Yao Fangjie's rubber seals. The 29-year-old started to make rubber seals in September and so far has earned about 1,000 yuan ($106.2). Provided for China Daily
Hard work required
Behind the colorful handicraft are hours of cutting and sewing, which many buyers are unaware of.
Although Xu spends about seven to eight hours a day making bags, she can only finish about 30 handbags a year, along with some small accessories such as leather bells and business card holders. "I am maddeningly slow, and the entire bag is sewn by my hands only."
A doctor's bag needs at least four days to complete, and a small wallet and clutch bag required one to two days.
The technique of making handbags can be learned in six months, Xu said, but it requires a lifetime to develop the finer skills.
For seal maker Yao, the complexity of the pattern that customers order and the size of the seal determines how many hours she spends on each project.
The most complex patterns Yao carved were the four school badges from the Harry Potter movies, which took her about 15 hours to finish.
Not every handicraft item is so popular however.
Li Lu, 30, works at an Internet service company in Anhui province. She once tried to sell her handmade fabric bags at online stores and at a store run by her friends in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
"I gave up. There are too many handmade fabric bags online," she said.
Without a unique selling point, it is hard for one shop to stand out among thousands of similar online stores.
Instead, Li turned to making antique-style headwear. "Winter time is too cold to spend in a workshop knitting bags," she said. "And I believe people who love cosplay will love my works."
Li said she will not give up her job, as she does not believe there are sufficient prospects in handmade headwear or fabric bags.