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Kudos Page 5


In October of 09 Linda contacted me.
Here's a portion of what she said in that first contact:

"Wow, I love your bags but I have a couple of questions. I have a 15 inch macbook pro and I would like a messenger bag. Are your messenger bags padded at all? ........ I like the peace design, and especially the one on the "peace sign zeldina mini messenger bag" but the zeldina would be much too small. Any help would be appreciated.....your site is the first one to give me hope finding a bag I love. Thank you."

So we began chatting about "Finding a Bag you Love"

We worked through the sizing... a Panther Deluxe, the interior...a padded compartment for the laptop, and strap.... a padded version.

Then onto the design. She wanted a peace motif but nothing too overpowering, something subtle and timeless. We narrowed it down to an embroidered patch on the front flap, and then added matching patches on the side pockets. I did a few mockups with circles cut out of paper and laid on the parts of an existing bag so we could get a sense of scale.
We came up with a 4" patch on the flap and two 3.5" patches on the pockets. Her favorite color is lavender so that's what color she picked for the peace signs.
Inside, I did the laptop compartment in purple so she would have a flash of color when opening the bag.

She now has the bag in her possession and sent along her comments:

"Thank you so much Karen! I received it yesterday and love it! It's beautiful and exactly what I was looking for. It was a pleasure doing business with you and I will gladly recommend you to anyone looking for that special bag :)) Linda "


Hi! I wanted to say thank you for my Roller Derby Zelda bag! My boyf bought it on etsy for Christmas and well, if I didn't want to marry him I'd already be in Vegas marrying thisbag!!! Thank you sssooo much - the craftsmanship is. . . phenomenally stellar! If you'd like to send some business cards to me I'd be mor...e than happy to hand them out when complimented on the bag. It's only been one day and everyone in my office is already jealous! Thanks so much!

CC 12/23/09

Hi Karen,
  The bags came Monday...... I was thrilled to find your package in the mail.  As always the bags are gorgeous!!!!I will be in the city this weekend and can't wait to show it off. ( I know Nicole thinks it's her bag, but I'll wind up taking it over)  Your work is truly so professional and outstanding as well as your service and kindness.  You know I will be placing orders again and love looking at your new creations on line.  Thanks again!!!!!!   Linda & Nicole


I adore my Sweet Pea! I put all of my scan tags (grocery, drugstore, gas) on the D-ring - gets them off of my keychain and are always handy at checkout!
Edwina 11/10/09

What a lovely seller! Talk about custom made! Karen made thisbag to suit my specific needs. After years of searching, I have finally found the "perfect bag." Tons of pockets lots of organization, and on top of that, it's just beautiful. This is the shop to visit if you are looking for the perfect bag. Debi 9/05/09

Customized Coyote Backpack
This was an interesting project. The order came from a person who wanted to get a back pack as a gift for her sister. So I worked with her sister to create her perfect backpack. Since she was using it for work she wanted it to be subtle. She had specific needs in pockets, so we worked on making them fit the things she carried, rather than the other way around.

No Zoe Pocket Set in this pack. Instead, we put a full panel front pocket, accessible from the top rather than the side, one side pocket, and one lower front, zipper pocket, also accessible from the side. She wanted to be able to reach around and grab her sunglasses, wallet etc. while still wearing her pack. Padded shoulder straps, and a carry handle, finished it off. But she wanted to have color on it somewhere, so we made the back brown. Then she wondered if I could add some color to the inside of the pockets. Sure I said. I lined the pockets with bright colors of pack cloth, each one different!

She was pleased with the pack, but the comments I received from her sister really made my week.

"Karen, big giant THANKS for the fabulous backpack. Susan called me last night and went on for nearly 15 minutes about all the ways in which it is absolutely perfect, and even better than she had dared to imagine! It's exactly, exactly right for her - fits everywhere she wants to put it, holds everything she needs to hold, and is sleek and stylish and sturdy, too. She was really impressed with the craftsmanship. She's also so happy to have something that was tailored precisely to her needs - nothing wasted and nothing missing.

Being able to give somebody I love such a PERFECT gift really made my day/week/month/season. Thanks so very much for your excellent work, and for being so easy to work with!!



I was happy to work with a new customer to create this Zeldina. He identified himself as a bag collector and wanted something one of a kind, and wondered if I had any other colors for the body. He selected this yellow and it turned out to be a real eye catcher. He also bought a stock bag as a gift for his daughter.
His response when he received the bags?

The fantastic news is...your 2 bags were waiting on my desk. These are just unbelievable. The design, the materials, the prints , the colours. What's more the workmanship is museum quality. I have never seen seams so precise and well done. No loose threads, no missed stitch, just perfect. The Zipper pouches are just the right size to hold my journal, cell and Fountain Pen du jour. No wandering around in the big section looking for this or that any more. The Key Ring retainer saves me shoving a big unwieldy ring of keys in my back pocket, yet keeps it close to hand and easily found in the main compartment. The currently used Mountainsmith mini is going back in the closet. I'll be organizing the Sailor Jerry for work tomorrow. I will be the hallmark of sartorial splendor in clinic tomorrow. My wife is fondly looking at the Indian motif. I'm thinking it may be subverted to her closet and not off to school for our daughter. The size of your bag is perfect for all the goodies I carry hither and yon during the course of a days travels. Fortunately, no thick medical records to carry from one end of the hospital(clinic) to the far end a couple of football fields away(Medical records) now. That means I don't have to have a big city bike carrier bag like I used to. Your design and size is just perfect for my needs. I couldn't have designed it better my self. All the commercial ones on the market now are too thick-front to back. I don't know what everyone does with all that extra space.
Thank you for making such a beautiful, well designed work bag for me. I can't tell you how much pleasure it's going to give me carrying it. Everyday will be great with an equipment bag like this.
I'll be back for more later. Have a fantastic week,

Jim 8/26/09



Hi Karen!!!

I GOT MY BAG TODAY. As I promised, here is a review for you:

I am a college student who needed an amazing bag that would make the transition between time in the classroom, on vacation and one that would look professional on the wards, as well. I have tried many bags - including Timbuk2's, Buxton, High Sierra and Lug - but none of these bags were roomy or sturdy enough for my wear-and-tear. I first learned of Zoe's Bags from Etsy and ordered one with a "morphing" flap ...

Creation Process
CEOs from Fortune 500 companies should learn how to properly give customer service based on Karen's example -- she is extremely friendly, professional and willing to work with my vision and needs. I wanted a bag in a particular size -- and I was able to get one even before it was offered in the Etsy shop!! She offered many options in size of bag and wonderful fabrics for perfect customization. Karen's attention to detail is impeccable - she even sent me versions of her bag flap with different placements!!! Karen frequently corresponded with me daily throughout the design and creation process, making absolutely sure I was completely satisfied with this product in every aspect.

First Impression
My bag arrived promptly and was extremely well packaged. On first inspection, I was totally convinced that this bag was purchased from a high-end luggage retailer -- the seams, stitching, and assembly are in one word: perfect. The hardware, materials are high quality, and extremely sturdy. It looks amazing half-filled or all-filed, unlike my old Timbuk2. Unlike most of my other bags, it looks absolutely amazing -- the fabric placement was EXACTLY as promised, and with the "morphing" feature, I can switch it up any time I'd like to! The velcro-attached flap is excellent and does not catch on anything in my bag, as it is aligned with great precision. The internal organizer is brilliant -- there is TONS of room for all my stuff! I am most impressed with the keyfob inside -- unlike most flimsy keyfobs that look ready to break, I feel like I can hang off a bridge with this one and it would support my weight -- not to say I'm going to try this anytime soon :)

Stuff Test!
This bag holds all of my daily stuff: 13.3" Laptop + Cables + Agenda + 2 thick textbooks, hardcover + waterbottle + white coat + stethoscope + hoodie + pashima + two moleskines + cell phone + iPod Touch + various doctor equipment (stuck in the organizer pockets) + lunch + pencil case + ... oh wait, there's still room and I'm out of stuff to stuff in it!!! The weight is amazingly distributed and this bag keeps its shape even though it's only about 60% filled!!! Amazing!

Public Transit Test!!!
I took my bag on the uber test -- can it withstand public transit for 2hrs? Three busses, trip to the public library and a bit of a walk later -- this bag's strap does not dig into my shoulder, unlike my Lug. It also does not slip around like my Timbuk2. It's size is wonderful to keep on my lap on the bus, and many people loved it!! It looked amazing and was attention-grabbing in the right way without being a screaming loud bright green fuzzy bag :) It's adorable and I love it's cuteness!!!! I even dropped by the grocery store and picked up a few things which fit inside beautifully -- no big bulge, the bag just went *gulp* and it disappeared inside!

Bottom Line
This is easily one of the best bags I have ever owned -- the service at Zoe's Bag is highly personalized, friendly, prompt and the only thing better is the quality of their merchandise.

:) Thanks tons Karen!!! You really outdid yourself!!! I love it!!!!

Hey Karen,

Yesterday it rained. I had 13 lbs of stuff in my bag -- I weighed it before I left the house, of course.

BTW, it didn't feel all that heavy -- I love my bag!!! :) I'm in class right now, so I just wanted to tell you that this totally amazing bag kept everything in my bag bone-dry even through a huge pouring rain. In the same rain, I know that most bags would have soaked completely through and my TB2 would have left things feeling moist inside. The cinching straps on the side kept the water out of the corners of my bag (unlike on my TB2), and my computer has survived another day!

I'm looking forward to ordering another flap soon!

Thanks again,

Medium Honeysuckle Labs

Britta Shopper Daruma's

Winter Village Medium Honeysuckle
I was in such a hurry to send her pictures that I snapped this before it had a shoulder strap!

Tootsie with a shoulder strap and Daruma's

A few photographs of some of the bags in this custom order from a wonderful, return customer.

 I wanted to share her words after receiving the box!

"Dear Karen,
the box came in today and I don't know what to say... All the purses are so beautiful!! My son Ryo and I have spent the last 40 minutes on the floor surrounded by them, deciding who gets which one (the dog one is his!!). I love the one for me (the black zen tattoo).
You are a great artist. I really hope your store is doing well because you deserve it. Your bags are so much better than anything in stores both on line and not!
I think though that when you packed the purses you put in also a wallet on a string that I do not remember ordering. I hope your customer who did order it is not waiting for it! I'll send it back to you when I send you the fabric from my friend which I'll get tomorrow. When you get it, then we can figure out what to do with it. I think there should be enough for a couple of bags.
Thank you once again for your wonderful work and you'll be getting the fabric from me within a week
Have a great week,
Adriana 5/11/09"

The wallet she referenced really was part of her order, as she soon discovered! The fabric? You can see it in the pics above, the Darumas. The grey/white print. We did a Britta Tote and a Tootsie .
What is a Daruma you ask?

From Wikipedia:

Daruma dolls ( , daruma), also known as dharma dolls, are hollow and round JapaneseBodhidharma, the founder and first patriarch of Zen.[1] Typical colors are red (most common), yellow, green, and white. The doll has a face with a mustache and beard, but its eyes only contain the color white. Using black ink, one fills in a single circular eye while thinking of a wish. Should the wish later come true, the second eye is filled in. It is traditional to fill in the right eye first; the left eye is left blank until the wish is fulfilled. wish dolls with no arms or legs, modeled after

Many of the Daruma dolls are male. There is, however, a female Daruma called hime daruma or "princess daruma."


I'm always happy to make bags for this wonderful customer! She loves animals and Asian prints. When she contacted me to make these bags in this gorgeous fabric I knew they were a perfect match.

Her reaction?

"Hi Karen,
You are absolutely fabulous!!!!! I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The placement of the goldfish is perfect, I love how they are on the sides also, the sweet pea is so adorable (which I knew it would be with your creativeness)and the placement of the fish is also great on the sweet pea. Your attention to detail is what makes you stand out from other designers. Thank you for working on it so quickly. Another beautiful set!!!! Thanks so much.


Hi Karen! I received my wonderful custom-made iPod clutch late last week, but I didn't send feedback right away because I wanted to give it a thorough test drive first :-)

This padded pouch is WONDERFUL. I love the fact that it's got three sections! The interior has a large pocket with a separator down the middle, just as I asked for; so I'm reserving those two sections for my classic (6th generation) iPod and its earbuds respectively. The zip on the top is super-strong and keeps the contents safely contained. Then, the zipped pocket on the outside of the pouch is ideal for tucking away my connector cable, which I carry with me occasionally so that I can recharge my iPod while at the office.

I requested a strap for my clutch, and I'm glad I did, because it makes carrying the pouch so much easier (not to mention retrieving it from the depths of my handbag!). The strap is very sturdy and looks as though it will last for all of eternity... and I find that I keep it attached all the time, even though it's removable, just because it's so very handy.

What else? The synthetic lining material appears to be water-resistant - not that I'm going to experiment to confirm just how resistant it is, but I appreciate that it represents an extra line of defence for my precious 'Pod!  The interior of the pouch is roomy enough for me to tuck away my iPod even when it's stored in its molded silicone case, which admittely does add bulk. No problem!

Finally, I'm delighted with the fabric of the pouch.  Since I love Japanese designs, it was a treat to discover the blue plover-and-seawave fabric among the extensive selection on your website.  The design and its colour scheme are very summery and festive, and they also work beautifully with the solid-black carrying strap. And although the pouch contains a generous amount of padding - good protection for the iPod - the overall impression is of a remarkably slim and elegant clutch.

So, I could not be happier with my new purchase. Thank you so much for the great communication, superb craftsmanship, and an overall perfect experience!
Julia 8/6/09

"Hi Karen,
  Just got to my mailbox and saw your package.  Again, the bags are more beautiful and stunning in person!!  You realize how much I love those sweet peas!  Nicole loves her new Bebe and is always looking forward to your new fabrics.   You put so much care and thought into your bags, I truly love shopping on your site, it is a lot of fun.  I will talk to you soon, and thanks again!!


Linda & Nicole July 22/09"

Hi, just wanted to let you know that I've been using this case for my iPod for a few weeks now... and I absolutely love it!

This protection for my 'Pod is both functional and beautiful. I especially love the inner pocket for the earbuds; not many cases include this.

Anyway, I wanted to convey how much I adore my case, and to thank you for it.



One of my regular customers sent me three fabrics to turn into flaps for her Morphin Zeldina.
The pin ups and the baseball print were a little tricky since they are quite large. We worked together, via e-mail, to try different layouts. She decided these were the best. They turned out great. There is more of the purple and green leaves, and the Baseball print if you would like to use them for your custom project.

She also had some kind words to say about my work.

"My friend Katie (who has one of your bags) and I were at an arts and crafts event in Indianapolis last weekend. We saw several vendors with all kinds of bags - some using the same fabrics as you. But we agreed that nothing we looked at came close to your quality. Extra kudos for your customer service! I think we've gone back and forth on just three Zeldina flaps as much as we did on my big custom bag. You are a gem, Karen!
June 18/2009

This customer found pictures of my Koi on Purple Britta Tote on the internet and tracked me down.
I didn't have much of the purple left, but I still had an untouched piece of the same print in black.
The order became one of the most beautiful sets I have ever done. Breathtaking! You can never go wrong with a Kona Bay print!
We started with a Panther Deluxe, added the Laptop insert, but made in purple, for a flash of color, a matching Tallullah purse and a Sweet Pea Mini Wallet.

The most gratifying part of the order came, however, when I received the following e-mail...

"Hi there!

They have arrived!!! I just opened the box 5 minutes ago!!

I must say, they are absolutely gorgeous. And so roomy! Perfect sizes, perfect cuts, perfect placement, right down to the flower on the inner flap of the panther deluxe and the way you wrapped the fabric a little around the purse so the image continued right to the end of koi's tail. Beautiful! And in great time for my trip!

This has not only been the best online shopping experience I've had, it was the best service I've received anywhere. Including in person. I'd never before met someone who seemed to care more about a client and fulfilling the shared vision between them. Your customer service is impeccable and your products are outstanding in both design and quality. I couldn't have asked for more.

Thank you for creating for me the most unique and stunning bags I have ever owned or, indeed, seen. I cannot wait to tell my friends and family about Zoe's Bag Boutique - about the service, promptness, and attention to detail you have shown. I won't need to tell them about the quality or the craftsmanship, however. In that, the bags speak for themselves.

Thank you so much for making this experience such an enjoyable one. It has been a pleasure, as always, working with you. I hope one day to speak with you again and I'll be keeping my eye out for articles about you. I'm sure this won't be the last!

Thanks, wholeheartedly,

Jenny D"

June 14/2009

Here's a couple of wonderful Morphin flaps for a custom order Panther Deluxe. We added an exterior zippered pocket to the back. The fabric with the cranes and waterfalls (another gorgeous print from Kona Bay) was a little too short to fit on the flap. No problem, I have devised a method that allows me to add an "extender" to the top. A piece of the same black used for the bodies, added to the top edge, provides the length needed, and adds a nice finished touch to the look.
The Tatsu Dragon always works wonders on any bag.

What did the customer say?

"Hi again, Karen!

My bag arrived promptly today, to my amazement (and excitement!). It looks great! It's even bigger than I thought it was. I was a bit worried about whether or not I would have room for my laptop, but I can see now I had nothing to worry about. It's going to fit just fine. It's also going to be a great bag for carrying my sketching and painting supplies.

The flaps look beautiful! My mom fell in love with the Cranes and Waterfalls flap right away. She even thought the black part at the top did indeed look like it was part of the fabric (as you suggested).

Thanks so much for everything! I love my bag!


I was pleased to work with one of my regular customers to create this gorgeous bag!
She wanted something that would hold her laptop. We started with a large Honeysuckle tote and expanded the width slightly to ensure the laptop would fit inside.
She wanted side pockets like the Zelda's and Tilly. That meant adding to the depth also, since putting side pockets on the Honeysuckles serves no purpose. Pockets need a minimum width or you can't put anything inside them!
On the back we added a shallow zip pocket. Inside a sleeve, like you would find in the Panthers, this to hold the laptop in place.
Instead of handles she selected a padded shoulder strap.
The end result was a beautiful bag as you can see.
What did she think about it? See below! Notice she turned it into a Bag in a Bag, as did my other customer. I see a trend here!


"My lappy bag / airline carry-on came today, and I am just ecstatic with it! OMG Karen, it's perfect!
The fabric is gorgeous and coordinates beautifully with my existing neoprene Mac Book sleeve. It slides perfectly into the pocket - and the little piggy on the fastener is adorable! My Zeldina slides in next to it, and with the Morphin flap removed gives me full access to my purse without carrying an extra bag. And there's still room for a bottle of water and a good-size book or knitting project. The outside pockets will keep my phone, reading glasses, and travel documents within easy reach. Y'know, it's as if it were made just for me! ;-)
I can't wait to show it off when I travel...!



So I am a huge fan.... and I love my bag, but today it loved me back.  I dropped my car off with a mechanic this morning and then walked a mile through a fairly affluent neighborhood to my favorite bookstore to spend the afternoon reading.  In my bag I had a school book and a "for fun" book, my iPod, my knitting (expensive yarn) my wallet and various other things.  Around 4 in the afternoon my car was ready so I started to walk back.  Halfway there a kid (maybe 16 years old) came up behind me and grabbed the strap of my bag.  I kept my hand firmly around the strap.  I tugged and he tugged and I hit him and tugged back.  I hadn't closed the bag all the way, so he reached inside, grabbed my wallet and ran off.   But my books and my iPod and my knitting and everything else was safe. 
The strap held - isn't even damaged.   If I had closed the other sid eof the bag he wouldn't have gotten anything.

For the record, I don't recommend fighting back... but this time it was all ok.
Thank you for making such a sturdy bag.

April 25th 2009

Another custom order, and such cute fabric. This makes everyone say awww!

And the customer?
She said

I received my bag yesterday and I LOVE it!!! It's perfect. I'm going to use it as a gym bag. Thanks again for the great customer service and lightning-fast delivery. I will be sending you some fabric for another bag soon!

March 6/09

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