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How We Made It... The Exclusive Essential Oil Carryall Handbag Process

There's a story behind every piece at The Oily Amulet and our beautiful Exclusive Essential Oil Carryall has been a long time on its journey. As an artist, small business owner, and dreamer I want to share this journey with you and share the experiences so you can feel a part of the process and understand just how special this handbag truly is. You're not holding a mass produced, cheap, imitation, or inferior product - hours of ideas, designing, technical skill, and heart went into each piece - and each piece is unique in its own way, just like you.

Why create it? Why put so much time and work into into one product?

Most importantly, I am an avid essential oil user and I want products that are going to work well for myself as well as the average person - that's why I started The Oily Amulet. My goal is not to have mass produced items with a huge variety - that's what we don't do at The Oily Amulet. Every piece of this bag was thought out and designed from the extra loop on the shoulder strap to the reinforced hand-stitched inner edges. We want you to be and feel as unique as you are with unique small artist designed and inspired pieces and have an experience that you won't easily forget.

This process took nearly a year to achieve, but has been an idea since the beginning of our company in March of 2015. It all began with a simple pencil and paper sketch, then working with a professional handbag designer to create a blueprint, finding a trustworthy and ethical manufacturer, several prototypes, real world testing, and finally the finished product.

Let's start out at... The Beginning

This is one of the longest and most important parts of the process, The Design & Functionality. I knew it needed to be functional for oilers and so I made a list of what many problems oilers have when taking oils on the go. After a lot of research and surveying here are the biggest problems we saw:

 

  1. Overstuffed Purse & Can't Find Oils 
  2. Typical Essential Oil Storage is Cloth and doesn't offer protection for expensive oils if dropped.
  3. Limited storage styles that offer ability to carry various bottles and sizes for inhalers, rollers, bottles, sprayers.
  4. Lack of style and choices in well made essential oils storage.
  5. Inability to conveniently Grab oils quickly

 

Here are the solutions that our handbag needed to solve:

  1. Convenience in placement of oil containers

  2. ORGANIZATION - Putting everything in it's place - Konmari style ya know!

  3. Ability to fit a large range of oil bottles, inhalers, rollers, sprayers in one space

  4. Rugged and Durable while maintaining style - Real Leather was a top surveyed choice.

  5. Stylish and Classic with color options

 

We had a very large list of wants, needs, and preferences... and so the sketching began. After our final ideas and sketches were finished we needed to have handbag blueprints made in order to get a prototype created. At this point we were already a few months in on our project and working on it nearly everyday.

Finally we had the blueprints for our essential oil carryall... How awesome is that? It's amazing to see a dream and idea realized on paper, but we had a long way to go. It was time to actually make the purse to see how well this design worked.

The Prototype Stage

Anyone who has ever had a prototype made knows how extremely time consuming and costly this process can be. Let's face facts, it's a huge headache trying to find a manufacturer that fits and meets your needs as a creator and inventor.
We had several goals at this point and finding the right manufacturer for this job took another few months. Our search started in the USA, but we quickly learned that we weren't able to manufacture a small amount of purses with the requirements we had and at a price that was affordable to the average person (think upwards of $300-500 per purse)... Our search took us overseas.

Finally, we partnered with a wonderful small handbag manufacturing expert in Guang Zhou, China to have our vision brought to life while maintaining ethical business practices and maintaining our extreme care for quality. We worked with them every step of the way as our design was being created into a prototype and requiring several changes along the way.
The first step was choosing the materials that our handbag was to be made of... After a ton of research we decided on a top grain Nappa Leather and bengaline interior, paired with a heavy construction material to create a purse that can stand on it's own and rugged enought to be safe place for our precious oils!
 

Here is a photo of the actual cowhide top grain leather that we used for the bags before being cut down into pieces for making the purse. We also needed to wait for the tannery to paint the special Mid Century Pink and Robin's Egg Blue colors we wanted.

Every piece had to be chosen and approved for every aspect of the purse and additional goodies - shown above is the canvas and string that were approved for the special Oily Amulet monogrammed handbag dustcovers!
Specialized hardware also had to be created for our handbag as we had our logo on the front. This required a special manufacturer creating a dye to be hand-tooled and allow us to have several of these beautiful pieces made for the front. Just creating the dye nearly set us back a month waiting for this ever so important piece to be finished.
The prototype process started and after receiving the first handbag, we immediately knew that changes needed to be made. We made additions such as a zipper pocket in the middle divider, a comfier and more adjustable shoulder strap with a small leather piece to hold the strap, several pocket adjustments, bottle placements adjustments, hardware adjustments, etc.

And then there were three...

After three prototypes and several adjustments to the styling of the purse, we were ready to get started with production of our Essential Oil Carryall Handbag. At this point I had used every prototype in real world and life situations. It became and is my favorite purse, of course I'm probably biased in this opinion, but ya know - I'm proud of my creation! Additionally I'm extremely hard on my purses - they get tossed around, dropped, scooted, banged into carts, walls, counters, etc. Maybe I'm a bit accident prone, but I'm a perfect tester when it comes to the durability test!

 

Let's get this baby made!

Time to finally make that leap and go for it, manufacturing made me nervous and excited at the same time. Why nervous? Well, any time you're a small individual business owner and spending thousands and thousands of dollars on a project that might totally bomb and flop - it's slightly nerve-racking. Calculated risks are great, but you can't always make it happen.
Let's see some of the process photos that my awesome manufacturer sent me during the manufacturing. They were super proud of this creation, as was I, and it shows!

Here is a photo of the shoulder straps being hand tooled, yes HAND TOOLED, because usually the best way to make things right is to do them by hand carefully.

Finished Leather Shoulder Straps - Beautiful right?

Interior Lining being hand turned and set for the stitching process.

Individual Pieces being hand-cut and prepped for construction.

One of the most important parts of the purse! Elastic to hold your various sized essential oil containers - Done and Done!

Even zippers get a special note - Look at those beautiful zippers and how each zipper color had to be made to match the purse.

Time to get the zippers sewed in and the middle compartments made. See how many steps are involved?

...and here we have the middle zipper compartment finished. See that little pocket? It was a last minute addition because I wanted everyone to have a place in their purse to put a necklace (hopefully an Oily Amulet) or a pair of earrings. Who else has emptied out their purse to find 3 pairs of earrings, 4 necklaces, and rings galore? *Raises hand* Guilty as charged. I hope you appreciate this little pocket as much as I have!

There is something to be said for having all of your ducks in a row! Or handbags in this case... 

All of the exposed edges must be sealed! These edges have to be painted with a special sealant to match the leather not once, but twice... by hand!

This photo made me super happy, as you can see The Oily Amulet hardware on the front, at this point I truly felt like my handbag was on its way to the finish line.
All in all, the manufacturing was an awesome experience, and the entirety of the Oily Amulet Carryall project was hands on and ever consuming. When you see a large project such as this totally through from concept to finish - it's truly amazing. After receiving the handbags, it was time to go through every purse and double check each piece of stitching and hardware, hire a photographer, and create content like this - so YOU can see how fantastic and immense a product like this truly is...

Finally... The Finished Product

Here is a LIVE video we did on Facebook featuring our Essential Oil Carryall!

 

On a personal note from the artist/owner/creator of The Oily Amulet:

 

I truly hope that this post and walkthrough of the process helps to see the true value in our Oily Amulet Exclusive Carryall Handbag and the value of any product that is created from scratch by an artist or small business. Nothing is ever cut and dry and rarely is anything great achieved without putting hard time in - it was a truly awe inspiring experience to create this piece and see it through completely.

 

This was an article I originally wanted to write just to educate on the process of designing and producing your own handbag - or in our case - The Oily Amulet Exclusive Essential Oil Carryall... Sadly, it felt even more mandatory to write this after seeing and receiving many complaints about the price this product costs at a retail of $159. Nearly a year of production, countless steps, hoops, and the steps above shown, plus more on a more personal level, that has to be the most hurtful comment. Creators don't expect everyone to understand or even like their offerings, but a certain amount of respect is lost and gained here. Thankfully the feedback we have received on our Exclusive Carryall has been amazing and we are grateful for those who appreciate and value the artistry and time that has gone into this project.

 

We want you to love and appreciate our products, those that shop with The Oily Amulet know how much we put into each piece and that we stand behind our designs. We are grateful for every individual and will continue on our endeavor to create more designs as unique as you are.

 

Thanks so much for reading these ramblings!

-DeShea

 


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2 comments


  • Well, I have to admit that initially I DID raise my eyebrows at the price. When I saw that it was leather, I understood better. And now, today, after reading about the process it takes to make these, I understand FULLY. Did not realize they were handmade. As a crafter/creater myself, I can and do appreciate the process you went through to pull this together. Wow! I will be sending the shopping link to my husband today with the suggestion that he buy me one for our 24th wedding anniversary, which is December 30th. Would make a great gift.

    Tricia Postma on

  • I absolutely LOVE mine! Thank you for bringing such beautiful products to the essential oil community :)

    Lea Harris Jacobson on

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