June is finally here! What are everyone’s plans for the summer? My ideal vacation for a summer lovin’ getaway – somewhere tropical, exciting and close to sea.

This month ViktoriaJean gets up close and personal with ETSY Entrepreneurs brilliant at their craft, zooming in on travel-easy products which will make your travelling infinitely easier. Watch this space also for exclusive discounts when you purchase with special discount codes only for our readers!

The beach and the sea must be beckoning as you ponder your next getaway. Well, since a lot of you would be heading to the coasts, today’s feature includes (i) a couple who’re amazing at making incredibly gorgeous surfboard bags and beach totes, and (ii) a self-made, self-funded entrepreneur who makes lovely bags, such as the 8-in-1 tote perfect for travelling.


Who: Joe & Tasha Chapman
What: Durable hand crafted goods for the ocean – loving life. Created by a couple of salty folks by the sea
WhereETSY! | ChapmanAtSea
What we love: The Palm Leaf Collection

 photo ChapmanAtSeaEtsy3.jpgChapman at Sea is a collaboration between husband & wife team Joe & Tasha Chapman. Tasha is an artist & illustrator, while Joe is a commercial diver. They both like surfing, traveling & spending time by the sea.

Chapman at Sea began with a vintage army duffle and the need for some surfboard bags. Tasha inherited the duffle from her grandfather. It was a tough old thing that had traveled the world and gotten better with use. This bag held a lot of stuff, but it wasn’t big enough for a surfboard. Sometime in the middle of 2012, Joe & Tasha needed some board bags for themselves. Nothing offered locally really fit their style, so they decided to make them on their own, taking inspiration from the army bag. Tasha’s artistic skills, paired with Joe’s real life marine experience & a knack for always knowing how to raise the quality of a thing, came together to create a good looking bag that’s made to last.

Crafting the bags carefully & by hand turned out to be really satisfying, so the couple kept on making them. Later on, Tasha created a line of smaller beach bags & totes from the same classic materials and Joe introduced rope dog leashes that use sturdy sailor’s knots. Joe & Tasha hope these creations will go out into the world & travel all over it, becoming a part of as many adventures as the old army bag has.

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Etsy is such a great place for makers. I do have my own website ChapmanAtSea.com but I wanted to have an Etsy shop as well because I knew it would let me connect with people I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. A lot of people are in the market for special, handmade things, but don’t really know where to go to find them. Etsy makes it so easy for them to hop on and discover new things. It’s also a fun, vibrant community that I’m happy to be a part of.

VJ: How did you come up this idea for a business. Is this an interest/hobby?

I love the ocean and I love to surf. The business came from necessity – I needed some surfboard bags and couldn’t find anything that fit my style so I decided to create them myself, inspired by a tough old WWII army bag I’d inherited from my grandfather. At the time I was working as an illustrator and the artistic side of me knew what I wanted it to look and feel like. My husband Joe is a commercial diver, is in a marine setting every day, and knew what had to be done to made it durable. He focused on the function, I focused on it’s good looks, and together we made the kind of surfboard bag we thought ought to exist.

They were received really well and it was so much fun that I just kept designing things. Whenever I needed something in my own life I’d think if I could make it better myself, in my own style. The result has been a whole line of products: beach bags, totes, dog leashes, bike bags and we’ve just released a new collection of wooden handplanes for body surfing. They’re all made from our simple, classic materials and all designed for a life spent by the sea.

VJ: What are some of the biggest challenges in setting up a business on Etsy

It takes a good amount of time to get everything going – photo, stories, everything involved in setting up a shop. It’s a little bit daunting in the beginning. I also think a lot of sellers get discouraged because after they do all of this it’s still a challenge to be “discovered.” You have to get your shop to pop up in search results so people can see your awesome creations.

VJ: How did you overcome these challenges.

I just worked at it little by little until it was ready. It was actually a lot of fun creating my store exactly as I wanted it to be. I guess I had a vision for what I wished it would be. As far as getting found once it was up, I’m still not sure how that happens! I just believe if you put something out there that you’re passionate about it will show and eventually people will come. Patience is important!

VJ: We’ll like to know more about the person behind The Atlantic Ocean! Tell us more about yourself 🙂
My name is Tasha. I’m an artist, surfer & maker living by the sea in Boca Raton, Florida. White is my favorite color, coconut is my favorite scent and my perfect day is one spent in the ocean.

What’s hot right now: The Atlantic Ocean’s Palm Leaf Collection
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Well, if you ask me, I’m definitely getting one of those Palm Leaf totes for beach getaways.
For more information or further enquiries, visit ChapmanAtSea. Happy shopping.

⚓️APROPOS by Judith Anne Nelson

Who: Judith Anne Nelson
What: Uniquely patented bag changes into 8 classic bags every woman needs, and has the luxe appearance every woman wants!
WhereETSY! | AproposBag
What we love: The 8-in-1 chic bag!

The owner’s story:

“It took me many years of trial and error, then patent submission, trademarks, etc., to get to the point where I found the right idea. Now I just need to find the right market!

Mine is definitely one-of-a-kind! I used to speak at conferences, and was continuously hampered by never having the right bag at the right time. I needed a roomy tote for the plane (to carry my laptop, iPad, water, etc…not to mention purse stuff), but was invariably in a mad dash to get to my meeting. Often I couldn’t even wait for my luggage to be brought to the room, so I was stuck with my tote for the day, which never looked quite right. There were luncheons when I would have preferred a smaller, sleeker bag, surprise quick shopping breaks (which I really longed for a backpack or messenger bag for hands-free retail therapy), a dash out for coffee (when I didn’t need my whole bag, just my wallet and phone), then somehow I never got a chance to go back to my hotel before my day drifted into drinks and dinner. I never seemed to have the right bag at the right time! I searched and searched, but there was no bag anywhere that could do it all. What were my choices? I couldn’t take an armload of bags with me everywhere I went…and I would NOT give up being chic for the comfort of an old tote or backpack. When I exhausted my searches, I decided I would have to make one myself.

It took me endless trial and error sessions pinning tissues, then moving to fabric, until I hit the “ah-ha” moment. Fortunately, I was a good seamstress and was able to make my prototypes. I had discovered that, with strategically placed grommets and removable handles (plus great looking materials), I could actually create a bag that could, not only LOOK different, but change size and shape so that it became all the different bags I needed. My dream was to carry one bag (really, only one bag!) with me wherever I traveled, or even throughout my daily routines. My favorite bags heretofore had been the Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM, the Goyard St. Louis PM, and the Bottega Veneta Intrecciato woven leather tote. But none of them did it all. I modeled the initial size of my Apropos bag after the size and shapes of the LV and Goyard bags, then the look and some of the functionality of the Bottega Veneta. I found that my bag was always Apropos! It began as a stylish tote with elegant woven round shoulder handles, and could then easily convert into a messenger bag, hobo, bucket, backpack, “A”-shape (a la BV), dressy smaller and sleeker bag, and cross-body, wristlet, or shoulder pouch—this last one perfect for quick trips out for coffee when you don’t need your larger bag. The zippered pouch is large enough to keep a long wallet and phone snug and secure—either clipped into any of the bag’s conversions with the handles, or worn on its own with one of the handles as a wristlet, shoulder pouch, or small cross-body bag.

I knew that with the LV and Goyard bags I felt the need to purchase custom bag-bottoms, so the bags wouldn’t sag and bottom out. I decided my bags would have to come with a finished removable bag bottom. Then, although I and seemingly most women prefer open totes, I decided to put a magnetic closure at the top edge, so that it could be closed when needed, but still easily opened. “Apropos” seemed like the right name, because… I made samples of the bag, tried it along with my friends, and we loved it! For the first time ever, my suitcase was freed up for overspending on other things wherever I went—I took just the one bag, and it worked!

When others began wanting the bag, I was unable to keep up with making them myself, so I enlisted the aid of a very small family company here is Colorado, who hand-made environmentally friendly things. All this has been very expensive for me—just getting the patents (I have 11—one utility and 10 design) took several years, and many hundreds of dollars. Sourcing the materials here in the US has also been quite expensive—low quantities command high prices. But I found what I believe is the perfect fabric—woven-look soft and luxurious faux leather that looks and feels almost exactly like my $3,500 Bottega Veneta bag! I haven’t been able to work up the steam and the necessary presentation for a crowd funding project, but I will really need to do that in order to be able to meet an increased demand with a less expensive product. I found that purse organizers are the perfect addition to my bag, in that you simply lift out the contents in the organizer when you convert to another style, so I have been including a limited number of those with the purchase of the complete bag.

While on my Bottega Veneta kick (after all, is is the ultimate is luxurious stealth chic), I became fascinated by their woven key rings, priced at over $200 each. I used some of my round woven handle cord and made a larger version, one that could be worn over the wrist when you walk the dog, go out for a run, or down to get the mail, and just need the keys—no bag. Mine can clip conveniently onto the bag’s handles for easy access when in the bag, or worn on the wrist when out and about—to me it’s a huge improvement over the pricey BV key ring!

We’re now at 8 styles from the same bag, but friends have already suggested even more styles.
I say, it’s your bag–how will you wear it?”

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It’s crazy how a bag can be carried so many ways! Name an occasion you can’t carry this 8-in-1 to, and perhaps the talented designer would be able to solve your problem. Definitely handy when you’re out on the road with limited options or intending to travel light, as I’m always inclined to. For more information, visit here or the official website.

Hang tight for more exciting features! Meanwhile, if you’ve got something to share, or would like to be featured, drop me a note at viktoria@viktoriajean.com

Viktoria Jean

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