I'm always interested in hearing about how small businesses get started as everyone has a unique journey. Here's ours:
In 2008, I made a baby sling for myself (Lori) and my sister (Sandra). We went to our local playgroup and other moms started asking if we could make slings for them too. After making a handful of slings we saw a post for a local used toy and clothing sale and figured we could scrape together $25 for a table and sell carriers along with some leftover baby gear we were ready to part with. Our first event was so exciting. We showed up early armed with a measuring tape, order form and 5 fabric samples. The Sling Sisters was born.
*One of our later craft sales when we had some stock.
After a few months of taking orders and sewing we decided to try buying some fabric and having carriers in stock to purchase. I will never forget the day we went to our local fabric store and came out with $100 worth of fabric! Neither of us had any extra room in our families’ budgets at the time so this felt like a big gamble.
After awhile, we decided to start making wet bags. To be honest, we almost discontinued our wet bags in that first year. We figured people wouldn’t really care what their wet bag looked like after all it was just for throwing dirty diapers in, right? Wrong. They didn’t sell. One day we took another risk and started buying ‘fancy’ designer prints just to see what would happen.
We soon started getting interest from a few local retailers to carry our products. **Quick shout out to Tiny Treehugger who is now our oldest retailer!** Shortly after, we began making reusable snack bags. This was one of the first sets we made way back in the day:
Our retailers loved them and were quick to place their orders. This was one of our first wholesale orders (spread out on my kitchen table). It was for 60 bags and it felt like it took FOREVER to complete:
Fast forward 10 years (GASP) and our business has grown. We re-branded and are now known as Colibri. Our business provides employment for each of us as well as a number of employees and contract sewers.
*our original work space in the spare room in Lori's basement. How times have changed!
Stay tuned for our next post about how our business looks now.