Name of business: Tipsy Totes
Address: 1549 W. Oakey Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89102
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 6 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Owned by: Sonja and Ursula Bettendorf, a mother-daughter team
In business since: 2011
Describe your business.
Tipsy Totes handcrafts unique wine and spirit totes. We create designs that are meant to be gifted, regifted or kept as unique pieces of art.
Our items include a bustier double wine carrier, a cowboy boot, diva totes, kilts and our most recent addition, beer koozies. We also have a special line of bridal wine totes that include a bride and tuxedo-dressed groom. Those totes fit two bottles of Champagne or wine.
We also work with our customers to craft special designs, such as matching a wedding party’s dresses or logoed totes and bags. We offer items that are completely customizable and fit every taste and budget.
Who are your customers?
People who like to have fun with their wine and spirits. They value our nontraditional take on totes, as well as their versatility and aesthetics. Fun and functional really is the perfect combination.
We have a variety of totes and carriers that appeal to diverse segments of the population.
We also are in the process of building the wholesale side of our business. We think our totes would be a great addition to wineries and boutiques.
In addition, we work with event planners to create specialized items for events, such as goodie bags, bridal presents, gift baskets, flower arrangement holders and corporate gifts. We offer embroidery, bling and fun designs to customize the product. Sometimes they are special keepsakes that people treasure for years to come.
What makes your business unique?
We design and craft every item in our Las Vegas shop. That allows us to customize orders. Each piece is made to be a perfect match for its owner.
The designs are fun and can be used for many purposes. They are perfect to hold wine, but they also make great centerpieces, flower holders, lingerie gift bags, girls’ night out bags, home decorations and much more.
How did you come up with the idea for Tipsy Totes?
Not surprisingly, over a bottle of wine and some fanciful brainstorming. We started Tipsy Totes on a small budget in a dining room.
The next morning, we compiled a huge list of totes we wanted to begin working on.
We turned a spare room into fabric storage and put profits into more equipment. When the time came to move into a store front, we were excited. Since then, we have expanded and now have a fabulous showroom and plenty of space for our sewing room and equipment.
How do you come up with designs?
We love nontraditional designs and are inspired by functionality. For example, how can we make something simple like a lipstick into an awesome wine tote?
Our first love was and continues to be the bustier. We have a great time shopping for fabrics and trims that we can use. It’s so versatile and can convey different moods and personalities – sassy, sexy, demure, subtle, even wow. The possibilities are limitless.
Each item is handcrafted, so the production process can be quite complicated. We are fortunate to have a team of excellent seamstresses and also enjoy pitching in ourselves.
What is your business philosophy?
Tipsy Totes aims to give customers high quality, unique wine and spirits carriers and accessories. We want to continually offer unique products with a flair.
We enjoy having fun at the shop and think that’s key to a successful workplace. It inspires more creative thinking and better products. Instead of the same old boring workplace, we encourage creativeness and an atmosphere of excitement.
What’s the most important part of your job?
We would not have a job if it weren’t for our customers. Pleasing our customers with quality and designs that excite is our No. 1 priority.
What is the hardest part about doing business in Las Vegas?
Las Vegas has been and continues to be one of the hardest hit areas by the recession. The city is coming back, but it takes time.
Buyers are acutely aware of the value of their dollar and just how far it will go today. Businesses have to be aware of shoppers’ needs and provide high-quality items at fair prices.
What is the best part about doing business in Las Vegas?
Las Vegas is such an interesting city and like no other. It attracts people from around the world and definitely has a unique culture to it.
We love the history and glitz and glamor, from showgirls to old performers. Some of our styles attempt to reflect some of that old Vegas flair.
Many of the tourists who stop in our shop are surprised and excited that we exist. They always seem to find something they can’t leave without. We also ship around the country, so they don’t have to worry about packing and getting some of the larger totes home.
What obstacles has your business overcome?
Sometimes a design doesn’t quite work out, and it gets put on a shelf until the frustration cools down.
The Las Vegas economy is an obstacle in its own right. Businesses have to pay attention to consumers and trends. We have tried to accommodate customers with a wide range of totes and prices.
How can Nevada improve its business climate?
As the economy improves, the business climate will improve as well. By supporting local businesses and sustainability, we think the state is headed in the right direction.
What have you learned from the recession?
We started Tipsy Totes during the recession. We have found that people value quality, American-made products. It’s important to put Las Vegans back to work and support the community. We want to be a part of that.
As we continue growing, we hope to increase our staff.