Doll Clothing Patterns, Rural Photographers, Draft Horse Information, and Other Business Startups

A doll clothing patterns designer, rural photographers, and the founders of a draft horse information directory are among the readers who were inspired by MOTHER EARTH NEWS to start businesses of their own.

| January/February 1981

  • 067 businesses startups - photography business
    Friends and neighbors provided the customer base—and word-of-mouth advertising—for rural photographers Nancy and Russ Chorpenning of Ohio.

  • 067 businesses startups - photography business

The following are business startups that readers established after reading articles in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.  

Doll Clothing Patterns

Three years ago I was faced with the need to supplement my income when—at age 48—my total earnings were suddenly cut to $300 a month. I wanted to work at home and, if possible, put my artistic talents to use. So I began to scan MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Bootstrap Businesses feature. Two letters in particular captured my attention. The writers had each managed to establish a thriving sewing enterprise, and reading about their good fortune shifted my imagination into high hear. 

Although I'm not an expert stitcher, I figured that—with my drawing ability—I could comer the market in pattern designs. That was the beginning of "Du-Hickies Patterns by Mail." I knew there were plenty of commercial clothing designs already widely available, but toy pattems, l felt, would be something of a novelty.

I began by creating a number of blueprints for small figures—which I priced at $1.00 per set—as well as designs for larger dolls, animals, and assorted creatures ranging in cost from 50¢ to $1.50 each. Then I invested $100 in paper, ink, envelopes, and a classified ad in a crafts magazine, dragged out an old mimeograph machine that I'd had stored away for years, and before long found myself earning an average of $200 a month. (I've since had a steady 150% increase in business each year.)

Still—despite my success in the pattern trade—I was itching to make use of my ink drawings. Consequently, I drew some sketches of birds and sent them off to be printed on attractive (but inexpensive) notepaper. I now carry mail order stationery—which sells in packages of 12 notes and envelopes for $2.00 a packet, postpaid—in addition to my toy designs. Moreover, my business ventures didn't end with number two. As soon as I caught a glimpse of the story of A. Rosan's newsletter success, I set about putting together a bulletin for bird fanciers. And—though that publication is still largely in the planning stages—I expect to complete its first edition within the next year.

I've lived by the words of opera singer Beverly Sills, who states that every 50-year-old woman should have an exciting new beginning: I am now 51, and—thanks to MOTHER EARTH NEWS—I'm on the threshold of my third fresh start!


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