Saturday, March 19, 2011

Featured CABTeam Member - Kirschbits

Van of Kirschbits has been selling on Etsy since 2009 and her shop contains several very stylish handbags and clutches.  I've included some pictures of Van's creations from her shop which is currently giving 15% of proceeds to benefit a relief organization helping rebuild from the recent devastation in Japan...what an awesome and caring idea!

Here is a bit more about Van in her own words:

First, tell us a little about yourself and what you do other than making bags: 
Hi! I am Vanessa Kirsch, I am a Venezuelan living in north Germany, where I moved 3 years ago. I'm happily married to an awesome photographer (who also has an Etsy shop) and I have a creative son who loves to draw and is truly an artist.

What do I do other than bags? better ask me what I don't do! hehe. I don't really know what it is in my nature that I tend to do all I can by myself. I'm graduate graphic designer and I worked for around 15 years in the field, in different areas, but falling in love with Web Design, and still doing some work on it from time to time. Indeed I'm constantly keeping and evolving my blog and my hubby blog and website. Lately I've been attracted to the DIY print-at-home products, so I opened a second shop in Etsy called Kirschbits Papiere (, to offer scrapbooking paper designs and other crazy ideas that come to me from time to time. But though the shop is open and I have a list of things I want to design and offer to everyone, I have not yet found the time to sit down and do them! So sadly, the shop is almost abandoned for the moment. 

On other things, I love to cook, always coming up with ideas, mixing ingredients or changing recipes to make my and my family taste. You can check the weekly recipes I am publishing here every Thursday :) 

And as well I have a secret passion for wood, and simple furniture. So when the time comes and we need a repair or a new shelf, maybe you will find me in our attic cutting and gluing some pieces of wood to form something new and useful! 

I also crochet. Found that new love when I moved to Germany, when the first cold winter came and the little DIY worm attacked me. So I started to make my own winter hats and scarves. (The crochet-felted hat of the photo is my most recent creation). Today I'm in the middle of a project of 4 cushion covers. Step by step, slowly advancing.

And to add something else, I love photographing, always liked it and since I met my husband, the passion for a good image became stronger. But have not much time to explore more about it. As well as painting with watercolor... those are activities that I plan to embrace again in the near future.

How long have you been making bags?
Not that long. I learn sewing while watching my mom's endless hours sticked to the machine! She is professional and chief in the workshop of a major casual clothing chain in Venezuela. So I always had a sewing machine at hand. Years later when I moved alone, I bought a cheap machine and started sewing smaller personal projects. My biggest was a simple gown for my graduation act. Loved it, though it was not professional finished. Then for years I didn't sew, but focused on my web designer job. When my life radically changed by moving to Germany, one of the first things I did was to buy a sewing machine. Also a cheap one, but ended being quite fit for the job and good quality after so much heavy sewing with my bags. How did I finished with the bags? Funny! I saw once in a shop a stunning fabric. Fell in love with it that I couldn't just pass by and leave it. Bought it and then I was at home: "what can I do with it?" Puff! like magic the image of a handbag came to my mind! Sounds funny but was exactly like that! I made my first handbag and everybody, family here in Germany, family in Venezuela said I should make more and sell them. So I ventured in this crazy world! A friend told me about Etsy and here I am! :D

What is your favorite bag and what are your favorite materials to work with?
I don't really have a reaaaally unique favorite. I have my spoiled ones (hihi) that is the handbag I am using everyday which is Weseby, crossbody. I love crossbody bags, and Weseby I designed it (that was the bag that made "puff" in my mind hehe) exactly to what I wanted in a handbag. But I also love Altona and the pleated bags. 

My favorite materials are the ones I am using. Though sometimes I use plastic, polyester and co. I would prefer to use 100% natural cotton or linen, or more natural leather. But as half of my stock comes from repurposed or vintage fabrics, I use what I have. When these fabrics are gone from the stash I want to switch to use mostly natural materials avoiding polyester and plastics (difficult with the zippers though).

Do you have any advice for other bag makers (about making bags or selling them)?
BE POSITIVE, don't let yourself down or stop because of few sells. Be creative, don't copy and dare to create your own designs, even if they look crazy. There is always someone out there who will love your designs. Be objective and know when you need to stop and don't overdo. You also need to sleep and rest some times (I guess that goes to myself!) and last but not least, keep your social media active and if you can, dare to blog! Write about yourself and show to the world just as you are. In few words: be yourself.

You can check out Van's shop here:

Also, find her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.
Or check out her blog.

The featured member post will appear on the CABTeam Blog the third Saturday of each month.  If you would like to be a featured CABTeam member, send me a convo.

1 comment:

Van said...

Thanks for the feature!! :)