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Ann Carden Describes How a $15 Box Started a Thriving Business

From episode: Adapting and Business Strategies with Ann Carden

was this business that started it all? Well, it's probably not anything anyone expect would expect. But there was a little store in town. The craft industry was exploding across the country. This was like in nineteen ninety one and the craft industry was exploding. And I had a box of stuff. I had always been kind of crafty and creative. And I used to use it like when my son was born, I fixed up his nursery and I did cute little things for his nursery. And I was just always very creative like that. And it was a good stress reliever for me. So I loved being that doing those things. And I had this box of stuff. It was probably worth fifteen dollars. And I thought, I wonder if I can make some of this stuff. And there's a little store in town. And I know that she does consignment. You can put things in there. And if she sells them, you you get a she'll take a percentage, but you get the money. So I put together some little crafty things and called her and asked if she would put them in her store. And she said, sure, bring them in. I went in and took him in and she looked at him and she said, I'm not sure these are going to sell, but I will put them in. So after two weeks, nothing sold. So I went back in and I said, tell me what's selling. And she said, these rabbit dolls, these crafty rabbit dolls that people used for decorations. And I thought, oh, my gosh, a rabbit doll. She said, I can't keep them on the shelves. And they were beautiful. They were very pretty. And I thought, I have no idea how to make a rabbit doll. So I went looked at a lot of patterns and just got ideas from all these different places. And I borrowed my mom's sewing machine and I set out to make my own rabbit doll. I made a couple of them, took them into her store and she said, oh, my gosh, these are going to these are going to blow off the shelves. And they did. So long story short, that turned into a global business that I did for seven years. I was able to employ a lot of other moms, which was awesome, because now I got to help out a lot of other families. So they were doing doll parts and sewing dresses and doing all of these things. I did more than rabbits as time went on. But there was a Noah's Ark fabric that came out during that time. And I got the idea I could do a Noah's Ark line. I could do lions and giraffes. And and so I created all my own designs. And before long, they were all numbered and signed. And I had people waiting for the collection. And I remember shipping. I remember the day I got an order from Iceland. It was just it was so cool. They ended up on the cover of an international craft magazine, which they were selected. I couldn't buy the cover. So it turned out to be a really incredible business. And I had stores. I was in stores. They weren't my own stores, but I had space in stores all across the country. Many, many locate many states. And yeah, I was running a manufacturing company out of my home to make a long story short. Unbelievable, unbelievable. And I get it because I remember very my mom started her own business making. Do you remember those big thick blankets that had the pictures all over them with like the fringes? So she made jackets out of those. Oh, yeah. She just needed a little bit more for my age. Yeah. And my aunt at the time was making kilties like for like golf shoes. And so I just I but I love it because you took it to another level and I love it's beautiful that it got to, you know, help employ others. But like, man, what a rush for it to just explode the way that it did. And then you I mean, you've had you've built seven successful businesses. Yes. So I have a media company and then I have my coaching and consulting business. Yes. So yeah, but you know, the thing is, it's so it's so funny, you know, when you're in it, you're just doing the thing, right? You're just trying to make it grow and you're just doing the thing. And and I was just doing what I knew to do. It's like I was putting one step in front of the other. And OK, this is taking off. I'm making more money. How can I do more? And that was just really how I did things. So it wasn't like I now I teach people have a plan, have a strategy. I didn't have that. I just I'm going to do this and I'm going to see the drive. Yeah. But, you know, the interesting thing is and again, that was over 30 something years ago, I was making a six figure income, not revenue, but a six figure income. I mean, it literally it changed our lives.

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