In Katie Clark’s world, spare bedrooms become craft rooms, not offices.
Raised by a quilter and seamstress of a mother and a creative, “Martha Stewart type” of an older sister, Clark’s childhood was spent scrapbooking, making earrings and quilting.
Her confidence that she can tackle any craft project as long as she has a sewing machine, a glue gun, and glitter led her to take a longstanding glimmer of an idea and turn it into a small business –My Little Shindig.
“I had been thinking about launching a side hustle for a while, but with a full-time job and two young kids, I didn’t necessarily have the drive to do it,” Clark said.
“Now that the kids are a bit more independent and I teach three days a week at Vichy Elementary School, I had the time to seriously consider starting My Little Shindig.”
Before officially launching her business, Clark had been creating personalized items for her built-in customer base as a teacher, the school staff and parents of students.
Every custom hair bow, T-shirts, wine bag, and pair of earrings she created received the same feedback from her customers.
“People kept telling me, ‘You could sell this on Etsy!’” said Clark. “But I used to be embarrassed by the fact that I was so crafty. Now I’ve embraced it. This is my joy.”
My Little Shindig launched in the fall of 2019 with Elf Cheer Boxes for the holiday season.
Clark created the flagship Elf Cheer Box product to ease the pressure to keep up with the Elf on the Shelf tradition.
For those without elves in their homes, the elf is a scout from the North Pole meant to keep an eye on the children to ensure they are on their best behavior for Santa Claus.
Children are meant to wake up every morning to find the elf has “magically” appeared in a new location.
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The rise of elf postings on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, can lead to a lot of elf/family peer pressure. Multiply that by 25 days.
My Little Shindig’s Elf Cheer Boxes packaged six different planned elf scenes with all of the accessories included to make it easy for the elf to rearrange himself/herself overnight.
One kit included a tic-tac-toe board complete with elf-sized x’s and o’s. Another featured a teddy bear, blanket, and a tiny glass jar filled with sprinkles from the elf pharmacy to complete an elf sick day tableau.
Clark sold the Elf Cheer Boxes at craft fairs around the Napa Valley as well as in her Etsy shop online. The success of the product was the push she needed to keep moving forward with My Little Shindig.
The other motivating factor for Clark is joy. That energizes her work and drives the mission behind her business, she said.
“My goal is to use my love of crafting and creating to help parents celebrate life’s shindigs with a little less stress and a lot more joy ... and glitter!” said Clark.
To Clark, shindigs are more than just milestones like birthdays, graduations and holidays.
“It’s the little things too, like your kids waking up on a December morning to find their elf doing something wild or finding the perfect sparkly bow to match with a child’s favorite sparkly dress.”
Parents in pursuit of the perfect hair bow will be interested in what comes next for My Little Shindig. Clark launched a line of hair accessories, including bows, clips, scrunchies, and headbands, for babies, children and adults early this month.
The new line ranges from $4 for individual pieces to $45 for bundled sets. All of the products are available on mylittleshindig.com.
Clark has a vision for My Little Shindig’s next offering – birthday party kits.
A trial run in January had Clark flexing her craft muscles at a space-themed party where she created craft stations for kids to make space terrariums, element necklaces and painted canvas tote bags.
As Clark has learned, owning and operating a small business takes patience in a world where everyone wants instant gratification. For now, she is comfortable creating one product or product line at a time.
“I’m lucky,” she said. “I love teaching. I love coming home to my family. I love crafting and working on projects as a small business. I feel like I’m living the American dream right now.”
You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or email@example.com
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