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It all starts back in 1997. I had a devoted mother who was working her tail off at a minimum wage retail job while my brother and I were at school. The place she worked was called “The Silver Spur,” and they sold western-ware. I can still vividly remember the way her hair smelled like leather boots when she picked me up from my grandma’s house after work. She was also the leader of my brother’s 4-H club and had a home cooked meal on the table every night at 5 pm sharp. My dad would leave for work at the local power plant at 5
That brings us to the summer of ’97, Memorial Day weekend. We were camping at our usual Memorial Day weekend campground (North Bend State Park – we still go here every year!), and pursuing the local newspaper for yard sales. An ad in the classifieds caught their eye: Business for Sale. A local trophy and award shop was packing up shop and selling everything off in one lump package. We came home and cleared out our basement to make room for my mom’s new venture, and never looked back!
We started out making trophies and plaques for local sports teams, and I volunteered my services for what I felt was a fair $1 a week (I had just learned that there were 52 weeks in a year, so I had my eyes on the prize of $52 in 12 months). A couple years later, my parents attended an awards trade show in Cincinnati and came home with a new contraption: a vinyl cutter! We were going to start making t-shirts! I still have the first shirt my mom ever made me, which was the second one to come off the press.
Those first few years were a mixed bag. Usually, everything went as expected. My mom saved every penny she made in the shop and eventually had enough to buy us a pool, fulfilling her biggest dream since she was a child. She would often brag that she had never had a late order. That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten the dark days, though. I remember an order for plaques that were delayed and didn’t come in
I also remember vinyl that didn’t work the way it was supposed to. It wasn’t but a year or two after we added the vinyl cutter that t-shirts became our main source of income. I followed the sounds of sobs more than a few times to find my mother hunched over the heat press, past her breaking point of frustration. Usually, everything went exactly as expected, but sometimes, it just didn’t. She would do everything exactly how she had done it every time before, but the vinyl wouldn’t adhere. We would call the manufacturer, and sometimes they would treat her like she was an imbecile. One time, in particular, a whole roll of vinyl was just absolute garbage. She called and called and fought with the company, but they stuck to their guns. She got on a t-shirt forum to voice her frustrations there, and learned she wasn’t the only one having this problem with that vinyl! A representative from the company messaged her and told her they had identified a defect in that batch. She was vindicated, and I learned another important lesson about customer service.
I started selling vinyl because I knew I could do it better. I know where you are coming from, and I have been where you are. I know what it’s like to have done something 1,000 times and to have it work completely different on try 1,001. I know what it’s like when you have a huge deadline, and the company that sold you the materials doesn’t care. I also know that someone has to be the first one to report a defect. Vinyl companies would like to think that they are perfect, and we absolutely stand behind our product. However, I also recognize that things can go wrong. I believe it’s how we handle those things that go wrong that set us apart.
My mom passed away November 18th, 2015. We sold her business, just as she had wanted. She recognized that I was passionate about Happy Crafters, and my cousin took over M.R. Trophies (now Blue and Gold Graphics, check them out on Facebook!). I will never forget what she taught me about being a small business owner, and how customers should be treated. That doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes from time to time, but I encourage you to reach out to us, and I will treat each and every one of you how I wanted my mother to be treated those long nights over the heat press.
So that’s a little bit about me and how I got here! I can’t do it alone anymore, there are far too many of you out there in craft land these days. So, here are the ladies that help make the rest of it possible:
Hi guys! I’m Chelsea. I am the Craft Conductor here at Happy Crafters. So, what does that mean? It’s basically a fancy way of saying that I’m in charge of making sure you guys get to see all the awesome stuff that we are designing and creating here and I love it. I ended up in the craft world as a happy accident.
I’ve always been a creative person. I’ve been involved in photography since I was a freshman in high school. After high school, I took an editing position at a photography studio. That wasn’t enough though, so I took a customer service position that introduced me to the world of vinyl and the Silhouette Cameo®. From then on, I knew I wanted to be more involved with craft vinyl and cutters. With Happy Crafters opening in my new hometown, it was the perfect chance to become more involved in the vinyl world.
Outside of my time here at Happy Crafters, I’m a wedding photographer, a dog mom to my two fur children, and a wife. I spend most of my time outside of work on home projects, editing photos, or playing softball.
Hi everyone! I’m Elisha, Happy Crafters’ graphic designer!
I love making things, either on the computer or with my hands. You can almost always catch me doodling something in my sketchbook or reading a comic book. Growing up I helped my dad sell his woodworks at craft shows meaning that crafts sort of run in my blood. I also endured a fair amount of x-
I think creativity makes the world a much better place to live, so what are you doing still reading this bio? Get out there and make something!
I grew up in Blacksburg, Virginia and have always been a creative person, starting when I got kicked out of elementary school for coloring on the floor. After that strong start to my education, I pursued the creative outlet of competitive dance where I excelled at the national level. Part of my experience with dance is that I always enjoyed as both a student and teacher was costume design and creation, because of the challenge of creating a visual aesthetic that complimented the physical performance. I continued my formal education at Virginia Tech where I received my bachelor’s degree in interior design in 2013. After working in the world of interior design for 3 years in Charlotte, NC, the loft apartment I lived in and designed was featured in Charlotte Home and Garden magazine for the summer 2016 issue. I am thrilled to be a part of the Happy Crafters team so I can continue to grow and diversify my experience and knowledge in this creativity-driven business.
Hey Everyone! I am Gretchen. I am the Craft Concierge. That means I am the lucky girl who gets to talk to you when you text, email, call or come visit us in the store! I love meeting you all and hearing about all the cool projects you are making.
I love making things myself and I am learning so many neat things since I started working here and have been introduced to the vinyl world. I have been married to my hot husband for a long time. We have three fabulous kiddos, four great hunting dogs, and one beautiful bulldog! I love planning parties and events and working in my flower gardens. Ribbon, balloons, confetti and cotton candy are a few of my favorite things!
Hi Guys!! I’m Maggie, I am a Craft Concierge here at Happy Crafters.
Growing up I was always making things or thinking of ideas on how to make things better. I decided to take my creativity to the next level by attending West Virginia University in May 2017 and majoring in advertising. After graduating, I wasn’t quite ready to leave the mountains I have called home all my life and that is when I found my way to Happy Crafters.
I spend most of my time outside of work with my wonderfully crazy pup named Cooper. I also enjoy being really lazy and just watching tv and looking at Pinterest for projects, I probably won’t ever complete!
Hey guys, I’m Abbie and I’m the Craft Curator here at Happy Crafters. I’m not sure that anyone knows what that actually means, but all in all, my work days have one sole purpose- making sure that each and every one of you is a Happy Crafter!
I got started in the world of vinyl when I took a customer service position for a company that specialized in larger format vinyl and vinyl cutters. I knew that there was a lot of potential for a crafty twist on vinyl, but didn’t realize that it was already a “thing”. Since joining the Happy Crafters team, I have seen so many awesome examples of what you crafters can really do. I couldn’t be happier that my job is to make sure you love our vinyl and everything that we stand for!