Today’s blog post features the lovely Michelle from Etsy shop Misala. Not only does Michelle make the cutest purses, but she’s also really friendly and comes from Hong Kong! Now she’s just moved to Taiwan from Dubai (some of the pictures below feature her new home and workspace in Taipei) so she clearly isn’t afraid of a challenge or trying new things out! Anyway, I’ll let her tell you about her delightful shop…
Describe your shop in one or two sentences.
I make kisslock purses and bags in all different shapes and styles. Although Misala Handmade is better known for my Misala Zoo animal coin purses, which is cute and sometimes quirky, there are also everyday bags that go very nicely with any clothes!
What has been your most popular product to date? What is your favourite?
My piggy coin purse series is my most popular product and also one of my personal favorites, but I also love my fox and squirrels!
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration on everything around me. The Internet, the shops and most importantly my lovely customers!
What made you decide to open an Etsy shop?
Seeing how poorly I was adopting to our new life in Dubai after moving them from Hong Kong on 2009, my husband encouraged me to find something I truly enjoy doing rather than looking for a regular job. And that’s how I started making my bags and purses. I began with going to the local craft fairs, but we found it was difficult to sell without a story to tell, so we turned our attention to the Internet and opened up on Etsy instead.
What is your favourite part of the creative process?
I love hearing from my customers and trying my best to meet their requirements! For example, my bulldog coin purse “Chikuwa” was a custom order from a Japanese customer who ask for a coin purse to be made in the style of her dog. She sent over the photos and I tried very hard to incorporate his features into the design. It turned out nicely and she ordered 2 more the moment the package arrived!
What has been the highlight of your business so far?
There were too many to note! There were ups and downs but we have learned to enjoy every moment of it. Only a positive attitude will keep us prepared for the next big thing, the bigger highlight that will shine on us some time in the future :)
What do you like to do when not working on your business?
When I was in Dubai I am also an amateur baker. I make all sorts of breads, Japanese / Korean variety buns (the ones that they stock regularly in Hong Kong bakeries), Chinese steamed buns and also Western style loaves. It is a privilege, really, as most families in Hong Kong do not own a built-in oven. I brought over my mixer to Taipei, but our new kitchen is much smaller and I doubt I could pick it back up. Perhaps I should find another hobby :)
What are you currently working on? Anything new coming up?
At this moment I am more concentrated on getting settled down in the new environment. I need a little more time to get accustomed to the little things before I can pick things up back at full speed. On the last month before my relocation I spent some time designing my new collection and they will be released gradually :)
What are your top three favourite Etsy shops?
Lynda of littleoddforest https://www.etsy.com/shop/littleoddforest had been an inspiration since the very beginning. We visited her during one of our visits to Singapore and her love and encouragements kept me going for a long time!
Honeycup https://www.etsy.com/shop/honeycup had very lovely illustrations that I always wanted one in our home.
Loopz https://www.etsy.com/shop/loopzart from Hong Kong sells very functional design prints for every purpose!
Wow, thanks Michelle! What a lovely insight into her world. And good luck with your new life in Taipei!
Remember you can find Michelle’s cute purses at Misala – go and check them out!
Thanks for reading!