sure all was capice. It’s a beautiful 100% silk chiffon overlay that’s embroidered with these little round things and teeny sequins. Very pretty. I went over it with a fine tooth comb. It’s immaculate. I did find her sewing mistake, but I looked for it. Naked eye? No way. Some of the embroidery circles on the back had a few loose threads, but after I steamed the gown, I snipped those off and it all looks fantastic. There are some dresser’s marks on the inside lining of the gown, but it’s on the inside and they are teeny. Full dress disclosure here. If you win this gown, all you should do is get it professionally cleaned and pressed again so that it’s at it’s very best. My hand steamer was good, but I’d take it to do professionally, just to be thorough. 

The model shot of this dress can be found here. Also, some detail shots I took of the gown here in the TruLu Couture studio:

ms2

 

 

Dress7

Dress8

 

Pretty, right? So here’s what you have to do to win it.

1. Leave a comment – 1 entry.

2. Follow me on Twitter (@T30SB) – 1 entry. Leave an ADDITIONAL comment here telling me that you are a follower, new or old. Both will get ya the entry, just comment.

3. Follow me on Facebook (The 30-Something Bride) – 1 entry. Leave an ADDITIONAL comment here telling me that you are a follower, new or old. Both will get ya the entry, just comment.

4. Make sure you read the Official Rules here. Contest entries will be accepted up until 11:59pm EST on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Winner will be announced on Friday, September 23rd!

That’s it. Have fun. Spread the word. Make a bride happy. 

Monday
Jun202011

{Giveaway!} Love Your Way! 

There's a TruLu Couture Giveaway happening right now over on Love Your Way! If you don't already know about Lizzie and Isaiah, well....now you do! They are two super-cool bloggers who keep it real, just they way I like it!

Here's the item up for grabs....

Hand sewn floral hair fascinator made with ivory velvet and chiffon petals. Accented with ivory chenille dotted Russian tulle, vintage (20+ years) dotted Swiss tulle and ivory tulle. The center is a vintage pearl and rhinestone button. The back is finished in ivory felt and comes with a nickle plated alligator clip as well as a pin for an alternate styling option.

Do you like? Leave some feedback!

Tuesday
May242011

TruLu Couture Give-Away!

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be promoting the hell out of TruLu Couture across the interwebs! Get ready to win some stuff!

I'm honored to say that the first give-away is being featured by Inconceivable Life (formerly My San Francisco Budget Wedding)! Tony and Sarah are a super-cool duo and I cannot WAIT until their wedding, for which they had to postpone and change locations! Talk about a wedding-planning challenge! Make sure you read her blog on the regular, it's totally worth the time suck!

I'm going to recap the contest here, but ya gotta go to Inconceivable Life to enter and win!

What's awesome is that you get a choice of what you want to win. Not in the mood for wedding-y veil stuff? No problem! The first item up for grabs is a Hand-Crocheted and Vintage Velvet Headband. Check it out!

I feel like every piece I make has some sort of story to tell. Is that weird? There are bits and pieces of what goes into a piece that I feel are so important! Maybe I'll just start telling those stories.

This headband is made of milk chocolate brown vintage (20+ years) velvet ribbon that I found at a lovely antique show. The permanent location was jam packed with sewing goodies from a woman who recently moved into a retirement community and had to part with her sewing and craft goodies (I find this a little sad, to be truthful). The three hand crocheted flowers were made by my mom. She crochets like the wind. She can sit there and have a freaking conversation about ergonomic chairs (or something equally weird) and her fingers fly like the wind. At the end of the conversation, an afghan is made. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating just a little. But seriously, she can crochet anything and she’s been willing to help me in my endeavors. So, each crocheted flower has a light ivory pearl center. These are accented by a cluster of vintage pearl-bead “flowers” (acquired at the same antique show) and two guinea feathers. The headband decoration is backed with felt for stability and the whole thing is 48″ long.

The next item up for grabs is a birdcage veil, of sorts. Check it out, though I am despising these photos! Can I tell you how hard it is to photograph veils when all you have is a Styrofoam head that’s painted black and sitting on black poster board in the DIY light box made with foam board and duct tape? Trust me, it’s hard.

VeilA

The birdcage veil is made in a bandeau style with small metal combs at each end. One end has the hand-sewn vintage (20+ years) light ivory appliques. The whole thing from top-of-the-comb to top-of-the-comb is 16” long. I was inspired to do this piece after I saw Veronica’s AH-MAZING gown she made for a bride on her blog My Hands Made It. She had similar tea-stained appliques that she layered all over the bodice of the gown. I remembered I had some similar but vintage appliques and I went digging and found them in a drawer. I sat and stared at them for a while before this idea came to me, but the inspiration to dig out these suckers came from Veronica, fo sho’. Her work is glorious.

This is the other side of the veil. I made a little pouf on the end, just for some dimension and playfulness. The comb is underneath and just gets tucked away. What I love about this piece (and can’t show you because I do not have a human head stashed away for impromptu photo shoots) is that you can also wear this more like a headband if you want. I actually love it this way, it’s more ethereal and halo-like. The below is the best picture I could come up with to show this feature, but I know, it kinds sucks.

MSFBW3

I recently saw the look I’m trying to describe on a wedding blog, but now I can’t remember which one, otherwise I’d steal the pic and show you. Imagination is what you’ll have to work with here, people! I do know that when I was sewing it, The Candyman (who rarely comments on my work) looked over my shoulder and said, “Whatever that is? It’s going to be really pretty when you’re done.” Does that help?

So head on over to Inconceivable Life and enter to win either piece! Make sure you follow her rules to win. Contest runs through Thursday, May 26th, with the winner announced on Friday. AND, if you enter and don’t win? Just email me at trulucouture@gmail.com and you’ll get free shipping on any item you buy! Hurry and enter!

Monday
Feb142011

Happy Valentine's Day, Lovers! Oh Yeah, and Something Else....

You people and your emails....I swear, it's some kinda hard to actually count emails on a computer screen. However, the team bucked up and managed not only to count, but to double check ourselves for accuracy (we were right the first time!). 

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest: contestants, finalists, ALL the voters (you people are exhausting in your determination!) and all the other wedding junkies, websites and bloggers out there who shared this little battle for free wedding photography! I'll tell you, this was one heated contest. It was hard to tell who was going to win as we watched the votes come in, it was that close. We had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and HUNDREDS of emails come in and it came down to twenty-six votes. Only TWENTY-SIX votes put one couple over the edge! Amazing.

So without further delay.....drumroll,  please......

The winners of Dulce Photograhpy's FREE WEDDING DAY PHOTOGRAPHY is...

SHELLY AND RYAN!

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU TWO!

Carissa will be in touch with you shortly to hammer out the details. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this contest! It's been fun. I wonder what kind of contest is coming up next?

Stay tuned.....