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 TruLu Couture (43)

Monday
Apr022012

When It All Comes Together

There are very few things about your wedding day that you can see ahead of time. You know what your dress will look like. You’ve done the hair trial. You’ve picked the flowers, the colors, the linens, the favors, the whatever. You’ll never know what it all comes out to be though, until the big day.

I think that’s part of the anticipation; the build up to “the day.” Some us of might be disappointed. Some of us overwhelmed. For me, that “it all came together” moment was one of sheer joy. Everything looked exactly as I had pictured it in my head. No wait, better.

What I’ve come to recognize since that day is that what you see in your mind’s eye is subjective to reality. And that’s OK. What you get might actually be better.

Case in point, my friend Brady at BeMe Photo asked if she could borrow some TruLu Couture goodies for a photo shoot. Naturally, I was fine with that. I love that what she produced was nothing like what I had envisioned in my head when I made these pieces.

The Thirty-Something Bride The Thirty-Something Bride

The Thirty-Something Bride The Thirty-Something Bride

The Thirty-Something Bride

TruLu Couture_BeMe Photo The Thirty-Something Bride

The Thirty-Something Bride_BeMe Photo TruLu Couture_BeMePhoto

Aren’t happy surprises wonderful?

Wednesday
Mar282012

{Product of the Week} Pleated Pill Box Hat

So I found this gorgeous little white pleated hat MONTHS ago. I’ve been sitting and staring at it for that long. It’s been perched on different versions of head forms I have and it’s taken a while for the its’ new vision to appear. The fanned out pleats are simply divine and with what I’m going to add to this sucker? It’s going to be a lovely little vintage upcycle to die for.

The Thirty-Something Bride_TruLu Couture_HatVeil2

I’ll add some Russian tulle to the hat, across the front. I want it to fall across the face, about nose length. It will be able to be lifted up and worn that way too.

The Thirty-Something Bride_TruLu Couture_HatVeil3

I’m going to add some feathers too, it’ll add a little height. Not sure about these feathers, though. Still thinking it through.

The Thirty-Something Bride_TruLu Couture_HatVeil4

I think this little vintage rhinestone number will be involved too. I love the little dangly rhinestone bits on this one.

I can’t wait to finally figure out the rest of this hat. I imagine it on a bride who will wear a dress like this:

image

or maybe like this:

image

or these:

image image

Right??

Wednesday
Feb222012

{Product of the Week} Crowns, Tatting and Flowers

Right before Christmas, I got a call from one of my aunts. It’s not an aunt I normally talk to on the phone, so I was super surprised when I saw her number flashing on my phone. She called to let me know that she was bringing a bag of old lace to my mom to bring to me when she saw me over the holidays.

Old lace? Hello? You have my attention! When I asked about where it had come from, she told me lots of it her grandmother had made. MADE. Lace. Her grandmother. Like, super old shit. We’re not talking vintage, we’re talking honest-to-goodness antique.

What I got was a giant bag full of all kinds of lace, edging from old fabric, trim – truly a mixed bag. Lots of it was tangled, held onto old postcards with steel needles, some rusted through the fabric (insert extremely unhappy face here), assorted doilies. I went through the majority of it with my mom, ooohing and aaahing over certain pieces, wondering if other pieces could be cleaned. I knew it would be a huge under-taking and I attacked it when I got back from the holidays. I’m still not 100% finished sorting and cleaning it all, but I’m pretty close.

embroidery

Holy gorgeous silk embroidery!

Lace1

There’s a lot of tatting in the bag. Do you know what tatting is? It’s a kind of lace made by hand, back in the day. It’s almost like super-duper-mini crochet. Patterns can be incredibly detailed and the lengths I have are stunning. I’ve been able to clean just about every piece back to its original beauty.

Soooooo, some pieces are too short to do much with, but there is enough of one style. Lookie:

tatting

And do you remember this vintage goodie I found that was a total mess? It's a beaded cotton crown from the 1930's.

veil

Oh my God, you guys? It totally got all pretty-fied.

crown

Can you believe it? It’s such a beautiful little crown! Every single bead is in tact. I added a new buckram underlining and lined it in a pretty slub-weave silk. I’ve turned it into a headband that ties on with ribbon versus the original elastic thing. Now that’s I’ve got the length of tatting cleaned, I think the two will look perfect together! I do believe I have enough to make a 75” cathedral length veil. Dudes! First of all, I’m probably freakin’ nuts. That’s 12.5 FEET of hand sewing teeny tiny tatting onto tulle. Just shoot me right now. But you know what? It will totally be freakin’ worth it when it’s done!!! I can't wait!

And the flowers? Oh, the flowers. I found this amazing resource…..an old silk flower factory out of New York. It’s long been shut down, however, they have gobs of silk petals in pristine condition, meant to be made into gorgeous flowers, but never got there. And now I have them! What fun! I also found some other flowers that are soooooo pretty.

flowers

I simply cannot decide which thing/color/style is my favorite. So many pretty things, so little time!

Sunday
Feb122012

WINNER!

Happy Sunday, y’all! Just a quick post to announce the winner of my BHLDN knock-off! Drum roll, please………….

Congratulations

to

Kinzie!

(She's got herself a lil' blog, so make sure you check that out too!)

 

Check out TruLu Couture for other fun bridal accessory goodies!

Thank to everyone who entered!

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!