Ladies’ Day Out Expo – My bungee bounce-back

Let me start by saying I consider the Ladies’ Day Out Expo a success. That being said, it was far from a smooth process. The short version goes like this: there was a huge miscommunication between the show organizers and the venue management. The result was approximately 13 vendors, including yours truly, with no table and no place to set up.


I waited. And waited. Eventually, I decided to cut my losses and leave. It just wasn’t going to happen this time. And I was crushed. But then at the very last minute a space opened up and I jumped on it. It was an hour-and-a-half late but I had a table. And a glimmer of hope.

I set up my space just like I practiced at home and I’m pretty pleased with how it looked. I’ll probably tweak a few things next time but I’m not planning any big changes. (Of course, I’m always open to suggestions.)










I have to take a minute to mention my “neighbors”, Tammy and Keyana. They were so supportive and helpful – the kind of people you always hope to meet at an event like this. The three of us attacked what was left of our day with positive attitudes and big smiles.

Then it happened. I sold a card. This may not seem earth-shattering, but if you read my previous posts you’ll understand my euphoria. By the end of the day I had sold over 20 cards plus a handful of gift tags.


Of course, the people I met are proving more helpful to my business than the sales I made. I love when that happens. And I also have to point out that the show organizers offered each and every vendor a free show to make up for the morning’s chaos. It’s already been scheduled and it looks like all the details have been handled. Nice.

So my biggest fear has not been realized. I did not suck. My bungee cord did not break – again. Now it’s time to put all this drama behind me and move forward.



A bungee jumping survival story

Imagine you went bungee jumping and the cord broke. You plummeted to the ground but, by some miracle, survived. Now imagine you’re insane enough to try another jump. Imagine that knot of raw fear deep in your gut. That’s how I feel this week, preparing to sell my cards at another show. 

My first show experience was excruciatingly painful. Broken bungee cord painful.

If you haven’t read my previous post, take a look so you’ll understand my current state of mind. If you have read it, you know my first show experience was excruciatingly painful. Broken bungee cord painful. But I survived and I learned. So here’s what I plan to do differently this time.

I’m representing myself.
Nobody knows Purseonals better than me, regardless of their experience with trade shows, craft shows, and expos. I will not be so intimidated by the show itself that I hand my product over to someone else.

I’m starting small.
My first show was at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Most of the competing vendors there sold lines of 100+ cards. I was selling 8. Great opportunity, bad fit. Sort of like jumping off the Empire State Building for your first bungee experience. This time I’m setting up at a local show, one that fits my company and focuses specifically on my target market. More like jumping off my dining room table.

I’m selling to consumers instead of retailers.
I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% confident about this one. I buy all my cards from brick & mortar stores, usually the day I need them, maybe the day before. Thankfully, not everyone is like me. Some people shop online. Some stock-pile cards so they’re always ready. Others are just looking for something special or unique. Those are the people I hope to meet and connect with.

These are all small things but they make me feel better, like I have a plan. A very simple, yet effective, strategy.

So that’s my story. Here’s my truth. I’m so scared I feel like I might throw up a little.

What happens if this is a repeat of last summer? If I don’t sell a single card? It’s happened before. Do I just keep calm and carry on or is it time to face facts? And exactly what facts am I facing? Who really signs up for a third bungee jump after two near-death experiences? Me? We’ll see.

My Story – Chapter 1

My new addiction to Twitter leads me to inspirational blogs every day and over time I’ve realized, I have a story to tell too. The most obvious starting point is the start of my business, Purseonals. So here’s Chapter 1. Enjoy.

A few years ago my oldest daughter and I fashioned a purse-shaped thank you card out of construction paper and glue. It was small and sticky but the concept, and its potential, were stuck in my head. I planned to cut out a bunch of these new inventions, sell them until Target or Hallmark offered to buy me out, and then . . . whatever happens next in an amazing success story like this.

I did make a bunch of cards. And I did sell some. To my mom.

Plan B: Wholesale. Start local and work my way up. I’ll be honest, my efforts at this were . . . well, pitiful. I was totally intimidated by the idea of pitching my product to shop owners and I’m sure it showed. Despite that, four of them said “yes”, and put Purseonals on their shelves. Out of the four, two went out of business, one never reordered, and one is still an active client. It wasn’t the start I had dreamed of but at least it was a step in the right direction.

Then came the opportunity I had been waiting for. My (only) client offered to rep my cards at a wholesale trade show in Chicago. Suh-weet! I worked my tail off and emptied my bank account getting ready. Finally, the big show arrived and . . . nothing. For four days. Literally zero sales.

That, my friends, is what you call a “crushing blow to the ego”.

I spent the following months desperately searching for my big girl panties. I’m happy to report that I found them and, slowly but surely, pulled them up. Which brings me to today. I have a new plan that’s centered around being true to myself and the things I know. Some of this new-found confidence came from supportive friends and family and a lot of it came from the truly inspiring people I’ve met online. Visit their blogs and remember to check back and see where this new path leads. Whether you’re learning along with me or sending me advice I would love to hear from you.


It started with pet artist Adriana Willsie, specifically her guest blog on Make Under My Life

That led me to Jess Constable,, an amazing jewelry designer and writer. I especially love this blog post

Wenderly had a story so similar to mine that just reading her bio made me feel like I could be successful.

And I can’t forget Kendi Lea who I actually discovered at Her writing makes me want to call her up and invite her over for coffee and scones.

A collection of bizzare bags.

Browsing the web this week I found a number of purses and handbags that were . . . well, unique – some more than others. These are a few of the standouts. Have you seen some doosies online too? Or do you have one hiding in the back of your closet, next to a mint-green bridesmaid dress?  Share them with me. I promise not to judge.

Lemon or banana? Either way, it's fruity.

You know I'm gonna say it. I have to. There's something fishy about this one.

I can't find a thing in my closet go with this. If you can, I wanna see it.

Can I push ctrl+z if I make a wrong turn or say something embarrassing?

The road to forgotten birthdays is paved with good intentions.

We all know the road to forgotten birthdays is paved with good intentions. We’re positive it was on the calendar but somehow it got lost. Now it’s a week late so we fire off a quick email and hope for forgiveness.

A simple solution is the perpetual-birthday-calendar. It charts the months and dates without the days of the week so you write down Bob your uncle’s birthday one time and you’re done. Forever. No more transferring dates at the end of every year – the same calendar you use for 2011 works for 2028.

Just like traditional calendars, perpetuals come in all sorts of creative choices. Some of my personal faves are at I also love, love, love the Andy Warhol images at Or, if you like to buy handmade, check out

So if you think the only solution is to start sending impersonal e-cards or (gasp) text messages, don’t do it. It’s not the same and you know it. Search the hundreds of beautiful, real cards you can buy online. Have them shipped directly to your door. Then take the time to write with a real pen. Lick a real envelope. And spread the joy that comes from finding a handwritten message hiding between the credit card offers and sales fliers.

Open for business, no toothbrush required.

It’s official. As of today you can buy Purseonals Greeting Cards and Gift Tags online. No more seeing this fab little card in your friend’s cubicle only to learn she received it from her Aunt Barbara five states away. Now you can get your own and don’t even have to get dressed or brush your teeth first. Ahhh, the internet.

If you don’t know what Purseonals are yet, you gotta click and see. Their fierce shapes and bold messages make them worthy of that cubicle wall, or even the refrigerator door. 

So shop away. Tell all your friends. And don’t forget to let me know what you think. You know us creative types, always looking for feedback. Talk to you soon.