Tuesday, December 4, 2007

"Made in China" What do yout think?

Sorry I didn't write earlier... I've been wrapping my head around a few things lately...

Last week I went to the One of a Kind show in Toronto because next March, I've been accepted to sell my armbags and wanted to see the set up and have a feel for the event. It's an exhibit that features original and fun gifts from artists and artisans. There are so many people visiting this exhibit it is insane.... Right now, I definitely have to build up my inventory for the show.

On another note, I was contacted by two big fashion magazines in Canada to promote my armbags in a few months. I'm very happy about that since it will help me alot to get the word out there. In a few days, I will also be selling my products on a US site called www.shoporangebutton.com.

On the production side, the bags are of great quality and I am very please and proud to produce them locally. In addition to provide work to people from my country, it gives me much more flexibility and control to make sure the products are made up to my standards. Right now, these two key points are very important.

Like I mention on my website (and my friends can confirm), I aboslutely love Asia but do not want to produce my bags over there at this time. First, I don't have the volume and second, I cannot see in which conditions the workers are doing their job. Exploitation happens everywhere but the high demand in these asian countries increases the pressure to deliver quickly and at the cheapest price and therefore has a negative impact on workers. I think it is inevitable at one point to make a product like mine in China or India due to volume (look at Matt&Nat bags), but when the day comes, I will make sure to do business with manufacturers that have a good reputation and offer good working conditions.

Of courses, making my products locally increases the costs and therefore price but it is everybody's reponsibility to educate consumers about the impact of always looking for the cheapest price. I think more people are sensitive about this issue and are willing to pay a little more to support responsible products.

What do you think about products "made in China"?


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New model for x-mas gift

Hi, Take a look at my latest model... I personally love it! What do you think?
It will be available for sale in a few weeks on my website http://www.jupiterfreedom.com/
For the past week, I've been focusing my work on marketing and distribution. I'm spreading the word out there about my armbags ;-)
If you know any good website presenting gift ideas, fashion, handbags, etc please let me know. You can now see my product on Etsy.com (which is a really great site to find little treasures) and Oursthreads.com. I'm also running some ads on Facebook.

I'm selling alot of bags and the Midnight Garden seems to be the most popular. I think people like the little silver flowers which makes it really feminine.
Honestly, my armbag makes the perfect Holiday gifts for urban, active and social 20-35 years old women. Think about your sister, cousin, best friend, collegue ;-)
Got to go back to work!

Friday, October 26, 2007

It is a go!

I very happy and excited to announce the official launch of Jupiter Freedom's website www.jupiterfreedom.com

Wow! I was feeling a bit anxious (in a good way) this morning about this new step and now I'm really jumping up and down. I did it! Had an idea, left my job, found the right people to help me out, worked hard, and bam here it is ;-)
Again, thanks for all the great advice and comments! I can feel the excitment from everybody that have been following me for the past months.
Pass it on to friends. Invite them on my website. The armbag seriously makes the best x-mas gift - and I'm not just saying that because I'm selling it !
Cheers everybody and keep coming to my blog

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

First Jupiter Freedom armbag collection

Get the first armbag collection.
Remember... there is only 100 units per model so if you like one I suggest you buy it now.

When you buy an armbag you also get a matching card case, ipod nano case (mp3 player not included!) and a silky travel pouch to put your armbag in when not in use. All this for $59 taxe included. Plus, all products are made in Quebec so you support your local economy.

For more information about my products, check out the post from Sept 17 below.
To buy now, see instructions below the pictures.

Midnight city - Jupiter Freedom armbag

Midnight Stars - Jupiter Freedom armbag

Midnight Garden - Jupiter Freedom armbag

Midnight Breeze - Jupiter Freedom armbag

Armbag features:

I'm really excited to show you these ;-) They make the perfect gift for B-Day or x-mas for you and a girlfriends. Perfect for when going out with friends, going on vacation to the beach, walking your dog, going to the gym, running errands. Basically anytime you don't want to carry a purse!

To buy, measure your upper arm in inches (so I send you the right size) and click on the "Buy Now" button located on the left side. Make sure you select the one matching your bag. You do not need a PayPal account to buy. Just use your credit card. If you work at Aeroplan or you are a friend I see regularly, I will personally deliver it to you and reimburse the 10$ shipping fee. Please indicate "No shipping" in the special instruction box on the checkout page.

Trust me... once you have this, you will always wear it!

If you have questions, email me at info@jupiterfreedom.com or visit my website http://www.jupiterfreedom.com/
Cheers and thank again for following my adventure
gen ;-)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Drum roll please....

Drum roll please....
Keep an eye in your inbox soon as I will be annoucing the launch of Jupiter Freedom. Tuesday I should start selling my armbags after 10 months of development. Wow I can't believe this is happening... what an adventure... Of course, this is just the beginning but I feel that I just hit an important milestone to actually put my product on the market.
I will still update my blog and keep the "behind the scene" alive.
talk to you soon

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A week in Jupiter Freedom...

Monday: Take my emails and respond to my first potential client that I don't know- yeah! Write on my blog. Look at magazines for inspiration on fabrics. Work the rest of the day to try to figure out how I will attach the jewlery accessories to the armbag. Go to the beads place to get a crash course. Start doing jewelry accessories myself. Not simple and very labor intensive...

Tuesday: Take my emails. Go to Supreme Laces to get my elastics, YKK for the zippers, MSB for the piping, Ultratex for bra hooks, Pacific Imports for other hooks, Eugene textile, Club tissu and Fabricville to get some fabric and inspiration. Breathe and eat. Go to my paternist. Prepare all technical specs sheets and raw material inventory.

Wednesday: Go to St-Jérôme to drop raw materials and provide direction to the production team who will make the bags. Back to Montreal - stuck in traffic...Take my emails. Spend time on Facebook. Do my accounting (ouach). Look into all my purses to find receipts. Realize that I spent alot of money. Adjust my sales, production and inventory projections. Re-balance my cashflow sheet.

Thursday: Take my emails. Validate 15 images sent out by my designer. Validate the web pages in development. Write web content in english and french. Prepare product inventory sheets, product codes and names. Create invoice templates for customers. Go on PayPal to figure out the handshake process. Look at Canada Post, UPS and Fedex to figure out costs and customs formalities for shipping into US and International. Buy shipping boxes that are big enough to fit 1-2 armbags but small enough so we fit into the "small package" category from Canada Post so it is cheaper.

Friday: Take a class on something like "Income taxe for businesses", "GST", "Exportations/C-TPAT", "Accounting". Eat. Prepare marketing plan and tactics for launch. Find websites to advertise and distribute my product. Fill in applications for contests, grants and exhibits (BTW - I will be at the One of a Kind show in Toronto in March - yeah). Improve my business plan. Breathe...

A la semaine prochaine ;-)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Having fun...

I'm really excited... today is my first day of production. I drove all the way to St-Jérôme this morning (1h drive) to give all my 5000 yards of fabrics (!!) so the production place can start doing the bags. It was a hectic week running around getting all the material but I'm really having fun doing it. I know it is business but people are really nice and helpful. I'm not afraid to ask around for the best suppliers for zippers, elastics, fabric and people are always pointing in a direction. I love talking with people that have been in the business for years. They are really passionate about it even if the garment industry is a pretty though one especially since everything is now made in China or India.

I also love looking around for the best deal in order to reduce my costs. It feels like a scavenger hunt to me. Every time I find a cheaper supplier I feel like getting a reward. I know this will translate into a better deal for my customers and more business for me ;-)

Leaving my job to start my own business was the best thing for me at this point in my life. Not only it was the perfect timing but I feel that with my education and work experiences, I have the maturity, the skills and competencies to make this happen. Most of all, I'm having fun doing it. To me, a job should not necessarily be a big party but should definitely be stimulating. This one certainly is...

talk to you later

Monday, September 17, 2007

Jupiter Freedom armbag?

Hi again, I got so many emails and comments about my armbags, thank you very much for your feedback and support ;-) Alot of you were asking more details about the products so here it is...
3 words to describe the Jupiter Freedom products: versatility, exclusivity and responsability.

The armbag is a stylish pouch that fits your cell, keys, cards/money, lipstick. Like the name suggests, you wear on your arm when doing hands-free activities like going to the beach (think vacations!!!). When you buy the Jupiter Freedom armbag, you also get a matching card holder, a water resistant ipod nano pouch to attach on the front of the bag and a silky matching travel bag to carry it when not in use. Also, you can purchase a jewelry accessory that you can attach to the bag to jazz it up when going out. This allow a mix and match of styles and colors.

All armbags are made in a limited edition of 100 per model. No mass production here... I hate when I buy a bag and I see people walking around with the same one... When you get your bag, you will see which of the 100 you got.

The Jupiter Freedom armbags are NOT made in China. As most of you know, I absolutely love Asia but will keep it for my travelling... In fact, they are made in Quebec by a socially responsible organisation that provides support and training in industrial sewing to people in need. No sweatshop here! Basically, by buying my products you support your community and local economy.
Also, our products will never be made of animal textile such as leather, fur or suede (Marc, you'll be happy!!)

As for the price, it will be $60 (tax incl.) for the armbag, card holder, ipod case and travel pouch. Not bad when it costs $39 to by just a cheap ipod armband at Best Buy... Plus it make you feel good to support an ethically responsible product ;-)

Hope it gave you a better insight of my values and how it will reflect in our products ;-)

P.S. I'm 5 days from prod and I cannot stand in place... So much to do so little time...

Monday, September 10, 2007

10 days to production...

Hola, thanks for your feedback on my last post. It is hard to realize that I'm going into production in 10 days after 8 months of back and forth for the prototypes! It is alot of ups and downs but I didn't find too hard to make it happen (I might have just jinxed it!). There is alot to do but you need to keep your eyes on the ball (thanks to Tarik's advice), prioritize and be creative with solutions when problems or unexpected outcomes occur. One thing that I keep reminding myself is to have fun doing it.

I'm excited to show you my first collection of 4 different armbags which will be all in black tone - midnight city, midnight stars, midnight garden and midnight breeze (click on the picture to see more details). All armbags will be done in a limited edition (max. 100) so if you like one I suggest you get it as soon as it comes out end of October. Obviously, this is a fall/winter collection and colors will be brighter in spring/summer. Again, your feedback is appreciated (don't be afraid to tell me what you don't like - I won't take it personnal ;-))
The only thing I find unfortunate is that I will launch a "summer" product in November... The positive side of it is that I will have time to run the logistic before my peak time. Also, Christmas is around the corner so it would be a great gift for someone who goes to the gym, like to dance in clubs (Denise??), have a dog to walk (who walks a dog with a purse...), have kids to carry/play with or for someone that is just always on the go... Not the best time to launch this product but not the worse either.
Thanks for your positive messages, it helps for the motivation

Friday, August 31, 2007

Still motivated

Hi, After the few downs of last week, things are getting better. We did a new bag this week and it looks great. What do you think? We've made a few changes on the products design and the bag is much stronger.
I've also decided that my first collection's theme (for fall/winter 2007) will be "Black & White". The border around the bag will be black (as in picture) and the front of the bag will be in a black and white shade. I really like the b&w tweed with a touch of purple and brown on this picture. I will attached more pics of the other design when chosen.

As for my motivation, it is even stronger... I really beleive in this product and everything that is happening is just such a great learning experience. I sounds a little cheesy but it is true. By having my own business, I learn so much about legal, accounting (which I hate), financing, government bureaucracy, fashion and retail industries, production, logistics, customer service, etc. It is all about connecting the dots and I love it.

I was also surprise about the amount of people reading this blog. This is great! Pass the link along to friends ;-) If you have questions or comments, just add a comment here.

See you next Friday
gen ;-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bad news and good news...

Alright, the bad news first...
I got my mini-production bags and I freaked out about the costs but most importantly I'm disapointed with the quality. I say most importantly because to me the costs can always be negociated and find a way that both parties are happy but quality is non-negociable. They are not horrible but not good enough for me and for my future customers. As for the costs, I need them to cut it by half !! So right now, I'm back to square two (not one since I don't have to redo everything ;-)) I'm basically looking for seamstresses with experience that could assemble my bags at home. Know anybody?

The good news...
I finally got an answer from the employment insurance (after 9 weeks!) and the nice lady told me they will give me a weekly allowance for 23 weeks. My cat will finally be able to eat...
So now I can go wait in line to get another grant from the provincial that might give me another one from another instance... Vive Asterix et Obelix!!

Hopefully I'll find a solution for my bag production soon...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hoping for the best

Alright, last week was a slower week because I was waiting for my mini-production of 20 bags to get done so I can get a pricing. While waiting, I looked around Montreal to find better prices for some of my material and I am pretty happy that I was successful by meeting some great local people.

Today I'm going to St-Jerome where my mini-production was done to talk about production costs. They had to time every steps of the bag making to provide the best estimate. I'm looking forward to see my first 20 bags. It is now real and I'm hoping for the best...

Everything else was kind of on hold because I want to be sure to have a product before moving forward. I think alot of people starting their businesses spend money on non-essential things when the most important element is having a product. You can have the best marketing and website but if you don't have anything to sell, your not going anywhere...

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hard time...

Yesterday was a hard day...
I had to run around getting my raw materials everywhere so we can do 20 bags to test the production time, costs and quality. Although it wasn't easy, that wasn't so hard.

The hard part is the time I'm waisting waiting to go into production. We keep doing one prototype at a time every week because the production place can't go quicker. I wish we would have spent 2 weeks every day and bang! the bag would have been ready to go... It is frustating but I really like the people there. They are really helpfull and generous. I really want to work with them but I'm hoping the costs of production won't be too high... It is important for me to produce my product here in Canada but the price needs to be low enough for all my customers.

So now I have to wait until end of next week to have news about the costs...
Until then, I try to stay focus and not spend too much money...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Another prototype done

Seem like getting armbag prototypes done is the story of my life... It is exciting however to produce something and show it to friend that reacts positively not because they are your friends but because they really like your product.
I was very dispointed this week to learn from one of my supplier that one the fabric that I use is out of order... It looked so good... I will try to find a similar one but it will not be the same ;-(
I also realized that I prefer the armbags with prints on it then the plain color one. I will still make a black one just because black is pretty universal but I'll go crazy with the other ones...

As for my website, we have started the work. I'm looking forward to have a prototype for this to. I will have cool Flash application to add some pizzazz to the site.

Will keep you posted

Friday, July 20, 2007

Moving along...

This week has been a great week. We did a new bag with a fun design and it looks really good. I'm very pleased with the results. I can't wait to see how it will sell compare to the other bag designs.
I also got my business cards ready and they look great. I can finally start my marketing ;-)
I still don't know if I will get unemployment insurance yet but I hope so. I'm also meeting with some people from SAJE Montreal monday to get some money to help start the business. This is one thing good about paying income taxe!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I fell I'm a bit all over the place... I'm bouncing back and forth with the paternist and the seamstress for my bag; I need to finish my website storyboard if I want to start developing it; I have to follow-up with UI to get some money; yet I still haven't finalyze my marketing plan and tactics and I haven't bought my camera to do the "Making of Jupiter Freedom" videos fro my blog. It's alot but very exciting...
I need more unused curtains please...

Friday, June 22, 2007


It has been two weeks that I left my job and I feel really good about my decision. Yesterday I came back from St-Jérôme where I make my prototypes and was very pleased with where we stand. Now I can really feel I'm getting closer to a final product. The people that work there are great. Claire is the main seamstress that I work with and althought we work hard we are having fun doing it.
I also had to run around town to meet with possible suppliers for zippers and other bag components. I totally new for me but I'm lerning alot.
I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Curtains wanted

It is important for me to design and market an ethical product. One aspect of this is to use recycled products. I am currently looking for unwanted curtains any shape, size, color to make the arm bags.
If you have curtains to donate please send me an email at gliboiron@hotmail.com


It's a start

This blog is about the making of my new business: "Jupiter Freedom"
I thought it would be pretty interesting to relate the ups and downs of starting a business. We all have a good idea that we want to put on the market but not all of us "have the guts to make the jump" (as my friends say). I did! and will let you into my world.

Welcome to the making of Jupiter Freedom...