Stained Glass Business, Knitting Business, and Other Business Startups

This installment of an ongoing feature profiles a stained glass business established by a Michigan reader and a knitting business established by a reader in Greece.

| November/December 1981

  • 072 bootstrap startups - stained glass business
    Randy Plowe displaying one of the creations of his stained glass business.

  • 072 bootstrap startups - stained glass business

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

Stained Glass Business

When my son Randy read Jo Frohbieter Mueller's article, "Stained Glass" (MOTHER NO. 48, page 74), he rapidly developed a keen interest in the art form. Beginning by traveling to a studio 25 miles away for private lessons, he brought home books, equipment, and sheets of stained glass His initial investment was $70, of which $50 went for tools and $20 for glass.

Randy's first effort was a crude but identifiable butterfly given as a Mother's Day gift. Later, his mom's birthday was brightened by a gaily colored glass pattern which now hangs in the laving room window.

Our son was learning by trial and error—and actually breaking more glass than he used—when something happened that changed his hobby into a career. He was invited to teach the art at the local community college. Well, Randy sat down and read all the books he had borrowed but laid aside in his eagerness to get to work. Then he went on to consume every volume on the subject in the public library. Finally, he traveled to a large supply house where experts in the craft gave him additional help and information. After that trip, his glass creations were made more rapidly and became much larger and more beautiful. And they began selling!

Now, Randy's been established in his own studio, "Glass of Past", for nearly a year ... where he creates, sells, and teaches the art he loves. His opening inventory of $2,500 has already increased to $7,000, and he has hired an assistant and has rented space to two other craftspersons. Randy charges $30 to $50 per square foot for his finished pieces and has recently completed an order for $4,000 worth of windows.

Ron Plowe
Ludington, MI

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