Wednesday, February 11, 2015


A few things about this image:1. I cannot wait to have the plastic come off our huge windows (though, they make for good diffusion panels). 
2. I feel very lucky that I get to spend my days in this studio. 
3. I’m carrying The Shopper no.2, which I use as my camera bag. I just slipped a padded insert inside to protect my gear.  
4. I’m thinking a lot about my little brother who just deployed…again. 
5. I’m sewing lots of Backpack no.2’s for the next few days and listening to every podcast The Memory Palace has produced.

p.s. I've mostly moved the blog to our main website.  You can follow along with all the updates here: 
http://www.moopshop.com/blogs/news

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Introducing Dana and Sara


I have finally had a moment to process after our whirlwind drive across the country to solidify my partnership with Spooltown in Portland, Oregon.  I started working with Dana and Sara about 9 months ago.  We started with a conversation about shoulder straps.  Then, very soon after, my entire world turned upside down and my feelings about how I was accomplishing my personal and business goals changed entirely.  For the last 8 years, I have been a very direct part of making every single Moop bag and I have run every other aspect of the business myself.  I have had some great people to consult with along the way and help out with things I couldn’t have done on my own (like, hiring an accountant was one of the smartest things I had ever done).  But, I took a minute to envision the next 8 years and I did not want to see myself in the same place, with no personal growth and no additional happiness, still working 7 days a week, seeing my entire creative practice slipping away.  There have been so many moments over the years where I have been so overwhelmed by simply the time spent on production and managing those doing production with me that I did not see how I could continue to build an exciting business that keeps not only me interested but, you as well.  When everything fell apart, I knew the solution that would help me rebuild in a way that made me really happy and allowed me to focus on the areas in which I work best. 


About 3 years ago, Spooltown had reached out to Moop and while I was not ready to think about sharing production with anyone outside of my studio at that time, they never left my mind.  I watched them grow as they built a sustainable, living wage, female owned, private label manufacturing space in Portland.  They have been operating with the same ethics in manufacturing, job creation and visible production as I have with Moop.  The textile industry is a very closed, secretive world.  No one wants to talk directly about who does their manufacturing because it opens them up to criticism or to vulnerability with competitors.  I have long held that I am not a part of the fashion world and I definitely do not operate under traditional business practices.  I make functional, stylish, practical products and like to believe I float between many worlds ie; art, design, fashion, business, music, food etc., and I want to talk about who will be manufacturing with me.  I am really excited to have found a small manufacturer who is so compatible with my personal ethics and business goals.  I am proud to talk about them as a company and a noteworthy model of ethics in manufacturing and small business ownership.  And, it makes me very excited about the evolution in Moop bags that will come from our shared experience, equipment and expertise. 
I’ll be spending a lot of time in Portland and can’t wait to keep the conversation going about what this manufacturing shift means for my small and growing business.  I will also, still be making lots of bags in Pittsburgh, having the same conversation about creative practice and small manufacturing.  And, I might even take a vacation this year.  2015 is going to be great.
Click here for the full post and a few photos of our trip, Dana & Sara and Spooltown with a few of our machines!
Enjoy and thank you, thank you, thank you!
xxx
Wendy



Monday, January 12, 2015

HELLO, THIS IS VERY LONG AND YOU’LL WANT TO READ IT.


Hello!!  The holidays are over and I can’t thank you enough for your patience with our growing pains this year.  We had our most successful holiday season to date (8 years strong now!) and did it all with one less person than usual (which meant, I worked like three people where I normally work like two).  Even though the exhaustion of creating my own personal sweatshop was so intense and yes, I did cry from being so tired (emotionally, physically, intellectually..a lot of things happened in my life these last few months), I shared those moments with two people who have become so important to me.  I know it is not normal to have such a close relationship with the people you work with but, working at Moop is not a normal place to work.  Gena and Lexi know that.  They have been so incredible to devote their days to the thing I devote my days to and I can’t thank them enough.
Now that the crazy intensity of holidays have settled and we are completely caught up on order fulfillment and slowly rebuilding our stock and making a few design changes, there is one absolutely hugely major fantastically incredible overwhelming and great change that is coming to Moop this year.  We are slowly beginning to work with another small manufacturer to help build our bags.  Hold your wild horses…we’re still talking small manufacturing, employing local people, working with the same local ethics in manufacturing as I have.  In fact, it has been like hiring myself (seriously, we have such crazy shared life experience it is almost uncanny).  These two women, based in Portland, run a small batch manufacturing space much like my own.  Only slightly larger, with more specialized equipment, a slightly bigger team and with the same focus on main street manufacturing as I have worked towards all these years.  Dana and Sara are like my twin brains who I get to join forces with to make our bags better.  I already believe our bags are so so good.  But, I also believe everything I do can always be better.  I can always be better.  I will always believe that and always work towards that.
By teaming up with these two and their team, I can begin offering things we have not done in the past..things you all want - like top zippers! and leather! and vegan leather! and heavier canvases and more colors and keeping things in stock so you can order and receive bags from us sooner.   This decision has not been a small, light hearted decision to make.  It has been massive for me to decide to collaborate with another team to help make Moop bags the best bags you can buy.  I firmly believe in working within the limitations you have to make great things.  I have done this successfully for the last 8 years.  But, I have also reached a standstill.  This past fall, when my life turned upside down, my priorities of time and family and work all changed.  This manufacturing shift will help me achieve some of the work life balance I need.  It will also help me to grow.  We have not been able to meet demand because I can only sew so many bags while also doing everything else required to run the business (like this holiday season where we had to cut off orders on December 10th because we couldn’t sew any more bags…that was a big deal for our tiny little company!).  
So, Gena, Lexi and I are embarking on a cross country drive to hand deliver a few of our heavy, customized, industrial sewing machines to Portland!!! (don't worry...we are keeping several machines in our studio because we will always make bags in house...we are only shifting some of our process)  We will be documenting the entire trip via Instagram and Facebook and introducing you to Dana and Sara when we get there.  It might be like sloppy teenage band photos or it might be like a bunch of hippy punk fiercely feminist independent nuts and berry eating ladies driving through the US, stopping at cheap hotels and dive bars for road food french fries and end of day beers.  Or it might look like nothing but a lot of Nebraska.  Either way - we are all really really excited about this trip, this transition and everything 2015 has in queue for us (plus, I cannot wait to show you the new Letter Bag and Tote no.1 designs that we’re working on…they will be our best bags yet…eeek!!).
I hope you’ll keep with me for this next stage of my life, Moop and for the journey this week.  All of it, the life, the Moop, the trip are going to be so much fun.  
Many many hugs and lots and lots of kisses,
Wendy
p.s. While we're traveling through the US countryside, we are offering FREE US SHIPPING at www.moopshop.com Simply enter the code: PGHPDX and you'll get free UPS Ground shipping within the United States.  Starting now through Saturday, January 17th, 2015.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Yokoo


I have long been a fan of Yokoo.  She hand knits scarves and hats and other amazing things.  We started our businesses around the same time and have developed one of my most favorite online maker friendships (one day we'll meet in person!).  I recently moved (as noted in this emotional post here) and started taking the T to my studio (Pittsburgh has a light rail system and it is one of the best things about this town...wish it went all over the city though).  This hat arrived this morning and it will help keep me warm on these frigid days.  If you need warm things, here's where you can buy Yokoo's scarves and accessories (plus, she's a fantastic photographer).
xxx
p.s. gray is my favorite color.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015


Happy New Year 2015! It's going to be so good and so different.  

Monday, December 29, 2014

Hello and Thank You!

Good Morning, Monday!  We are back in the studio just a few days this week, working on sewing up as many remaining orders as we can that did not ship prior to xmas.  We are giving ourselves a little space to recover from the intense holiday production schedule...we'll be back to normal starting Jan 5th.  So, just a heads up, we are currently on about a 10-14 day turnaround while we work on rebuilding our stock of bags and fulfilling all of the remaining orders in queue.  Seriously! y'all are amazing!  Thanks so much for the orders that keep coming in!!  We'll get them made and shipped out to you as soon as we can.  And, with that - hope you have super fun New Years plans!
xxo,
Wendy

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

done!


And here I am, four weeks later, wrapping up the busiest holiday season we've ever had...thank you a million times over for all of the orders this year!! We are here working today then signing off for the rest of the week for a much needed break. If you see Gena or Lexi or Jesse on the street give them huge high fives and bear hugs for making MoopHQ the best place to be this year.
Much love,
Wendy

HOLIDAY RUSH + GIFT CARDS + A HANDFUL OF SECONDS BAGS


Good Morning, Monday!  We have had quite a few weeks, eh?!  So much has happened and we can’t thank you enough for all of the amazing holiday orders (plus, I bought a house and moved over the weekend).  We apologize for cutting off orders on the 10th…there was just no way we could have made any more bags in time…Gena and I have been sewing like mad, and Lexi has been packing orders non-stop.  Luckily, we all get along and make each other laugh so through our delerious state of working, we’ve all had a good time.  We’ll be here sewing as many more bags as we can today and tomorrow then closing down for almost a week.  We are pooped!  But, for all of you who waited until the very last minute to give the gift of handmade, we have a solution - GIFT CARDS!  This lets your recipient choose any bag they want and you get to be the winner who gave them not only a thoughtfully handmade bag but, also the one they wanted!  
And, one quick announcement…we made a mistake on two runs of Paperbacks.  Not good for us but, great for you.  So, we’re making them available on the site this morning.  There are a handful of the Moop + Thread Paperbacks and a handful of Gray wax Paperbacks.  Here’s what’s wrong with them:  we mis-cut one piece and did not realize the dimensions were off until they were all sewn up so they’re about one inch shorter than our first quality bags (we’re calling them a casualty of our overworked brains).  As with all seconds bags, there are no structural issues, they are final sale and they are 25% off.  If you want one, grab it now.  We’ll only have the product page up today and tomorrow until 1pm EST, if there are any leftover, they won’t be available until our next seconds sale (and who knows when that will be!).
We’ll do our best to get as many as possible shipped before the holiday but, if you want to ensure it arrives in time for xmas, you’ll want to expedite shipping (you can do that at checkout).  They’re all ready to go so you won’t be waiting for us to make them.  But, remember, we’re a small small team..we can’t make Amazon style turnaround times happen in this place.  We hand wrap every bag.
Hope you’re off to a super great week!
xoxo,
Wendy & co.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Deadlines


While I was curled up in a ball last night with a bottle of chardonnay and watching Gossip Girl for the first time (I know…late to the game. And, yes, of course I started at season 1 episode 1) after the 12th day in a row if 12+ hours of manual labor, I really had no real thoughts…I was in total Blair, I mean BLISS! bliss.  I was in total bliss.. ok. yes, i have watched too much of that show.  But, seriously! I have also sewn as many bags as I possibly can each day and my neck hurts so cut me some slack…I can watch mindless bad t.v. and still be a good person. Anyhow, did you see the new photos of Addie with The Letter Bag?? (god I loved Sunday’s photoshoot) all of this is also a very long way of saying, I left the studio late last night and arrived here really early and as much as I hate to do this, I think have to cut off holiday orders because this will continue to be my schedule for the next 12 days.  Orders can still be placed on the website but, we can no longer guarantee delivery in time for Christmas for orders placed after 12/10.  We have so many in queue, we’ll be stitching these long days until the last day we can ship and have things arrive in time.  
Thank you a million million million for all of the orders!!! Now, back to work!!
xoxo
Wendy

Monday, December 8, 2014

Moop just got prettier + some news



Good Morning, Monday!  I spent all of yesterday working on a much needed update to our website imagery. You know the feeling when you need to reconnect things back to their origins?  I had let the representation of what I do with my days slide too far away from my studio.  So, I scheduled a last minute photoshoot in our new space and it turned out exactly how I wanted. 
The last many months have brought an overwhelming amount of change.  All change that will lead to positive things but still, quite a lot to balance.  Sunday’s photoshoot was a reminder that good creative energy comes when you let yourself be aware of it, responding to it when it shows itself. I wasn’t planning on writing an emotional email this morning but, as you all know, Moop is not just a business for me, it is what shapes and influences my entire life.  And, when I have a lot going on, it’s hard for me to shelter one from the other. So, a quick rundown: My amazing incredible husband and I have decided to split up. This has been difficult and emotional but, ultimately a mutual decision that we both know will be better for all of us. We care for each other deeply, but it’s where we need to go to reach whatever the next stage of our lives are. At the same time, my lead assistant of three years left Moop for another job.  I am super happy for her, but that news paired with the studio move and the start of our holiday production season has made things more than a little crazy around here.  I am also in the process of moving to a new house with my daughter, back in the city and closer to my studio (eek! It’s super cute!)..that happens next Tuesday. This will eliminate a 3 hour daily commute, but until then, moving is tiring and consuming…especially for me at this moment in time.  No biggie, though, we'll just sling a few mattresses on the floor and live out of suitcases until mid-January. Oh, and also! we’ve had such amazing press over the last few months…that combined with your incredible support means our holiday production is in full swing as we head into our most successful holiday season to date.

So, we really are sewing and sewing and sewing, working as hard as we can!  But, all of this…this beautiful mess of change and evolution and forward movement is all good…really good.   I guess this might have been better suited to a “2015 is going to be awesome” email but, I felt the need to share this now instead.  I can’t thank you all enough for your support - you’ve helped me build a small business that will be here for a long long time.  We have lots of big and exciting things planned for 2015… I cannot wait to share with you, but I really can’t cram anything more into this long message.
Many many many thanks and a million hugs and kisses and tons and tons of Moop bags,
Wendy
p.s. Click through to see the new site! www.moopshop.com

p.s. Our holiday turnaround time is closer to 5-7 days now so, our previously published deadlines may not apply...get your orders in as early as you can and we're gonna be making as many  bags as we can to get them to you in time for holiday delivery.