In this week’s episode, the Broads interviewed Chetana Williamson, lady entrepreneur and founder of Jenny’s Bag Works. She’s got some cute little bags. Chetana started her own business manufacturing and selling a small travel bag called the Jenny Bag. It’s a 4 ¼” x 6 ½” crossbody bag with a removable strap and is great for incidental items such as keys, lipstick, etc. Both of us Broads own a couple and they’re adorable!
Rebecca took one to Europe and it worked perfectly for credit cards, passport, etc. She wore it under her coat so that she wouldn’t be pickpocketed.
Chetana had experienced back problems in the past and likes to carry around a very small bag. Sharone, our resident chiropractor, recommends that women carry smaller bags like Jenny’s Bag, to avoid neck and shoulder pain. Most women carry bags that are way too big for them and end up with aches and pains. Sharone says, “There is nothing that you have in that big fat purse that you need on your body at all times! You need your keys, your money (plastic or paper) and your lipstick. Take the coins out because they’re heavy. Everything else that you have in that massive bag, that weighs more than your child, you put in a residual bag and place it under the seat of your car and when you need that stuff you can go and get it. You don’t have to have it on your body.”
Chetana didn’t name the company after herself because her name is difficult to remember. She named it after her aunt who was the inspiration behind the concept.
The fabrics used on the purses are beautiful. You can wear them for all occasions.
Plus – All her bags are under warranty.
Right now she is only offering the small travel bags but she is in the process of developing a larger bag 5” x 7” to fit the new larger cell phones such as the Galaxy and iPhone.
Chetana has been in business for 2 years. Her aunt is a seamstress and she was making purses for friends. Chetana offered to go into business with her. The amount of sewing was a bit much for her aunt and so Chetana took over the business. She found a person from a networking group that connected her to someone that manufactured bags in India.
Before Chetana started her own business, she worked as a legal secretary-Para-Legal. She still works it as a day job to finance her business as it gets off the ground.
What makes Jenny’s Bags different is that they’re made with love. There is a message on the inside of each bag that says “I love you I love you I love you.” It’s Chetana’s way of spreading the love.
She doesn’t use any leather on her bags. If it has to die then she doesn’t use it. She affectionately calls it a Vegan product.
Chetana says going into the manufacturing business is quite a bit of work, so if you are thinking about producing your own product as a business, you have to realize that massive amounts of time are involved. However, Chetana says it’s rewarding when things come together and people like your product.
Tips on How to Start a Business as a Manufacturer
You need to come up with several prototypes and samples before production starts. Each sample must be taken out and tested to find all the flaws. After the flaws have been discovered the product must be taken back to the shop to be reworked. Your prototype may not end up being what you had in mind at first. Find people who specialize in creating them. Ask questions to find out who has the skills to create the prototype you want.
- Sketch out your thoughts and organize them thoroughly before presenting your ideas to others.
- Decide what your product will be and where you want it distributed.
- Get out there, meet people and ask questions. One thing will lead you to another and another but there are no shortcuts. It’s a lot of hard work.
- You will need a logo, business permit, website, photos (Chetana has a wonderful product photographer), graphics, and a social media presence.
- Talk to friends about your product and see if they want to try it out for feedback.
- Make sure to have trademark protection in place to protect your brand.
- Create a team to consult with such as your accountant, etc.
Chetana started off using her 401K to come up with initial capital for the company. At some point, you may need to borrow from a bank or find an investor. It’s always best if you don’t have to use your own money.
For retirees, if you want to do volume in your business it’s not really part time. There is quite a bit of work involved. However, if you have a passion to create and produce a product, it could be very exciting. Eventually, you can have enough people running the business for you so that you can enjoy your retirement.
Jenny’s bags are designed to be accessible for everyone and are very affordable. She keeps an inventory to fulfill sales on the spot.
Purchase Jenny Bags on Amazon
Click on the player button above to listen to the entire podcast for more details about Jenny’s Bag Works. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on a product and purchase it, the Broads may be able to afford a cup of coffee.