Garden Critters from Rainy Day Creations

Here's the story of Rainy Day Creations, a handicrafts company that sells garden-themed refrigerator magnets the founders call "Garden Critters."

| January/February 1983

  • Rainy Day Creations - display board of assembled Garden Critters
    An assortment of finished Garden Critters from Rainy Day Creations.
    Photo by MOTHER EARTH NEWS Staff
  • Rainy Day Creations - cartoon
    The hazard of too many refrigerator magnets.
  • Rainy Day Creations - Garden Critters kit
    The contents of a Garden Critters kit.

  • Rainy Day Creations - display board of assembled Garden Critters
  • Rainy Day Creations - cartoon
  • Rainy Day Creations - Garden Critters kit

It's no secret that times are economically "tough all over," especially in some selected industries (housing construction, for instance) and the areas of the United States (such as the lumber-producing Pacific Northwest) that serve them. And Darla Holden and Pam Parmenter, two young Eugene, Oregon housewives, understand these facts even better than most for a number of reasons:

First, they live right in the middle of the region hardest hit by the current building slump. Second, their husbands are both new-construction house painters who quite obviously have nothing to paint when no homes are being built. Third, because they've always operated as independent contractors, Darla's and Pam's spouses weren't even eligible for unemployment benefits when their work ran out. Fourth, the two women find it difficult to seek outside employment on their own at this time, since they have three small children between them to look after. And fifth, one of those children, a one-year-old, was born with birth defects that have already cost Pam and her husband more than $15,000 to correct.

It's not surprising, then, that Darla and her husband have already lost their comfortable home through no real fault of their own, and Pam and her spouse have so far barely managed to hold on to theirs.

What is surprising in this age of whining and demands that "someone should take care of me" is the way in which Pam and Darla are bootstrapping themselves out of their current predicament. Very simply, the two plucky women have rolled up their sleeves and founded a tiny company, Rainy Day Creations, that packages "Garden Critters" — kits for the do-it-yourself handicraft market.

The first RDC "line" is a series of 12 refrigerator magnets (you know, the little gizmos you use to stick notes, memos, clippings, coupons, etc. on a refrigerator or a metal bulletin board).

Unlike the plastic, mass-produced, rather sterile refrigerator magnets sold in variety stores, however, RDC's "vegetable people" have real character: The onion cries a tear ... the bean sports a navy cap ... the potato looks at the world with four eyes ... three peas nestle in a pod ... and all the little faces are bright and cheery.

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