Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Special Feature: Crafting for Profit Part 1

Some of us craft for fun as a hobby, but a lot of us craft for profit. Personally speaking, profit is fun. A lot of fun!

This topic is what I get asked most often from friends and customers. How about we pick this apart piece by piece? Frankly, if I can succeed of absolutely anyone can! This is going to be an ongoing feature so make sure to check for new additions to it.

This entire little operation we run here started with a modest investment of $150 of ribbon and a lot of anxiety. That was a huge amount of money for us and was carefully discussed before starting on this amazing road. I didn't know how to make a bow. I knew we had to solve an upcoming finical shortfall, and it had to be solved in a hurry!

Four years ago we got the blessed news that we were expecting again. Our first child was 11 months old at the time. Wrapped in my baby bliss and financial ignorance I inquired how much our new daycare bill was going to be. The answer made those old cartoon signs pop up in my head "KABOOM" "POW" and my heart sank. Our joy was going to be more than a small burden. Daycare was already expensive but I didn't expect that the new and improved baby bill was going to leave me with less than $700 a month after taxes and daycare to work at a job I hated. Long hours, high stress, mandatory overtime... and people working at McDonald's were going to have more spending money than me slaving at my fortune 500 corporate job. Something had to change and the nine month clock was ticking.

I looked at a lot of the big name work for yourself type companies. Avon. Homemade Gourmet. Reselling items on eBay for profit. None of the options I came up with seemed like a good fit for me. I needed something I could do at home at midnight, on my terms, with a decent profit margin that I could set.

The voice in my head said, "Bows. We're going to make bows. We don't even have a girl but bows seem the most direct route to not working for peanuts at the source of all evil and possibly still affording food. If it doesn't work out... we can always work at McDonald’s midnights and not have to pay daycare... and still be ahead."

I bought some instructions. I found some free instructions. I used my $150 of ribbon products and listed bows on Ebay with a goal of replacing the income I would lose if I quit my job. I took all the money I made in those 8 months and dumped it back into more pretty ribbon, and listed more bows. By maternity leave I was making over $1000 a month selling hair bows. I could legitimately afford to not go back to my job and not pay daycare!

Now overtime I left selling bows on Ebay, to selling locally at craft shows, http://www.etsy.com/ and children's boutiques. It worked better for our family's schedule. My ribbon obsession created the ribbon company we run www.AllAboutRibbon.com because there was ribbon that we HAD to have that I couldn’t find anywhere.

We have truly been blessed as a family to wander down this path. Our second child was a beautiful little girl for a hair bow model. Ok, that was dumb luck. She could have been a boy and I would still have been a bow making momma. Four years and $150 has grown to freedom to do what we want, when we want to. We love ribbon and bows! We have a business that has no debt that is growing by leaps and bounds. We can afford to eat! Most importantly, it has given me the gift to see my children every day and care for them. I can pay for special therapy for our first child that has since been diagnosed at autistic. I can take him to his appointment which seems like such a simple thing, but with my previous job would have been impossible.

I hope you enjoy taking this little journey with me as we pick apart crafting for profit. From finding shows, to set up, to tips you can learn from to grow your business we want everyone to be able to succeed! Here is to ALL of our blessings! Cheers!


  1. Love this post. So honest and what a beautiful story. I started making bows after a divorce and a need to pay for pre-school. Your story is encouraging!


  2. I am really looking forward to this series! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thankyou so much for sharing this series, I don't make bows but I do sew for both fun and profit, the profits are slowing down right now, the bills are piling up and things are getting scarey, I want to stay home and be here for my kids. This series couldn't have come at a better time. Thankyou for taking the time to put it altogether and more importantly to share.

  4. Wow, what an inspiring post! I have enjoyed you're Yahoo group and now the blog. It definitely left me with the feeling of wanting more!
    I look forward to your next post to guide me through this journey to being a newbie of a bow making momma and a new bow making grandma! My last girl is now 23...but I recently got a new girl (my grandchild) to start prepping for being my bow model!

  5. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I look forward to hearing more of it. I am new to hairbow making. I just got my first grand daughter. I would love to be able to sell some bows too. Thanks again, Mary

  6. A very inspiring story! My new venture is starting in about the same manner. A $200 investment, wanting to be a WAHM, and not wanting to miss a MINUTE in my future child's life. It is slowly but surely becoming a decent living and I am seeing a creativity in myself that I never knew was there!

  7. This was incredibly inspiring to me. I am a SAHM because I was fortunate enough to get pregnant with twins and it just made no sense financially to go back to work. I would really love to supplement our income to have the extra luxuries we did before the twins came along and to spoil my only daughter with all the boutique items we love. I just made my first bow this week and stumbled across your blog today. Thank you so much for this inspriring blog!

  8. I've been making hairbows since the '80's but it never occurred to me to sell them until a few months ago when people started asking if they could buy them.

    So I snagged a deal with my daughter's color guard to make 200 bows for their 4th of july fund raiser. I would donate half the profits of the bows to the guard and they would sell them.

    I spent $450 on ribbon. each bow has 5 different types of ribbon and when I dropped them off the woman says, "Oh I don't think we are going to be able to sell them for $10 a piece. I was thinking more like $5."

    I wanted to punch her in the nose. What an idiot. These are handcrafted bows not some machine manufactured bow you can buy at the mall. Even at the mall they cost more than $5.

    I'm considering just taking them back and selling them elsewhere but the only problem is that orange isn't usually a color everyone loves.

    uggg the heartache of business!