With a smart concept and a lot of hard work, Amy Frank of Mindfully Made Studios has built a solid handmade business. Here’s how she did it.
ABI: How did you develop the original concept for your collection?
AF: I’ve been sewing and selling work for some time, but Mindfully Made Studios was born shortly after I had our youngest daughter. I had 4 children under five years old, and was overwhelmed. I wanted something to remind me of how lucky – how blessed – I was. I made my first Blessing Band© – a bright fabric bracelet with a focus word or mantra on the interior and a related “secret” passage on the interior related to the focus word. I wanted to notice it, and be positively reminded all day long.
Friends took note and asked me to create personalized bands for them. Soon, I began selling them online and in a few local stores. When I recognized I had an audience, I knew I had to develop a cohesive collection if I wanted to sell to stores on a larger scale. I created a set of twelve adult bands in different fabrics, each with a different word and related phrase. I also provided the option of using secular/inspirational phrases or Christian (biblical) phrases.
Later, I added a Blessing Band collection for children and yoga mat carriers. We are in the process of adding camera straps and lanyards as well. With each new product, I try to create a beautiful, functional item with a specific, positive intention.
ABI: What is your new market strategy?
AF: Lately, we’ve noticed that the Bands are particularly meaningful for women and children dealing with sickness, difficulty, or grief. For that reason, we plan to expand our outreach to hospital and health center gift shops in the coming year.
ABI: Tell us about the collaborative project you have started with other artists.
AF: I recently opened a beautiful new collective studio in Central Pennsylvania called The Makery. I use this space for Mindfully Made Studios production during the day, and I teach sewing lessons to children and adults at The Makery about once a week. On the nights I don’t teach, several other local artists pay a fee to use the space for their own classes and events. The result is a robust, eclectic, creative touchpoint for our community’s artists and artisans.
I think The Makery is a great example of how artist/entrepreneurs can devise out-of-the-box ways to fund better studio or gallery space by working collaboratively.