Name of Business: Bison Booties
Hometown: I grew up in Santa Rosa, CA, but have happily called Bismarck/Mandan home for the past 11 years.
Education: I have a Bachelors Degree in Business Communications from the University of Mary and a Masters Degree in Management, also from the University of Mary
Business Type (partnership, sole proprietorship, etc.): sole proprietorship
How did you get started?: After my daughter was born in April 2010, I was a new stay-at-home mom and had plans to be a freelance graphic artist. While I was busy coordinating my new freelance business, my hobby Bison Booties business took off.
It all started when I made my newborn daughter a pair of baby booties and quickly discovered they were a great product not available anywhere else. The booties stayed on my daughter’s busy feet, were machine washable and were lined with cuddly faux sherpa that she loved to wiggle her toes into. I perfected the design, and opened a shop on etsy.com selling the Bison Booties. Within a few months the online shop had numerous sales and generated a wholesale inquiry. Today, 20 months later, Bison Booties are sold in eight specialty retail shops across the USA and in Australia. I also sell Bison Booties at a few local craft/art shows during the year. Bison Booties are a Pride of Dakota product and I handcraft each pair in my home studio in rural Mandan, ND.
I’ve had great success online, selling to over 17 foreign countries and Bison Booties has over 2,100 Facebook fans.
What you do on a typical day: I get my husband Corey out the door to work, and then my toddler, Kya, and I have breakfast. After breakfast, I get the previous day’s orders packaged and then Kya and I take them out to the mailbox – wagon ride time! We usually have a fun morning activity – her favorite is finger paining. Sometimes I get some sewing time in, or a chance to respond to e-mails. Then we have lunch, and Kya takes a nap — and I get to work. My schedule will vary day-to-day with business tasks and/or making Bison Booties, including: cutting fabric, sewing, ironing, filling wholesale orders, restocking/maintaining my online store, responding to e-mails, and buying supplies online. As Kya wakes up from her nap, I try to finish off the loose ends for the day, and think about what I’ll be cooking for dinner. In the evenings, after Kya goes to sleep for the night, my husband and I relax at home together. I usually keep busy with an evening ‘dining room table project’ like putting Bison Booties labels on the retail boxes, or cutting a new batch of Bison Booties. Then it’s off to bed.
Successes (best part): The best part of this business is that it has allowed me to spend the day at home with my daughter. I am so blessed.
Challenges: Keeping up with demand. And when Kya occasionally boycotts nap time – it throws my schedule out the window.
Advice for other YPs: Follow your passion and have fun with it. Also, get involved within the network – you will meet many amazing people. (My husband and I first met at the Papa’s Pumpkin Patch YP event in 2006).