Friday, October 24, 2008


Our team members, both here at HQ and in the field, are always telling stories about the wonderful experiences they have with customers who came into the store, shop on-line, or host/attend a party. Recently, I started to reach out to some of these customers with emails to thank them for their business and for sharing their stories with us. Hearing back from customers after these emails has quickly become a favorite part of my day. I have been so inspired by the stories I have received and often find similarities between myself and our customers. I received one this past week that I'd love to share with everyone. It reminded me of something my girlfriends and I would do. The "rules" literally had me laughing out loud. It is the story of 4 women from 3 countries who met through work, became fast friends and have bounded over handbags. They started their love of LILL bags with our rep, Amy DeJong, who serves the Detroit, MI area and recently traveled to Chicago to visit our flagship store. Here is the story in their own words:

"We would like to share the story of our Traveling Purse with you and hope you enjoy reading it! We have also attached two pictures of us in front and in your store.Lill Purses have become an addiction of ours for the last 4 months and some of us longer. We are on our third party amongst the four of us and I think our significant others think we may have a bit of a problem (he,he,he). We became friends through work here in Michigan and all come from different backgrounds. Two of us are from Germany and will be returning very soon. One of us is Canadian and living in Michigan and the final woman of our foursome is born and raised here in the United States.

The idea of our traveling purse was inspired by the book/movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.While we're much older than the characters in the movie, we can relate to and appreciate their desire to maintain a special bond across time and distance. We all love the movie and Lill Purses so much that it inspired us to use both concepts to continue our friendship for years to come.

On Saturday October 18th 2008, the adventure began. We took a girls trip to Chicago to visit the original 1154 Lill Purse Studio to design our first traveling purse. When we arrived, it was extremely exciting for all of us and soon we were sitting on the front steps smiling away for a picture we asked a stranger to take. Upon entry into the store, our little grins turned into bright smiles. We all stopped in the doorway overwhelmed and not sure where to go next. We sat our things down on a big table and walked around the store taking in the beautiful colors and the selection of items around us. After about 10-15 minutes of aimless wandering, we finally gathered ourselves together, assigned tasks and began grabbing fabrics for our purse. Surprisingly because we were so acquainted with the fabrics and agreed on a style, it did not take long at all. Our Andi Bag was complete and we were all so pleased with what we had accomplished. In an effort to make sure the bag was not lonely while it traveled from country to country, we added a cute little mirror for the journey.

The Rules of our Traveling Purse:Like the movie, there were rules that the traveling purse had to have. Over many glasses of Prosecco, we all decided on the following rules:

1) A journal must accompany the purse at all times. It must be small enough to fit inside, yet large enough to write down the exciting adventures we experience while carrying our purse. If the pages of the journal run out, it is the responsibility of the person in possession of the purse to purchase a new one.

2) Pictures are a must have in the book and the front page will have the four of us on the front steps of the 1154 Lill Purse Studio where our story began.

3) The mirror was added not only to help put our lip gloss on but also to spark creativity in our writing. Over time we are going to get some grey hair, a few pimples, freckles or wrinkles so whenever we look in the mirror, we have to record what we see in our journal.

4) Whenever anyone Scotch Guards or cleans the purse, it must be noted in the journal so we do not over care for it. We definitely need to maintain the beauty of our fabric.
5) While in Chicago, we were introduced to stamp embossing (while purchasing our journal). It is now one of the many treasured hobbies we share. So, since the purse, journal and the stamps were all purchased in Chicago, when signing off in our journal entry, it must have the signature stamp we all picked out to represent ourselves.
6) Every one will get the purse for 2-3 months and then it will travel to the next person. The time period is still under negotiation :o)
7) Considering patterns and styles change over time, we will have to meet in Chicago at least once again to create a new purse. The time is yet to be determined at this moment."

I read this email yesterday when I arrived at work. It instantly made me want to gather up my own girlfriends for a girl's weekend, or at the very least a girl's dinner. I wanted to laugh with my girls the same way I imagined these 4 friends laughing as they created the "rules." I really connected with their story. It made me proud to have created something that will connect them as they return to their respective homes. At the same time, I am so inspired by their friendship, creativity and humor. Thank you Daniela, Maggie, Larissa, and Daniella!! I hope the story of their "traveling bag" inspires you as well - go gather your girlfriends and celebrate the beauty of friendship! Have a great weekend!

Jen Velarde
Founder - 1154 LILL Studio

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My girlfriends and I (six of us) decided to use a purse that one of us received this past Christmas to begin our "Sisterhood of the Traveling Purse". My intuition told me to put this in my search engine and I was pleased to come across another group of women who share a special bond, and purse.

This past week one of our girlfriend's fathers passed away and the purse stories brought so much laughter to our time of sadness, that we realized the bonds of friendship are one of the strongest forces in our world.

Thank you for sharing your story. When I am in the Chicago area, I am eager to visit your store.