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Archive for the ‘Charleston Champion’ Category

Spark! Charleston - Alesya Bags

One of my goals for the year was to get into my own office by the end of the year.  I’m thrilled to formally announce I’ve been accepted into Spark! Charleston – a collaborative work space – and I officially have a desk downtown!  The group welcomed me in a few weeks ago and it’s been wonderful to work alongside a team of fellow entrepreneurs.

The rent is $50 a month (I know!) and in exchange I have a real office.  It’s nothing fancy, but it is a great jumping off point for a start-up.  Here’s how my desk normally looks.

Spark Desk - Alesya Bags

Sometimes I get really crazy and work from this couch.

Spark Seating - Alesya Bags

Big thanks to Sarah Early from Dodeline Design for giving me a stellar recommendation so I could get into Spark.  I really appreciate the help and it’s fantastic to see you on a more regular basis!

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Jenima - Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya BagsFriday was the Center for Women Purse Auction.  It was a big night for me – the first bag was not only making its public debut, but it was being auctioned off as part of a package.

The event started with a silent auction on over 100 bags done by local artists and designers.  I bid on – and won! – two.  The first one is pictured above and below.  It’s from blogger and seamstress Jenima Hadjian of Sewcial.  She’s also wearing one of her own creations in the photo below.

Jenima Hadjian - Alesya Bags

The second bag I won was from designer Anne Trabue Watson.  I think it’s going to be a fab day bag for all my lunch dates downtown.  I especially liked the pattern.

Anne Trabue Watson - Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya Bags

While I was mingling, I had talk to the man with the blue hair.  Turns out he’s local stylist and Dancing with the Stars contestant Jeffery Rhodes.  Photographer Jeni Rone took a picture of us and his date William.  Jeni’s purse is also pictured below.

Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya Bags

Jeni Rone - Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya Bags

Then came the live auction.  My husband and good friend Charlotte came for moral support.  The Center for Women’s Executive Director Jennet Robinson Alterman started introducing the packages and taking live bids.

My package came up about 3rd to last.  Surprisingly, Jennet called me up on stage and introduced me to the group (pictured below).  She also had me explain what kind of bag it was.  When the volunteer showing the Alesya Bag couldn’t find the laptop section I took the bag and demonstrated it myself.  When I opened it up people actually “ooohhhed and ahhheed”!

Alesya Opelt and Jennet Robinson Alterman - Alesya Bags

When the bidding started about 20 hands went up in the air!  It ended up coming down to two people.  One of them was my friend and realtor, Brenda Piaskowski.  She really wanted to have the first bag and I was completely floored by her support.  (Besides being an amazing friend, Brenda is a terrific realtor.  We recommend to everyone in the Charleston area.)

Center for Women Purse Auction - Alesya Bags

But Brenda didn’t win.  The winner was the petite woman on the left hand side of the photo above.  She has her arm half way up in the air and is wearing a black dress with white buttons.  Here winning bid was $1400!  It was the highest bid of the night for any package.

Writer Angie Mizzell summed it up best on her blog:

A package including a Saluda mountain getaway and a to-die-for laptop bag created by local designer Alesya Opelt sold for more than its $1,000 value. If you saw this bag, you’d understand. Women actually squealed.

My one regret from the evening was that I didn’t get to meet and thank the winner.  If you know this woman, could you please let her know I’m trying to get in contact with her?  I’d love to send her a thank-you note for her generous donation.

All in all it was a very, very successful debut.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support such a worthy cause.  Hope to see you again next year.

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Orange Bicycle - Alesya Bags

Yesterday started out on bike as I rode through the South of Broad neighborhood in Charleston with my photographer Charlotte (pictured below).  She’s a big bike rider, while I haven’t been on a bike in several years.  There were some “oh crap, I’m going to run into that car!” moments, but luckily no cars, humans or bicycles were injured.

Charlotte Elizabeth on Bike - Alesya Bags

Charlotte took me around to see the locations she’d scouted for our photo shoot on Sunday.  Now it’s my job to narrow it down to three spots.  Here are a few of the ideas:

Stairs - Alesya Bags

Door Knob - Alesya Bags

Orange Wall - Alesya Bags

Charleston House - Alesya Bags

And while this “location” won’t make the final cut, I thought this was one of the nicest signs “like this” I’d ever seen.

Scoop the Poop - Alesya Bags

I made it back to my car in one piece and then it was off to Stitch to see my boxes and to chat about the website.  I got the first version this week and there were a few goofy things.  Namely, it was difficult to buy the bag.  Um…that’s not going to work!   We discussed some changes and I’m looking forward to seeing the revised site.

Alesya Bag Boxes

From there I went to my warehouse to see all the boxes and get one for the Purse Auction.  It’s kind of crazy to see five palettes of boxes with your name on them.   But there they were, just waiting for bags

Robert Davis (my shipping expert) and I also discussed FedEx rates.  I want to give my customers the best rates and as many options as possible.  We’re working to make that happen.

From there, I went back downtown to the Waterfront Gallery (pictured above via VisitSouth.com) to drop off the bag, the dust bag and the box for the Purse Auction tonight.  It really felt like a big moment to have one whole package put together.

I’ve got a lot going on the next couple of days…auction tonight, photo shoot on Sunday and video shoot on Monday.  That can only mean one thing:  This bag project of mine is really coming together.

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Want to be the first one to see the Alesya Bag?  Then come to the 10th Annual Center for Women Purse Auction on Friday, May 13th.  Tickets are $25 in advance.  The event will be held in the beautiful City Gallery at Waterfront Park.

In the interest of full disclosure, this wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.  When I donated a bag to the Center for Women, I thought the bags would have already launched.  But now I’m delayed and they won’t launch until 2-3 weeks after the event.  Slight scheduling snafu.

I adore Jennet Alterman and the Center for Women.  They support women and their businesses.  Our priorities couldn’t be more aligned!  It means a lot to me to be involved and support them.

So I’m putting my money where my mouth is and getting one bag express mailed to Charleston just for them.  They will have the first bag.  Even before I have one!

The Alesya Bag will be part of the live auction.  It will be part of a “designer” package.  As soon as I have all the details I’ll let you know.

PS – If you’ve signed up for the Wait List you’ll still have first dibs on all the bags, the website …. the whole shebang.

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Woke up to the news.  Here’s the front page from Charleston’s Post and Courier:

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It’s Family Circle Cup week here in Charleston.  While I love tennis (played in high school) I also enjoy the people watching.

This is Ayumi Morita from Japan.  She is currently ranked 53rd in the world.  It looks like she knows the right colors to wear in South Carolina!

Ayumi Morita - Alesya Bags

This young man did an excellent job as a ball boy. Wouldn’t you want to stand under his umbrella? The kids’ uniforms are a bit drab this year.  Special Note to the Family Circle Cup Team: Call Barbara Beach!

Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

Adored this little boy and his outfit.  Do you think his parents meant to match perfectly?

Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

While sitting in the stadium the two women in front of us took advantage of the warm weather.  I think their pedicures were done in “French Open Clay” and “Wimbledon Green”.

Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

My favorite volunteer shirts were sponsored by Southern Tide.  Truthfully, I liked the men’s shirt color (Augusta Green) better than the women’s (Leaf Green).

Southern Tide - Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

Southern Tide - Family Circle Cup - Alesya Bags

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Eleanor Morgan Hoffman showed on Thursday night of Charleston Fashion Week.  Her final look was a stunning navy gown.  She also picked the perfect model to accent the dress.

Here it is coming down the runway.

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

A few backstage shots so you can see the feather detail:

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

Eleanor Morgan Hoffman - Alesya Bags

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