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All About The Buttons

American Made Since 2006
2014 Wildcard Finalist

Barbra La Bosco

Greer, South Carolina
Most makers and the everyday person, can use a tape measure. It's a great gift,especially when you don't know what to buy. Functional & fun!
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Tell us about your business.

I have been a knitter and crocheter since I was a child and sold my work on and off throughout my college years and teaching career. Upon retirement in 2002 I was able to devote more time & space to my eclectic craft resume. The internet also provided a way to sell items online & I started there in 2006. I sold my fiber goods as well as clocks, barrettes & other goodies covered in buttons. In 2012, a light bulb moment occurred when I pulled my dingy tape measure from my purse in a store. Cover it! Decorate it! I am always looking for new ways to embellish items with buttons & this practical item fit the bill. Loving ribbon & fabric as well, this was a perfect item to add to my inventory. It has been very popular & I have had 2 features in national magazines. They have been sold & gifted all over the world and I have yet to tire of making them as I approach the thousand sale mark. As long as there are new fabrics, ribbons and buttons, more tape measures will be made.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

In 2002, my husband and I moved from New York to South Carolina to be near family. Our new home had a bonus room above the garage that makes a perfect studio and storage area for completed projects and supplies. It is wonderful to get off the kitchen table and have a designated space. I call it the "Not For Public Viewing" room as it can get rather messy at times. Within a few steps I have shelves, crates, jars and drawers to hold all the materials I need whether it's yarn for knitting or plates for my clocks. My husband fashioned a table with a large plank of wood over 2 cabinets that serves as my workspace perfectly. Upon the wall are small crates holding jars and jars and jars of buttons! It is a comfortable space and it often inspires me as I search for a new ribbon or different button. All my tools are really within arms reach and I can be there for hours.

What inspires you?

I come from a creative family and my loved ones creations inspire me. We just can't not create! My father was a leather designer and my mother was a master seamstress and knitter. My brother was the first person I knew of to use old computer motherboards to make functioning clocks. A nephew is a photographer....I was surrounded by talent. In my everyday world, the materials inspire me-a button may inspire a scarf or a plate will often inspire a clock. I love to reuse and upcycle when I can as seen in my CD clocks. Lately fabrics will inspire a new tape measure and I'm always on the lookout for new pieces. I am also inspired by the creative internet world which has broadened my knowledge and left me in awe of the talent I see. Special orders are very inspiring as my customers have had some great ideas.

What makes your business stand out?

I offer a great product, expertly crafted and reasonably priced. I look upon each item, whether it's a scarf or a tape measure or a button pin as a gift for someone. If I wouldn't use it or wear it, I'm not selling it to you. I provide excellent customer service, as my feedback attests to. A "thank you" e-mail is sent immediately and I always enclose a hand written thank you note. I am thankful! Each purchase is sent with care and thought and partially wrapped as a gift. I have frequently been told my packaging was a great joy even before it was opened to reveal the purchase. Providing a well crafted product along with A+ customer service is 2nd nature to me and I believe it shows.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Follow your dream. Do some research to see if there are any products similar to yours. If there are, find a way to make yours stand out and go for it. If you are a creator, there will be no stopping you but be prepared to listen and work hard. Especially if at first you choose to sell online, know that if you post something for sale, it is rare to be found without hard work marketing and promoting yourself. Then you may reap the rewards. Again, go for it!

What does American Made mean to you?

When I see an item hand made or manufactured in the United States, I am greatly encouraged to purchase knowing the heart put into handmade items. It is a wonderful feeling to support my fellow makers. I know the thrill and excitement of making a sale and to many, that purchase from me can be crucial. Through the internet, I have made many friends in the US and we have shared stories. I have come to learn more about a way of life that must include creativity for so many. American Made means supporting other makers, finding new ones and hoping to make a slight difference in their lives. It may be giving the thrill of a sale, the confirmation of their talent and the fruit of their hard labor but that's what it's all about. I am a local-loyal person. When a huge outlet center was built near my home it started to negatively impact the local merchants. I still shopped local first. American Made, is shopping local and to me, that's all of the United States.

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    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.

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