Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Baby Burp Cloths and Bibs and Beauty, Oh MY!

I have enjoyed running my little baby accessories company Trulaaluu for about 5 years now. Recently, I worked on delivery of burp cloths and bibs using vintage quilt toppers for a favorite store in town that carries my line. Working with such beautiful and old materials makes my heart swell every time. And guys, this stuff isn't that hard. It is really the kind of DIY work that just about anyone can do.

This first step is pretty unglamorous. I pull out all of my patterns and cut away at beautiful material. The novelty wears off after about 20 minutes of cutting and piecing. That's some herbal tea there in the center. It helped :).

The lovely vintage quilt toppers get pinned to cotton chenille fabric. It finally becomes this:

I've been making these for years. My mom helped me develop the pattern almost 10 years ago and I haven't strayed from it. I love the chenille border on the burp cloths and the blankets that I make and I love the size of the bibs. Thanks mom - you did a good job with this pattern!

I find my cotton prints all over the place. If you have been a visitor on this blog for more than five minutes you know that I am drawn to vibrant colors. I do not believe that baby products need to subscribe to the typical pink and blue ONLY. Kids are so much more interesting with their little personalities and proclivities that their products should reflect that! I source my prints from thrift stores, estate sales, vintage sellers on ebay, interesting sheets or old table cloths and occasionally my local Joann's. I always buy my chenille at Joanns. I take advantage of their 40%-50% off coupons that come around every few weeks which keeps my costs a bit lower.

I started making baby accessories when my oldest daughter was a newborn and for the first four years I was going gangbusters. I sold to 50 different retailers, both online and brick and mortar shops. I had retailers in the United Kingdom, Australia, Iceland, Canada and all over the U.S. And then I got totally burnt out. I didn't love what I was doing anymore. I never had a day off; taking vacations was so stressful because I was constantly making and shipping orders. At the time I had two small children and I always felt like I was being pulled in a million different directions. When it came time to start our adoption process of our younger two from Ethiopia, I pulled the plug. I stepped away for two full years.

Gradually I came back but in a MUCH smaller capacity. I thought about retaining a factory and scaling my whole operation much larger. After a lot of soul searching I decided that didn't feel right. Instead I decided to work with 5 shops, all local here in the Bay Area. I make what I want when I want. This direction has worked for me for several years and makes me happy.

 Here are a few of my products featured at one of our local stores. I love walking in and seeing how things I made have been staged!

Have you ever started a small business that got to become too big for you? What did you do?

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