Maternity leave turned into a Million dollar idea.


My life was changing fast and I wanted to shape it, not let it define me. I was fresh off the wild ride of wedding, new house and baby all in the same year.  I had a goal for myself, to make a company that made $30,000/year before I was 30.  I was inspired by my husband who had a goal to pay off our $17,000 worth of debt in a year and he did.  I'm extremely competitive and if he can do 17, I can do 30, right? I was on maternity leave it was going to be challenging to do.   I didn't have plan, just a goal. You have to start somewhere. 

I was home indulging in reality TV, Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, when it hit me.  I saw a girl on the show, whose name happened to be the same as mine so it got my attention.  Heather wore a hair flower on a couple of episodes.  I thought it was cute and my creative mind wandered to the wedding decorations that I had in my basement, and my first hair flower was born. It was a hot mess.  I remember trying to make flowers with different types of clips and using different methods.  I think the first few flowers I made were wired together on a snap clip and stuck off your head like Cindy LouWho. They were terrible.

I was feeling like I needed to contribute financially to our household.  Being home on maternity leave I just spent and never earned.  I had some guilt about that.  I thought of the months before the wedding that we sold on eBay to make extra for our big day. So we made a listing for the red rose hair clip that I just made with my wedding decorations. I priced it super low and in record time it sold.  There were more flowers in the basement, so I made and sold those too.  I had almost sold out of my wedding decorations and was going to move on to some antiques next, maybe some hand painted items as I was nearly out of wedding decorations.  I received a message from a buyer that was looking for 30 flowers for a bachelorette party. I was THRILLED!! But I didn't have that many flowers anymore.  So off to the store I went. I found a similar flower, took a photo and sold her the order. Upon payment I ran back the store and bought the rest of the flowers and got to work. I changed the way I made them this time and it worked much better. I will never forget how grateful I was for that order. I love weddings and as a new bride I was feeling this order. I hand painted her a shot glass with a pin up girl wearing a hair flower. I deemed it appropriate for a bachelorette party and mailed it along with the flowers. 

When I saw that I was selling out of flowers faster than I could make them I was inspired.  If my red rose listing did this well I was willing to guess other flowers would sell too. And so it began.  I had some profit left from the bachelorette order and I went back to the store and purchased one of each of 5 or 6 different flowers. I had eBay fees to pay and didn't want to go out of pocket. The point was to be making money, not spending more.  After I photographed the flowers I actually RETURNED all the flowers back to the store. I wrote listings to sell them and prayed this was going to work.  

Before I knew it I had orders flooding in. The people were loving my new flower choices. I triumphantly went back to the store and repurchased the flowers, a few new ones and more material to continue making these beautiful hair accessories.  And my business was born.

I got serious about this idea that was just coming together so quickly and easily.  Sooner than later my computer programmer husband made me a website. Tax time came and it was a day of reckoning. I had to get real about this  business and take a good hard look at my profits and expenses.  That first year of Hairflowers brought in just over $29,000. A few dollars short of the $30K goal I had set for myself, I considered that a win!  I had not intended on becoming a hair accessories designer, but I couldn't be happier that I did.

That was 10 years ago. We have since long passed our million dollar mark. I even went to a Bret Michaels show, got on the tour bus and took some pictures with him. Thankful the whole time for the inspiration. 

 

 

 

 


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