Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Artist Spotlight AND Giveaway!!!: Abishai

Every sexy dancer needs a  sexy statement bag to put their dance shoes in!!
The woman behind these beautiful shoe bags is my new friend Fatima Bey from Schenectady, New York. Fatima spent 15 years in the retail management business, 10 of them in the bridal business. By dealing with nervous brides on a daily basis she's become accustomed to providing superior service with a smile! She's so sweet and I was more than happy to give her my money for my very own Joy shoe bag! Loves!!

Q: Fatima how did you go from brides to bags!? LOL!

A: After many years of the retail and bridal world, I wanted a change. I felt it was time to put action to my dreams. I have wanted to own my own business for a long time and I am a designer at heart. The Shoe Bag and Shoe Purse idea came about out of noticing a need. As a dancer, I noticed all of the plastic or gym bags men and women would bring their shoes in. People would get all dressed up, but walk in with a gym or grocery store bag in hand. So, I came up with a more attractive way to carry our shoes and what we need.

Q:You and I met at a Salsa Social. I have to confess, you had me at hello when I saw your bags! I had to make the Joy Bag mine! I thought it was the best idea because every dancer usually shows up with shoes in a recycled duffle bag or in nothing at all! Your bags are sexy and eye catching! Talk about the thought process in selecting colors and some of the features of your bags.

A: When I create a design, I ask myself 2 primary questions:

1) Does it look average? If so, I make some changes. I don't want them to look like they were purchased at a chain store in the mall. I make it a point to make my designs above avereage.
2) Does it make you go "Wow"? For me, it's not good enough just to be pretty or nice looking.  I want people to look at my bags and have just the reaction you did!
This second question also gives balance to the first. By asking both of these questions, I'm more likely to ensure that my designs are different, but not too different.
As far as features on the bags, I try to make them practical. For example: the pockets on the insides are large enough to fit a large cell phone. I have also talked with many people while out dancing to find out what is practical for them. That is why you see different features on some of the bags, such as wrist loops or shoulder straps.

Q: I admit, the only sewing lessons I've ever had were in elementary home economics! I love sewing, but don't know my potential. What are your top 3 sewing tips?

A: 1) Be accurate when cutting. Make sure the pattern is placed on or against the grain, depending on the project. Also, make sure the fabric is flat before pinning the pattern and cutting. Cutting incorrectly can sabotage a project before it really begins.

2) Get some knowledge about the fabric you are using before attempting to sew with it. Is it the right fabric for what you are attempting to make? This is especially true of special ocassion fabrics, for example. Certain fabrics can be ruined by using the wrong needle or tension setting. There is a wealth of information on the internet. Use it. Take the time to learn a little bit ahead of time and save yourself some of the frustration. Most people would benefit best from taking a class or two.

3) The biggest tip is to be patient with yourself. You are going to make mistakes and that can be frustrating, but the main thing is to learn from them and try again. Don't get discouraged because you're not a master seamstress or tailor over night. I've never met a master sewer that became excellent overnight. We all had to work at it.

Q: Your business name "Abishai" is unique, yet for some it may be familiar. For those who don't know... tell us how to say it, what does it mean and how you came up with it.

A: Ab-ish-shy
I wanted a name that meant something; a name that encompassed everything the business is about. So, I began searching through my Bible Dictionary. The more I learned about Abishai, the more I identified his character with that of my own and the business. Abishai was actually the nephew of the Biblical King David. He was a chief warrior and extremely loyal. He was also a strong leader. I would like Abishai to be a strong leader in the fashion industry. He was, by all accounts, above average. I want all Abishai products to be above average too.
Just as important as who he was is what the name means. His name means "Source of Wealth" or "Gift of God".

Q: A portion of every sale you make is given to a charity close to your heart. Can you tell us about that?

A: A portion of every sale goes to Warm Blankets Orphan Care International. This is an organization that rescues orphans around the world in several different ways. My particular interest within this organization is the prevention and rescue of young women and children from the sex slave industry. There is no subject that I am more passionate about. I have always loved children and have had a soft spot in my heart for young women. While I may not be able to save all of the children and young women of the world by myself, I can help those who are already doing it. I decided to give an exact percentage of every sale so that as the business grows, so will the funds to help these young women and children. I'd like people to know that when you buy from Abishai, you are helping young women and children all around the world!

Q: Where can people find your bags?

A: People can visit, where they can purchase the Shoe Bags and see the other products that are available.  For those who would like to see where Abishai will be next and want to see the products in person, there is a link titled "Calendar" on the home page.

Thank you so much Abishai for being our first friend to spotlight!


Would you like to win your choice of any one of these beautiful bags found on the Abishai website?

Contest Rules:
-Leave a comment telling us what you love about this post on our blog and/or facebook page.

-You must be a follower of our blog (to do that-look to the right column) or someone who "likes" our Facebook Page.

-You have double the chance to win if you do BOTH!

-you have 1 week to enter. Contest ends at noon on next Wednesday October 6th. Random winner will be announced October 7th. GOOD LUCK!!


  1. I love it that a chance encounter at a Salsa Social led to Abishai bags being feature here, in the virtual world, as well as in the real life. I think Fatima is a creative artist, and a smart business woman, and if anyone deserves a spotlight it's talents like hers!

  2. i love that your models are so gorgeous, and that a portion of the proceeds go to charity. and the bags are beautiful!

  3. I believe that your young model is going to grace the pages of a fashion magazine in the future. Kudos to the talented photographer as well.

  4. What a great idea. These bags are not only beautiful but functional. They will be a very fashionable accessory for the dancing ladies. I just love the selection of such feminine materials used in your creations.

    Phyllis Coviello

  5. Fatima, I love the enthusiasm and passion you bring to Abishai. Your products show your attention to detail by their quality and design, and your mission to use Abishai to educate and make a difference in the world is trulu admirable.

  6. I think these bags are awesome. I like that you name some of the handbags and shoe bags after people you know. I love that the bags have pockets and that there are different designs to match every personality. Completely functional. One of these bags are on my birthday wish list ;) Wonderful job Fatima! Keep it up

  7. Enjoyed the interview and the bags are stunning as well as being very functional.

  8. These bags are an incredible idea and are so beautiful!! The fact that a portion goes to a very worthy charity tells me so much about your heart, Fatima! Keep smiling and making these things of beauty! The world is a better place because of you! = )

  9. Fantastic products Fatima. You are so creative. I can't wait to get one for myself. Great Job! :)

  10. Oh they look beautiful. She is a clever lady.
    I follow here and on facebook but this is a nice bonus.


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