When did you start BSimple Creations?
We first started selling our totes during the summer of 2016, so almost exactly 2 years ago. Our first pop up shop was at the Barr Street Market in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
How did you come up with the idea of washable paper bags? What was your inspiration behind the idea?
The paper itself was like a discovery! I was consulting for a crafting company who offered the paper in their store. They sold it on rolls to their customers, mostly for scrapbooking and small sewing projects. I was fascinated by the paper because you could stitch it like fabric, wash it and throw it in the dryer. The paper remained strong and intact, but got softer with each washing. I started researching ideas online and making samples with a local pattern maker. I recruited my good friend who lived down the street from me and the next thing we knew we were setting up a booth at the local farmer’s market! Six months later we were doing wholesale trade shows in Dallas, Vegas and NYC.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered while developing your product/company?
Pacing ourselves through all the excitement, with limited resources! We had lots of interest in the bags very quickly and of course, lots of ideas! I was in-between jobs at the time, so I didn’t have a steady income. We had to be super resourceful and prioritize what we spent our energy and resources on. Our mantra was “keep following the green lights!”
What do people like most about your product?
People seem to be initially attracted to the simple and classic styling of the totes, as well as the neutral colors. Then, they’re intrigued by the innovation of the paper and how strong and durable it is. Most people don’t believe the totes can be machine washed over and over again. Its fun to see their reaction. What’s really cool is that many customers come back later, after using it for a few months, and tell us it’s their favorite bag and use it everyday!
What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?
Trust your instincts. Everyone loves to weigh in on a start up business! There are always doubters and naysayers…and others who will tell you what they think you should do. Either way, don’t let it rattle you or distract you. When things get crazy, take some time to slow down, sit still and listen to your instincts. It’s your dream, your passion…trust it.