I am now an impulse shopper. I used to try being patient, but I learned that if I didn’t buy something right away, I would obsess about it and even visit it online or in the store and then eventually give in and buy it. That means the time between when I initially wanted to buy it and when I finally bought it was just time wasted when I could have been enjoying what I wanted. Even worse, sometimes I tried to talk myself out of it for so long that by the time I decided to buy it, the size or color I wanted was no longer available. This is my explanation for why, only four short days after my previous post, I ordered a FUMI purse hook/bracelet from Je’Marie. I bought the Confident (black snakeskin pattern):
If you hang on my every word, then you will remember that the only area where I found my classic pursehook lacking was the ability to hang on doors and other non-flat surfaces. When the FUMI became available last year, I didn’t rush out to buy one because I already had a purse hook. The original photos didn’t show the FUMI being used on doors, but when I visited the website last week I saw pictures of the FUMI hung on bathroom doors, luggage handles, sofas, you name it! That was all it took to convince me to take the plunge.
The FUMI is a hinged bracelet which opens to clip onto your bag as an accessory, your wrist as jewelry, or any surface as a purse hook. Like the original purse hook, the FUMI has a rubber pad to help the purse hook grip surfaces. Many other purse hooks do not include this feature, so they slide around, especially when used with heavy purses on slippery surfaces. I have an older version of the FUMI which has rubber padding on only one side, but the newer ones have rubber on both sides so that you can hook either end! This change was made in response to customer feedback – the FUMI makers really listen to what their customers have to say!
One of the really wonderful design features of the FUMI is that when it’s open, the two ends are swiveled and therefore are not open at 180 degrees. This means you don’t need to have open space underneath in order for the FUMI to work (unlike other purse hooks that only work on tables or counters with a large space underneath).
I wanted to try out the FUMI right away, so I first tried hanging my lunch bag from the overhead bin in my office. Even though in some of these pictures, it looks like it’s twisted all crazy and sometimes looks like it’s about to fall off, it’s just the angle of the photo combined with the angle of the opening. It’s that wide opening that allows it to attach to so many different surfaces securely. I pulled on my bags to see if I could shake them loose and they didn’t budge unless I went Hulk style.
Normally I wouldn’t actually hang my lunch here, but I wanted to try the FUMI against a curved surface without space underneath. You can’t really tell in this photo, but the cabinet is very curved, which is something that some other purse hooks can’t handle. The box holding my lunch is about 6″ in diameter so my lunch bag is sticking out from the surface quite a bit, but thanks to the angle of the FUMI, my bag hangs just fine. Not possible with other purse hooks!
Although my lunch bag is nowhere near the 25 pound weight limit that the FUMI can handle, it’s still pretty heavy to me because I have a huge bottle of water inside as well. Thanks to my handy food scale, I learned that a full bottle of water in my Klean Kanteen bottle weighs 3.5 pounds. No wonder my wrist used to get so tired when I lugged it around!
I wasn’t sure how I would use the FUMI with my cross body bag since the strap is really long. There’s no point in using a purse hook if the strap is so long that the bag would end up touching the ground, right? Then I had an aha! moment and put the FUMI through the metal ring connecting the strap to the bag.
I was a little afraid that the FUMI wouldn’t be able to fit inside the ring, but it fit without any problem. For reference, the widest part of the FUMI is about 3/4″ and the ring on this purse is about 1″ in diameter. This means you can also hang most keychains on the FUMI too. By the way, do not mock my old lady purse. It’s green! It has lots of zippers! It has a striped lining! It’s AWESOME!
As you can see in the two pictures above, the end of the FUMI curves up which prevents the bag (or its straps) from accidentally sliding off the hook.
By this point in my preliminary testing, I knew the FUMI got full marks in the purse hook function, but what about the other two? The website says it’s also a bracelet and a purse accessory, so it’s a threefer.
Full disclosure: I have not worn bangle bracelets since middle school so that may affect my feelings about the FUMI as jewelry. I wore it all day to see what I thought. Honestly, when I first saw the pictures on the website, I wasn’t sure how much I would like the FUMI as a bracelet. Once I put it on and looked in the mirror from 2-3 feet away, it was simple but cute, which is good because I don’t like overly fussy or complicated things. The snakeskin pattern is subtle so it’s snakeskin, not SNAKESKIN! It also adds a nice texture so it isn’t all bling and sparkle (although if you want one with bling, they have some FUMI models with crystals).
The FUMI is very well made. I remember from my middle school days that some of the cheapie bracelets I wore had exposed screws, hinges, or springs that snagged my clothes. I had one really nice bracelet that I had to stop wearing in college because the clasp kept getting caught on the threads on the insides of my shirts and jackets. No such concern with the FUMI though. The hinge has two tiny screws (or pins? I don’t know, my eyesight is not what it used to be), but they are flush with the surface of the bracelet so no snagging. The spring that snaps the FUMI closed is also flush with the bracelet and there are no loose ends (unlike all those spiral bound notebooks that used to catch on everything inside my backpack – holla, sixth grade!).
The FUMI felt a little heavy to me, but again, keep in mind that I haven’t worn any bangle bracelets for years so I’m just not used to the weight. However, I’d rather have the FUMI be slightly heavier and therefore sturdy enough to hold my bags than lighter on my wrist and unable to hold all my stuff! Because I have small wrists, some bangles slide all the way up to the widest part of my hand, which is totally annoying. When I let the FUMI drop all the way down, it reaches just past the top line of my wrist, which is great because that means I won’t get it soaking wet every time I wash my hands.
It’s surprisingly accommodating. I have always had small wrists, so I had no problem getting it on my wrist. For the sake of argument, I also had Mr. Awesome try it on. As you can imagine, he was less than thrilled about this, but I was able to put it on his man-sized wrists easily. Despite this, it has a slim profile. After dinner, I pulled a henley over my tank top and although the FUMI was visible underneath the long sleeves, it didn’t create a huge bulge.
Despite all this, I will probably not wear it as a bracelet very often, partly because I am just not a bangle bracelet kind of girl anymore, but mostly because wearing it as a bracelet would mean remembering to put it on which means I’ll forget and constantly leave it at home. Much safer to leave it clipped to my bag so it’s always with me!
The other reason I won’t be wearing it as a bracelet very often is the issue of cooties. For me, the main purpose of a purse hook is to keep germs at bay by keeping my bag from touching the floor and even chairs and counters. When using the FUMI as a purse hook, the rubber pad on the inside edge of the bracelet will be touching bars, counters, bathroom doors, and lord knows what other kind of germ covered surfaces, so once I begin using it regularly, I’ll be much less inclined to want the cootie covered rubber pad rubbing against my wrist all day. The germs weren’t an issue when I wore the FUMI as a bracelet today since it was nice and clean right out of the box, but I know once I use it on something like a bathroom door or an armrest at the movie theater, I’ll be grossed out at the thought of the cooties from those places touching my skin constantly. This is by no means a design flaw though – it’s just my germaphobic nature rearing its ugly head.
FUMI function #3: purse accessory. You can clip the FUMI to any purse, but it does look better with certain bags. I think that it looks/works best on a larger purse with two straps. On my cross body bag, it hangs nicely out of the way. I did notice that when I had this purse propped up in my car, the FUMI slid around on the very long strap so there is a possibility that when using the FUMI on a really long strap, the bracelet itself might get whacked against stuff when you pick up your purse. Not a huge deal since it seems very sturdy, but just FYI.
I also tried attaching it to the metal ring, but that is definitely a function over form decision. Although leaving it here will keep the FUMI from sliding around, it doesn’t look as nice hanging from the ring. I also have a bad habit of leaning into the push bar doors at work (which is how I broke a hair clip that I had stuck to one of my bags), so I have a feeling that the poor defenseless FUMI would get beat up a lot more in this position.
This is how is looks clipped onto my lunch bag. Shiny and fun without being obnoxious!
It totally matches my Tylie Malibu bag, which is one of my bigger bags:
I don’t know if I’d recommend clipping it onto smaller bags because it can block the zipper from opening all the way. If you put it on side where the zipper is fully open, it shouldn’t get in the way too much, but it does look a bit big on these purses:
You really can hang it on ANYTHING. I have hung it on the headrest in my car, as well as on the back of the passenger seat just to see if the clip would open wide enough and stay securely attached while driving the windy roads near my house and the FUMI held my bag in place without the slightest slip!
I’ve only ordered from Je’Marie twice, but they have been great both times. My items shipped quickly (I ordered on a Monday and received my FUMI on Thursday), and they were packaged very securely. The original purse hook came in a cute velvet bag, which I use to store my purse hook so that none of the cooties touch the contents of my purse (the velvet bags now cost $1.50, which is totally reasonable). The FUMI comes in an organza bag, which is great if you’re giving it as a gift. I probably won’t use it much as I plan to keep the FUMI on my purse strap, but I might throw it in my bag just in case I ever need to quarantine it!
I chose the black snakeskin design so that it wouldn’t clash with my different purses and bags. Aside from the black and green pictured here, I also have hot pink, purple, navy blue, forest green, you name it! Of course, my love for pink knows no bounds so I really wanted this one. Damn my practicality! I just didn’t want it clashing with the green bags.
I paid $28.92 ($24.95 retail price minus the 10% discount I’m about to tell you about plus shipping), and it was worth every penny to know that I will keep all my bags as germ free as possible. You can get a 10% discount on your FUMI order by using the code iknownichole (all one word) or by signing up for their mailing list. I’m on tons of mailing lists and FUMI gets a gold star for not constantly spamming me. In 2009, I only received a handful of emails (maybe five total) alerting me to their product, the FUMI, and to let me know about discounts and free shipping. It’s definitely not the “send an email that says the exact same thing every other day” kind of mailing list, which I really appreciate.
This is a very well designed product in every aspect. There is nothing more frustrating and disappointing than discovering a potentially cool product, only to find some annoying flaw or corner that has been cut. By the same token, it’s really great to find a product that is so well designed and manufactured that does exactly what it’s supposed to do.
The FUMI comes in a wide range of colors. I love having so many choices – the best kind of dilemma! The simplest ones are plain metallic (silver, gold, and pewter). There are five metallics embellished with crystals (silver, matte silver, gold, pewter, and copper). The snakeskin version is edged in silver and comes in lots of colors (black, brown, olive green, orange, hot pink, teal, and white). There is also a white snakeskin with gold trim, as well as a zebra print with pewter trim, and a cheetah print with gold trim. The only reason I might not give these as gifts is that for some people, I wouldn’t know which color/design to choose for them. Nothing that a gift certificate can’t solve though!
I also like supporting family run companies (even though I can’t imagine doing it myself!). Je’Marie joins my list of awesome companies run by sisters, along with Jaqua, Hey Lady, and Benefit. My sister and I have discussed how cool it would be to run a company together and then we realized we would probably spend a lot of time yelling at each other, so high five to the sisters who can work together. Bonus points because Je’Marie is based in my hometown of San Diego!
4/10/10 update: my FUMI accompanied me on an international trip and earned its keep by holding my various bags and bottles on buses, boats, and luggage carts!