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Meet Feyza Demirtas from Ikabags

After receiving kudos on her sewing abilities from friends and family, Feyza Demirtas decided to start selling her handbags. The success of her line and her husband’s heavy travel schedule allowed her to take the plunge into making her hobby a full-time venture. Here’s a little chat with Feyza, who makes the wonderfully chic La Pomme Bike Satchels.

Tell us about your previous working situation.
I worked as an an office director and production planning manager at Koleksiyon Furniture Company. I was working with fabrics, as well as wood and leather. After I was introduced to the SAP system and received the training required for it, we started working abroad as expats for the SAP. Because of my husband’s frequent business trips and the positive value of returns with my bags, I decided to resign from the job in order to establish the bag company.

How did you originally get into making bags and embellishments?
What started as a mere hobby (the embroidery, wood and glass painting works) moved to a new level after the year 2000. After the birth of my second son, I began to spend more time at home and had more opportunities to develop new artistic insights. The positive feedback I received from my friends motivated me to move on to a professional level. Purchasing a Pfaff sewing machine enabled me to make embroidered linen coasters and bags. In time, this has turned into the production of more versatile, sporty, colorful and eco-friendly bags.

Walk us through your typical workday.

  • My day begins at 6:30 in the morning with getting my kids ready for school.
  • After taking them to school I take the packages I prepared the previous night to the post office.
  • After I get home I check my email.
  • I take a short coffee break, walk in my garden and then check the bags to be made that day in my Excel file. Then I start making them.
  • I do this until I pick up the kids from the school. Then I make new items to list. In the meantime, dinner is prepared.
  • After dinner I talk to my kids about what they did at school and help them with their schoolwork.
  • During breaks I chat with my friends and share new ideas. I continue writing our family diary, which I started after the birth of my first son.
  • After the kids go to sleep, I continue sewing and prepare the packages to be posted the next day, as well as respond to emails.
  • I become a very happy mother on weekends since I get to spend more time with my kids. We usually take walks in the woods, play tennis, swim and bike. We enjoy visiting brocantes near our town. We read together and do hobby-works, which my sons love. We go downtown to Paris as a family two times a month to look for new fabrics. I also shop at the organic market twice a week.

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Is there anything you miss?
Not having a day job allows more time for my creative ideas. On the other hand, I miss my friends in the office, as I sew alone in my home atelier.

What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
The hardest part of the business has to be looking for and testing the fabrics and supplies I use. I spend a lot of time finding the best quality materials.

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