Wednesday, December 19, 2012
When her daughter was growing up, Soddy-Daisy resident Robin Peterson wanted her to have outfits different from what the other girls had, so she taught herself to sew.
“I put rhinestones on everything she had, and everyone would say, ‘Oh, how cute!’” said Peterson, who began creating replicas of her daughter’s outfits from home about 21 years ago.
She started selling her handmade items on Etsy under the name O’ How Cute! while also working a full-time job as a Realtor. The owner of Realty Gallery Signature, Peterson said she always wanted O’ How Cute! to be a brick-and-mortar store, and the opportunity arose last July when she moved back to her hometown of Soddy-Daisy to care for her grandmother.
She moved Realty Gallery Signature from Chattanooga to Soddy-Daisy, and about a month ago she opened O’ How Cute! in the adjoining space.
“I had been thinking about it for a long time, and I always wanted a location for both businesses,” said Peterson, adding that she gets plenty of traffic at her location on Thrasher Pike. “I love creating; it used to be my outlet for [escaping] the stress of real estate.”
She said her biggest sellers at the moment are birthday sets, which include a onesie, tutu and custom birthday hat in the birthday girl’s chosen party theme, such as Barbie or Hello Kitty. Peterson said all she needs is a party invitation to create an outfit to match, and clients can also add matching accessories such as socks, bows or bloomers.
“It’s all boutique quality and made from scratch,” said Peterson, who also offers denim sets for girls, matching shirts for boys and custom pet clothing she calls Bella’s Closet for your Posh Pouch. “It’s something nowhere else offers.”
She said her only advertising thus far has been through Facebook.
“My customers are putting my photographs out there and telling all their friends,” said Peterson, who ships orders all over the country within five to seven days, and has also shipped to far-flung locales from the Netherlands to Brazil.
Also popular are her pillowcase dresses, which she makes using her own pattern. She said a woman from another town contacted her about franchising the business just to get her pattern.
“We have great little stocking stuffers that are inexpensive,” said Peterson, referring to unique accessories at the shop, which include everything from bracelets made with the pages of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” to scarves hand-knitted by her daughter.
Peterson’s mother and stepfather also sell their handmade crafts at the shop, including “happy hour lights” crafted by illuminating the insides of old liquor bottles.
O’ How Cute! also offers monogrammed baby gifts such as matching bib and burp cloth sets, perfect for baby showers.