Support Small Business at Its Best - Free Babes Handmade, Holiday Market New and Featured Artisan,
Hillary Denham, of Free Babes Handmade, designs adorable, classic hair bows for her free spirited babes and yours! This is also an incredible business that's creating opportunities and connecting communities throughout America and beyond.
FF: Why did you begin your handmade journey?
FBH: I started making bows at my kitchen table when my second daughter was born, three years ago. I had previously worked with my husband at the carpet cleaning business we had started together, and my heart yearned for more creativity in my daily life. I was also transitioning to be a stay at home mom, and wanted something that felt like it was truly “mine” when making this transition from full-time working mom to stay at home mom.
FF: How did you begin your handmade journey?
FBH: As I mentioned, I started making bows during nap time at my home. Once I officially left my husband and my first business a year later, I knew I was going to need to really market and grow the business. I found my first contract seamstress and once I discovered how much time was freed up through outsourcing, I found a shipping helper and customer service contractor. In the early stages it was key that I focused on my strengths - creating a community on social media - and the business took off.
FF: What lead you to your current line of goods?
FBH: I love to shop US-made products - or products made in other parts of the world under fair-trade conditions with empowering stories. My two daughters’ wardrobes are mostly made up of sustainably produced, US-made dresses. Our bow styles are simplistic and classic, so that they pair well with this aesthetic. I didn’t want anything frilly and fussy, so we created bows that pair perfectly with little girls running through the mountains.
FF: What materials do you work with & why?
FBH: In the early stages, I would find fabric as local fabric stores like Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s and my absolute favorite, Fancy Tiger. As I started to grow, I discovered Liberty of London fabric, which is some of the highest quality cotton lawn you can find. We honed in on a specific line of quilting couture cottons for our solid staples and Liberty of London florals for our sailor bow styles. We now also source from New York and LA’s garment district to find holiday velvets or unique collaboration fabric.
FF: What inspires your work?
FBH: My daughters are my inspiration. When they were born, I wanted to parent in a way that would inspire their natural personality and passions to be nurtured. The quote that inspired my parenting, and my company, is “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman. Our bows are simplistic enough to compliment little free spirits’ natural beauty.
FF: What excites you for the future?
FBH: My family is prepping for a 12-month world trip, which is in line with our over-arching brand for Free Babes: raising adventure-loving and passionate kids. I’m also so excited about some collaborations coming in 2017. Collaborations with other influencers, bloggers and shops is my favorite part of this business.
FF: Any advice for makers and biz entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
FBH: My biggest piece of advice is to take action and create those things you wish existed. I created a blog last year, www.imlikebrave.com, where I interview other creative entrepreneurs about their biggest failures, learning lessons and magic sauce. It’s been such a huge contributor to my success in this space, because I have made great friendships and created a network within our community. I also created a Facebook group, “Creative Entrepreneur Collective” where we can all come together to help each other out and brainstorm solutions to common problems. Feel free to join our community!
FF: If you have a strong partnership with a non-profit org, what is it and what inspired you to do this?
FBH: I’m so excited about our Haitian-produced line coming soon. I’ve flown to Haiti twice in the past 6 months, and joined the board of “World of God,” a non-profit in Charlotte, NC. The organization helps to provide US-sponsored funding for local Haitian children in the village of Bayonnais, Haiti to go to school. I’ve started training 8 women in the community to make velvet ribbon bows, so that we can help boost the economy and provide opportunity for the women to earn a living in a reputable way. My visits to Haiti have been life-changing, and I can’t wait to introduce the collection.
FF: Anything else you'd like to tell us?
FBH: This company is my dream come true. I was asked the question a few years ago after attending a personal growth and development seminar - what would you do if money wasn’t an issue, and you were guaranteed not to fail - and from that created a life where I could do something creative and find a way to fund travel and adventure for my family. I never expected this success from selling bows, but it is so fun! It makes my heart smile to see this community of free spirited children all over the world who ascribe to Free Babes’ focus on raising brave girls. And seeing cute pictures of babies all day long isn’t bad either. :)
Shop and visit with Hillary of Free Babes Handmade at Firefly Handmade Holiday Market, December 10 - 11, 10am - 4pm both days, Twenty Ninth Street shopping district , 1710 29th St., Boulder, CO.
Photo credit: outdoor photos: @simplysuzys on instagram, Simply Suzy Photography; ballet photos: @candidlycreated on instagram - Francisco Estevez Photography