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Plum Papaya

American Made Since 2013

Tessa Bowers

South Riding, Virginia
I am a stay at home mom that creates Creatures, Critters, & Quilts for my small business, Plum Papaya. I enjoy using unique snuggly materials.
Crafts, Toys

Tell us about your business.

I started out sewing as a quilter when a family member bought me a hand quilting class approximately 14 years ago & have loved it ever since. The new hobby came during a time in my life when I needed it the most. Very unexpectedly my father passed a way at a young age of 45 and quilting became a part of my healing process. When our daughter was born it was important for us as a family for me to stay home with her and so for that to happen and for me to continue my expensive fabric habits, I developed Plum Papaya. A craft business of all things that I love. The name Plum Papaya comes from my family’s love of Hawaii. I wanted a name that reflected that love & was memorable to others. Hawaii brings smiles and peace to us and I hope to bring a little of that in each of my creations. I love to work with soft & snuggly materials such as cotton velour and organic bamboo velour. Making unique creations using materials that have been dyed by another WAHM makes me a happy creator.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

Currently my work space is the dining room. Don't get me wrong I have a sewing room, but unfortunately it is directly next door to my daughters room. And the only thing that seems to wake her up faster, is the sewing machine. Also the sewing room is the hotest room in the house. A hot room leads to grumpy fabrics and mistakes. So for now the dining room works well. Fabrics are organized by types in bins, along with other miscellaneous materials. It houses my sewing machine (my little Bernina) and all the materials I need to create one of a kind goodies.

What inspires you?

My daughter is my main motivation, she loves soft and snuggly. Now I see creatures and critters I think to myself, I can make that. Hmm how can I make it my way? Colors inspire me too. Gorgeous sunsets, color palettes, photography of trees, landscapes, sea life.

What makes your business stand out?

The materials I choose to use. In the beginning when I was learning I created with anti-pill fleece, because it is easy. Now that I am much more comfortable for the most part all I use are cotton velours and organic bamboo velours. The bamboo is my favorite, so soft and silky. I enjoy using materials that have been hand dyed by another WAHM that make for truly stunning and unique creations. I'm not afraid to combine colors and textures making colorful and happy creatures and critters for children and adults of all ages.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Create a name for your self. Hire someone to design your logo, choose a name that is easy to spell, easy to remember, and unique. Learn your target market and gear towards them. Social Media is your friend, use them, learn them, find sources that make using them easier and less time consuming. Don't forget why you are creating. And if you loose your way, take a break and then go back.

What does American Made mean to you?

American made to me is buying and supporting hand made. Supporting small businesses and putting the money back into our economy. I don't love buying from large company's, it happens because sometimes it's cheaper. Cheaper being the key word here. Hand made is all about quality and know that someone actually made that item because the wanted to and it's what they love to do. I want to know that the hand made item was created by a person and not a machine.
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