Designer of the Week - Picture Perfect HairBows
This week get to know Carla Smith of Picture Perfect Hair Bows.
She lives in Augusta, Georgia. with her inspiration, daughter Katie, who is 7.
JM: Carla, when did your interest in bow-making start?
CARLA: My interest in making hair accessories actually started by accident. I listed some of Katie’s hair bows that she had outgrown on Ebay. The requests for more literally poured in over night. I didn’t have a supplier who could keep up with the demand so I decided that I could make them myself.
JM: How did you learn?
CARLA:I learned through trial and error by taking store bought bows apart and using them as examples. When my business began there was no such thing as an instruction book or list of ribbon suppliers. In fact, there were only one or two other bow makers on Ebay at the time. It is hard to imagine , I know, because the market for matching hair accessories has really taken off in the last two or three years.
JM: When did you start selling your designs on eBay and do you sell anywhere else besides eBay?
CARLA:Oh goodness, I think it was the end of 2003 when I first began listing the bows on Ebay. I still list on Ebay, as time permits, but the majority of my sales come from our website at www.pictureperfecthairbows.com . My company also makes private label accessories for clothing designers large and small who want something unique to match their clothing lines.
JM: Do you remember the first item you sold on eBay?
CARLA:Oh yes, I remember that first item! I will never forget it. It was a froggy hair bow that sold for $16.50. It was purchased by Lark Johnson for Sophie. It was the first time that I became aware that there was a “boutique” market on Ebay and I was scared to death as I packaged that first bow for shipping. I held my breath for days until I received feedback from the auction. At the time, Lark was just another mom on Ebay. We were all starting out together. I owe a lot to Lark and Sophie for promoting my products over the years. It is fun to go back and look at those first pictures of Sophie. She was only 21 months old in this picture and believe it or not, the froggy bow remains one of my best sellers!
JM: Where did come up with your name?
CARLA:For me, naming my business was easy, I simply let a friend choose it! My friend, Bobbi Gearhart, who owns Princess Picklehead Apparel, suggested the name because of all of the pictures that I had of customers wearing our products. It was a great suggestion and I ran with it.
JM: Do you belong to any boutique group?
CARLA: No, I do not belong to any of the boutique design groups. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working for many of the groups to provide matching accessories. I made the decision early on to remain independent in order to preserve the working relationships that I had with everyone. Simply put, there were just too many great groups to join just one!
JM: What are your favorite materials to work with?
CARLA: My favorite ribbon to work with is grosgrain ribbon. It is durable and lends itself well to creating character bows.
JM: If you could learn some new skills, what would they be?
CARLA: I would have to say that developing marketing skills are at the top of my priority list. They are important to me because it is so expensive to hire a professional marketing team to promote a business. My marketing ability is limited and everything that I do is all trial and error. This is very time consuming. However, I have a lot more time than I do money !
JM: Can you tell us about your first job? How much did you earn?
CARLA: Oh wow, my first job was so boring I had almost forgotten about it! In my family, we were discouraged from going to work until after we had graduated high school so I did not have a job until my first year of college. I was a file clerk for an insurance company. Pretty much the only thing I remember about it was fighting to stay awake. I am sure that all I made was minimum wage but have no idea how much it was at the time.
The only thing that I can say for sure is that some things never change. By the time I end each day I am still fighting to stay awake! Only these days it is my energetic 7 year old that wears me out.
JM: What other things do you enjoy besides making great bows?
CARLA: Besides making bows, I enjoy spending time with my family and reading. I am a book-a-holic ! Summer months are our favorite and we spend as much time at the beach as possible.
Do you have a question that you are dying to ask Carla? Comment about something she said or designed? Post it here and she will answer it!
Leave a comment:
diy hair bows | Monday, July 12, 2010 5:44 PM | flag
Mom of two girly girls | Saturday, March 25, 2006 8:00 PM | flag
This article is AWESOME! I am on my way to check out this website. I LOVE how bows can totally make an outfit and these look like they are very well made. The frogs are precious! I have never seen anything like that before......... WHHOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Can't wait to check out the site! THANKS!
Gerri | Saturday, March 25, 2006 4:30 PM | flag
I am so glad to see Carla here, her bows ROCK! They are so durable!! My daughter was one of her first customers and we still buy from her for my daughter and even for gifts!!Everywhere we go everyone always compliments us on her bows and every bow I have ever given as a gift has gotten rave reviews for its style and durabilty. Picture Perfect Hairbows are the best!
Melissa | Friday, March 24, 2006 11:34 AM | flag
Carla is such a fantastic lady!! Her bows are AWESOME and she takes her business very seriously and works very hard at it! You can't go wrong w/ Carla! She's fantastic with shipping as well :)
Carla | Thursday, March 23, 2006 10:55 PM | flag
Kristi, I would definately be interested in discussing this further with you! Please email me direct at email@example.com at your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you! :}
Kristi Tolman | Thursday, March 23, 2006 10:03 PM | flag
I am a very experienced, recently retired Fortune 500 VP of Marketing who is now at home with her twin daughters. I would be happy to trade marketing services for bows! :)
Carla | Thursday, March 23, 2006 8:34 PM | flag
Thank you! No, I no longer make all of the bows myself. There is no way that I could physically keep up with the demand. We employ local, work at home moms to make the majority of our bows.
| Tuesday, March 21, 2006 5:09 PM | flag
I have always love your store and your bows. I recently read that you participated in The Hollywood Baby Fair and I was wondering if you still make all the hairbows by yourself or do you have people working for you?