Tell us about your business.Bluebird Chic has been a labor of love and growth for me over the last couple of years. I started out oh, so tiny with just a few items made from the stash of fabric that I already had on hand. I was hesitant to invest lots of money, because well, honestly, part of me thought that I couldn't succeed. As I had sales in my Etsy shop, I used the funds to purchase more supplies and create different items. As my shop grew, so did my vision for my business. Along the way, I've had the absolute pleasure of contributing two articles to the British magazine Mollie Makes. My products have been featured in Chic Critique magazine, and Click magazine with several others upcoming this Fall. But the very best part for me is hearing my vision for my products echoed back to me in feedback from my customers without ever having to state it anywhere. I always strive to create products that reflect a love of a beautiful, uncluttered, chic look, but are sturdy and functional for the everyday.
What makes your business stand out?As my business has grown over the last couple of years, I've remained committed to my ideal of supporting handmade. I want the growth of my company to be something that will benefit other skilled artisans - particularly women who may find themselves in situations where it's difficult to work regular hours. I'm committed to paying a viable "living wage" to my contract workers because part of the joy of success for me is the ability to give opportunity to others, as well. I still hand pick every single fabric combination, design, and test every single item that I introduce to the shop.
What's the best business advice you've received?Building a business is hard work. It's not just about having a great product, or fabulous photos, or an excellent source for unique supplies. In order to be successful as a business many things have to come together. The best advice I ever received was to make sure that in everything you set out to do as a business, always be uniquely you. And brand your business in a way that fully represents you as a person. When you're making sure to be yourself, the best opportunities to promote and further your business will have a way of becoming apparent. Avoid going out of your way to pursue "great opportunities" that don't fit with your brand - they often end up not working out the way you thought they would! Success may take longer, but the lessons you learn along the way are necessary for your growth and development. And your success will be based on the true you!
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.See the finalists
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now