Flowers

Wow! What a year 2015 has been!

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Flowers
Flowers

Every post should begin with a bright picture of gorgeous flowers!  I was presented with this beautiful bunch of flowers after I helped out at the last Local Enterprise Office Women in Business networking event last week, entitled “A Celebration of Success”, which was organised by the force of nature that is Theresa Mulvihill of Smart Marketing.  Along with Hannah Arnup from Ballymorris Pottery and Orla Meere from Meere’s Pork Products, I took part in a panel discussion about my eventful 2015, and my plans for 2016. How to sum up 2015 in the 5 minutes I was given? Crikey!

A plethora of purses
A plethora of purses

It has been a mad year, so exciting and busy, and as 2015 comes to a close, I am still scurrying around making bags and purses for my final market of 2015, Chapel Lane Market in Ennis, on Saturday 19th December, from 10am – 5pm. Chapel Lane is looking so gorgeous and festive, it’ll be lovely to have one last market before Christmas in the company of my stallholder pals and the friendly folk of Ennis and Clare who have been such great supporters of the market since we started in March this year. The starting up of Chapel Lane Market is definitely a highlight of 2015.

Another highlight has to have been taking my bags to GlenAran’s Duty Free shop at Shannon Airport over the Summer, and then in October they were formally stocked by GlenAran in that shop.  It’s so exciting when friends or family fly through the airport and tell me they have seen my bags in the shop.  It’s a huge vote of confidence in Sallyann’s Handmade Bags, and I’m so chuffed about it.

And then I won the Silver Award in the Bank of Ireland Start Up Awards! Wow! How did that happen?  And how did I manage to break my ankle just as I was about to go to the awards ceremony? Without my fellow finalist Shoeniversity live tweeting the event, I wouldn’t have known I’d won silver until the morning after. It was such fun to take part, and lovely to get the silver award.

Now it is time to get planning for 2016.

Coco helping with the sewing (not)
Coco helping with the sewing (not)

If I can get Coco to move out of the way and let me get sewing, there will be new bags in 2016.  January is a time for me to plan and experiment with new fabrics and new ideas.  I’ll still be making the large and small messenger bags, the large and small cross body bags and the perennial favourite, the zip top tote, but I love a challenge.  So I have a few things buzzing in my head that I need to get out of my head and onto the sewing machine.  One of these couldn’t wait until January – it was the box bag.  I wanted to see could I make a smallish make up/washbag that would suit both men and women.  It had to be lined with denim (of course).  And it had to look nice.  So I have made a few and trialled them at Chapel Lane and the Clare Crafts Association Xmas Fair, and they seem to be a popular addition to my range.  Here are a few of them stacked up at a market:

Boxbags - perfect for shaving stuff, wash bags, make up, you name it...
Boxbags!

The box bags will soon be appearing alongside all of my bags in the online shop part of this website.  The shop is now fully operational.  Woo hoo! I can now take purchases online, payments securely through PayPal, and send out the bags anywhere in the world. Hooray!

I hope to secure some more outlets across Ireland in 2016, and maybe to branch out internationally as well.  I’ll still be a regular at Chapel Lane Market in 2016, and I would like to take the bags to other markets elsewhere in Ireland.  I reckon the odd festival could be fun – who’s up for Electric Picnic next September?

Daisy and Lucy on a cold, wet day
Daisy and Lucy looking cosy

So all that remains for me to say in this post is thank you to all of you who have supported me in 2015, by reading this blog, coming to the various markets I have attended, purchased from me or one of my retailers, bought online, or simply liked a picture on my Facebook page. Thank you.  I hope that your Christmas and New Year are as cosy as Lucy and Daisy in this photo, and that I see you or hear from you all early in 2016.

Happy Christmas!
Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Sallyann’s Handmade Bags!

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