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East Brainerd’s Ortiz makes custom bows, outfits

Melanie Ortiz, an East Brainerd mother of four daughters, was a connoisseur of hair bows before she began making her own three years ago. Now an established hair bow, clippie and outfit maker with sales in all 50 states and eight countries around the world, Ortiz calls her line the Little Darling Bow Shop and no longer has to guess about the quality of what she buys for her girls.

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Darling Little Bow Shop owner Melanie Ortiz showcases one of her “over the top” outfits. Ortiz, who has a wide variety of styles and designs she regularly makes, said she also does custom orders and can help a client come up with a completely unique product based on a certain fabric or ribbon.

“I stand behind the quality of my work,” she said. “All of my bows are hand-sewn and most little girls won’t be able to destroy them.”

Ortiz said her daughters, who range in age from 1 to 7 years old, have been a huge help with modeling, offering advice and testing which bows are practical for everyday wear or work better for family portraits.

“My 7-year-old will tell me if she thinks a design isn’t quite right,” Ortiz said. “I make the kind of bows I would want them to wear and can test which ones will work better in thick or fine hair.”

She said the thing that sets her products apart the most is the quality of each piece and the fact that customers get what they see online.

“What I hear from people a lot is that when they order online, what comes in the mail isn’t what they were expecting,” Ortiz said. “My goal is that when I send someone something, it will look exactly like it did in the picture.”

From basic bows and headbands to cartoon-inspired, monogrammed and over-the-top headwear, Ortiz said her products can be made to match almost any outfit.

“I’ve got a huge ribbon selection,” she said. “I have a lot of clients who will send me a picture of an outfit and request a bow to match.”

Recently, Ortiz said, her “over the top” outfits that include a bow, customized shirt or onesie, tutu and leg warmers have been very popular along with the flip-flops she has trademarked as “bows for her toes.”

“I love working with bright colors and getting to send off pretty things,” she said.

With an average two-week or less turnaround time, Ortiz said it’s best to order early; holiday bows and birthday outfits have been hugely popular. She is currently gearing up for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas products.

“I’m really expecting orders to pick up in September,” she said. “In addition to holiday orders, my goal is that by the end of the year to expand and offer more boys’ options. I’m planning to have a section of the shop just for boys.”

To buy Darling Little Bow Shop products in person visit Little Presh Baby Boutique at 7550 East Brainerd Road, or visit Ortiz’s online store at www.darlinglittlebowshop.etsy.com. Ortiz said she also regularly updates the shop’s Facebook page to include information about ordering, coupons and new products. Visit the page at www.facebook.com/darlingdesignstn.

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