Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Custom Order Situation

Mom and I have had the last couple of months off, which we desperately needed to try and recover from the craziness of many things going on in our lives. We also took this time to assess what we want to do with our company, and it's basically come down to this: We just can't handle custom orders anymore at this time.

I know this may potentially upset a lot of our customers and fans, but it has to be done for our sanity and health. I already have a full time job running my own graphic design company, and I can't keep up with the crazy hours and demands of running both businesses any longer. My mom certainly can't run Obleek Bouteek on her own, and she is still recovering from a horrible injury she sustained earlier this spring, which limits the time she can spend sewing. We're not at the stage in our business' growth where we can afford to hire more staff to keep up the custom orders, so we've decided the best thing to do at this time is to put a hold on them all together. This isn't necessarily a permanent situation; we may very likely open up for custom orders sometime in 2011, or even come up with a more workable solution.

In the meantime, that doesn't mean we're shutting the doors completely! We were busy bees earlier this year creating stock for some local shows that we did, and we have a good stash left. We plan on listing these items starting this week (it may take a while as there is a fair amount to list!). The items in stock include pre-made Gracies, Kirbys, Diaper and Wipes Clutches, Camera and Guitar Straps, Snack and Sandwich Bags, Cup Cozies, and more!

We do realize that we weren't able to give much warning as to our decision, and so for those of you who have a valid Obleek Bouteek gift certificate and were waiting to redeem it for custom items, you will be able to do so between October 1, 2010 - November 5, 2010.

If you have a gift certificate that you want to use on custom items, please contact us starting October 1, 2010 by Convo via our Etsy store at www.obleek.etsy.com, and we will gladly work with you to place your order. Please include the gift certificate number in your convo, as we will not be able to accept custom orders without it. Gift certificates do not have to be used for custom items, they can be also be used for in-stock items at any time.

We've learned a lot over the last year and half, and we appreciate the support of our customers more than you will ever know. Hopefully someday soon we'll be back with a custom order model that works better for us and even better for our customers.

Thanks everyone!

Katie & Sam

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Calling all ladies of Edmonton: Start spring off right with a fabulous day of shopping and pampering!

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Joanne MacDonald of A Little Something to become a part of an exciting local event for Edmonton and area women. Spring Fling: A Women's Shopping and Discovery Event allows you to shop with local vendors and handmade artisans, relax with mini spa treatments, enjoy good food and company, and learn something new all in one location.

Spring Fling will take place on Saturday, April 10th from 11 am – 7 pm at Kenilworth Hall (7104-87 Avenue Edmonton, AB). Tickets at the door are only $2.00, and all proceeds will go towards purchasing mom and baby care kits for WIN House. The event will also include some fabulous door prizes from the vendors!

Spring Fling is the result of the combined efforts of Joanne and her sister Sarah; two business savvy moms that run their own businesses. They created Spring Fling to give vendors and artisans the opportunity to showcase their products and talents without paying expensive booth fees, all the while providing a unique shopping experience that gives back to women in our community.

After hearing what this event was all about, Obleek immediately teamed up with these two talented women. I have worked with them to design the event's logo, poster, and flyers, as well as writing the press release and setting up our Facebook Fanpage. It's going to be an amazing event! My mom and I will be there with our own table selling Obleek guitar and SLR straps, Kirbys, diaper and wipes clutches, lunch bags, sandwich and snack bags, and some purses too. We'll also have a laptop set up to take custom orders and you can browse our products and fabrics and design your own bag on site. We'll also have many of the Add-Ons available as options for our bags so you can see them in person.

Spring Fling is a unique shopping/craft show event in that the vendors have come up with ways to interact and involve shoppers in a variety of activities and services. Some of these interactive elements include:

  • Trying eyebrow threading and new hair techniques
  • Whitening your teeth
  • Getting a mini-makeover
  • Relaxing with a mini facial, massage, or manicure
  • Learning from women’s health and beauty experts
  • Designing your own handbag or earrings
  • Sampling delicious food and drinks
  • Hearing local musicians
  • Buying beautiful handmade items
  • Seeing artisans at work

Vendors at the event include:

  • Kaya Kama Day Spa
  • Arbonne International
  • A Little Something
  • Obleek Bouteek
  • Know it Sooner
  • Pampered Chef
  • Amega Global
  • Coca Blitz Hair Design
  • Purseption
  • Winalite Canada
  • Sweet Wood Painting
  • Make-up by Robyn
  • Gold Canyon
  • Razzel Dazzel Nails
  • Kid Canada
  • Sashiko Studio

  • Divine Interventions
  • Mona Vie
  • Art of Cake
  • Jeunique International
  • Treasured Facts
  • Hip Sister
  • Girl Guides of Canada
  • Local musicians
A promotional poster and flyers for the event can be found at:

We have also created a Facebook fan page that can be found at:

We need all the help we can get in promoting this great event. Please tell everyone you know, and if you can, stop by and show your support! We hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Diaper clutch giveaway on monpetitamourblog.com

Morgan from Mon Petit Amour, a Canadian baby finds blog, has featured us on her blog's Canadian Etsy Week and we are among some great company! To celebrate this week of amazing sellers, we are offering up one one our best selling items: a custom diaper and wipes clutch.

Whoever wins next week will be able to choose their favourite fabric and lining colour and receive one of these great accessories for moms on the go!

To enter, check out the contest details at Mon Petit Amour. Good luck to all the entrants!

As for some more Obleek updates, stay tuned for the beginning of March; we're planning a great sale AND new pre-made stock items as well!

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Fabrics!

We've picked up a few new fabrics (just couldn't help ourselves). Here are the goods:

Tossed Flowers in Chocolate by Joel Dewberry
Tossed Flowers in Chocolate by Joel Dewberry

Chalk it Up on Black
Chalk it Up on Black

Spade Damask in Ivory by Joel Dewberry
Spade Damask in Ivory by Joel Dewberry

Wood Fern by Amy Butler
Wood Fern by Amy Butler

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

Happy New year everyone! For us, a new year means a (slightly) new name: Obleek is now Obleek Bouteek!

I've mentioned on here before the confusion regarding Obleek Bags vs. Obleek Design Studio (my graphic design company). The problem was, I usually just referred to our sewing business as Obleek, because Obleek Bags sounded lame and yet we couldn't think of something else to differentiate it. In turn, I also referred to the design business as Obleek, since Obleek Design Studio is great, but quite a mouthful. It was making things very confusing.

One day I was daydreaming about owning an actual physical store filled with all of our products. I wanted my fantasy store to have a cute, funky boutique feel. And that led me to what I would call it... Obleek Bouteek! An actual store may be out of the picture for now, but with our business growing and with our goals of entering into the craft show market this year, the name was a perfect fit. So Obleek Bouteek it is!

Shortly you will be able to visit this site via www.obleekbouteek.com instead of www.obleekbags.com. The latter will still work until the domain expires, but if you have bookmarks you'll want to change them eventually. We're also working on an actual website with our new name instead of just a blog, and this will have a new look as well as an online store separate from Etsy.

In the meantime, we are continuing to sew up a storm with custom orders and making stock items, so please continue to visit www.obleek.etsy.com for all your purchases.

Also, keep an eye on our blog over the next couple of weeks, as I am brewing up a sale for some of our products.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays from Obleek!

Well, we did it. Thanks to Canada Post's expedited service for small business, all of our holiday orders made it out and barring any postal delays (*knocks wood*) all orders should get to their recipients in time for the big day.

My mom and I have been working full-time non-stop since October 5th, and let me tell you, we are burned out. We know that there will have to be some changes to Obleek over the next while to make this a sustainable business for us, and so that we can continue to provide the best products and service possible. We were fortunate enough to acquire some help this Holiday season for cutting and packaging, but even that did only a little to help alleviate some of the stress and pressure.

Now we find ourselves 9 days away from Christmas (when did it sneak up like that??) with mile long to-do lists that we would normally start tackling in the beginning of December!

Thank-you to everyone for their patience and understanding during this crazy season, and as always, we will continue to make improvements to Obleek to benefit both our customers and ourselves. Because we're no good to you if we're drooling, babbling basket cases ALL the time. Heh.

A couple of things we're working on for 2010:
  • some shipping and product prices will be increasing (boo, I know)
  • a couple of new bag designs will be added (yay!)
  • we will be trying our hand at local craft sales and markets and possibly a bigger show this spring (yay for locals!)
  • a website of our own for easier custom ordering (being a web designer with a programmer hubby has it's perks)
  • a slight name change that will differentiate us from my design company a bit better (I can't wait to share this!)
Thanks again everyone for your continued support! For all those who placed orders after our holiday deadline, we haven't forgotten about you. We're still filling orders at a steady pace!

Best wishes from our family to yours this holiday season!

-- Katie & Her Mom

P.S. A message from my mom:

To keep your bags and straps looking like new for longer, try spraying them with Scotch Guard or a similar product so that stains and liquids are repelled. Be sure to follow the product directions, and test a small inconspicuous area first. This is especially helpful to bags made out of light colours that attract stains the most (ie Sofia, Sophistica, etc).

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Official Deal on the "At Par Discount"

We are thrilled to have so many Canadian customers, and one thing that Obleek has been offering from almost the beginning is the selling of our wares at par to the Canadian dollar for Canadian Customers who ask. At the moment it's not quite the deal it has been in the past, and if the dollar stabilizes we will phase it out, but for now it's still an offer available to every Canadian customer.

Because we have had so many people requesting this offer, we had to sit down and set some terms for this discount. The following is directly cut and pasted from our Policies Page on Etsy.
Canadian At Par Discount

For our fellow Canadians, we do offer an at par discount so that you are paying for the item in Canadian funds vs. USD (for instance, if an item costs $30 USD you would pay $30 CAD).

Here are the terms of this discount:

1) To qualify for this discount, the order must be purchased from and shipped to a Canadian address.

2) You must specify (in either a convo or in the message to seller box) that you wish to pay in CAD vs. USD PRIOR to paying for your order. We will not automatically apply this discount if you are a Canadian customer; you must let us know that you wish to use it. Please don't assume that we know you are Canadian before placing your order or that you wish to use this discount because you have used it before.

3) To receive at par pricing, go as far through the check out process as clicking on the “Commit to Buy” button, and stop there. Do not proceed to PayPal. Once you have clicked on “Commit to Buy”, we are sent a notification of your order. We will then send you a request for payment via PayPal to the email you gave when signing up on Etsy, usually within a few hours of your purchase. Once payment has been made, your order will go into our queue the next business day.

4) We will not offer the discount by refunding the difference after payment has been made. If you pay and then ask for the discount, we will let you know that the discount must be asked for prior to purchasing. It is a lot more work to calculate the conversion difference and to issue refunds after payment has already been made, and therefore is a process that we would like to eliminate.

5) The at par discount is applied to the remaining balance AFTER a Gift Certificate has been used.

6) The purchase of gift certificates do not qualify for the at par discount; they must be paid for in U.S. funds and will be applied accordingly to the balance before the at par discount is given.

7) The at par discount may not be used with any other discount unless otherwise indicated. Generally we allow at par discounts on sale items and quantity discounts on our lunch items and diaper accessories, but there may be exceptions.

8) This is limited offer and may be discontinued at any time without notice.