Michelle Dowell Launches Ruffles, Ribbons & Bows

The future of small business growth has a feminine face, according to an online 2010 article, Women Business Owners to Lead the Nation in Job Creation at Small Biz Trends. These findings came from The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute which “shows that by 2018 women entrepreneurs will be responsible for creating between 5 million and 5.5 million new jobs nationwide.”  Numerous factors are contributing to the trend, including higher college graduation rates among women and self-fianancing versus a reliance on banks. 

Michelle Dowell
Owner, Ruffles, Ribbons and Bows

Michelle Dowell, the charismatic 31-year-old founder of the recently launched Ruffles, Ribbons & Bows, is well on her way to joining those millions of other women; pulling the nation’s economy along, one stylish accesory at a time. This  conversation with her is one in a series with women on the move, making change happen whether through entreprenuership or excelling in their chosen field. 

Tell us about yourself, and the birth of Ruffles, Ribbons & Bows?

I’m a 31-year-old former stay-at-home mom (now a work-from-home mom) of a three year-old beautiful (and extremely rambunctious) little boy and four precious (but insane) cats. My hubby and I will be celebrating 6 years of nuptial bliss this year, and he is one of my biggest fans. In my spare time (when I’m not crafting), you’ll find me going to art festivals with the family, attending play-dates, volunteering with my church’s children’s ministry, or feeding/spaying/neutering homeless and feral cat colonies around town.

I am an avid reader of all things vintage or interesting. I collect vintage and country cottage trinkets of yesteryear, and enjoy the theatre, classic films, international cuisine, and learning languages. Although being a full-time mom has awesome benefits, financial success is not one of them. Wanting to be financially independent and do something I love, I started looking into working from home. I’ve tried a multi-level marketing business, which wasn’t really getting me a steady income.

My best friend suggested that I try my hand at doing something that I am passionate about and the next day, God gave me the idea to go back to my first love: sewing. I had no idea then, what I’d eventually decide to make. Now I’m crafting daily, making pretty pieces for babies, kids, and even adults! I make headbands, hair clips, baby and toddler hats adorned with hand-made embellished flowers and bows.

Ruffles, Ribbons & Bows has something for everyone, from baby headbands, to hair clips for little girls, to headbands or clips for women! I call my creations “hair candy” because they are so sweet, its like candy for your hair! Starting this company has been an unexpected Blessing, and I’m extremely happy with the possibilities of future success.

When was it founded, and where is the company based? 
Ruffles, Ribbons & Bows is literally just a baby company. We’re still in diapers! 🙂 I founded it in February 2011, and it is based out of Frisco, TX. Humble beginnings have me crafting from home, but who knows what the future might hold? A spot on QVC? A store in McKinney, TX’s historic district? My motto is: We shall see.
Is there a particular aesthetic philosophy that you adhere to when creating the work?
There is actually, and it pretty much stems from the
faith-based belief of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I not only put lots of love into each piece that I hand-craft, but I add a dose of perfection as well. After I’m finished a piece, I inspect it carefully and think: “Is this something that I would love if I were buying it? Is it of high quality and well-made?” Some of my creations are extremely involved, and once or twice, a bow or flower does not come out as perfectly as I would like it to. Do I ignore an unraveling ribbon or a bit of glue that can be seen? No, way. It will be set aside and remain unsold. I would never sell something that I myself wouldn’t buy.

How long does it take to make one piece?
The length of the process depends on the piece that I am creating. Flowers are fashioned petal by petal, so they take about 10 minutes. I tend to really embellish my bows, especially the ‘Loopy-loop’ bows and they can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes a piece.

What’s the price range and why?
Being in the early stages of business, the prices aren’t set in stone yet. As of now, the factors that go into pricing are the labor, materials, the fact that they are hand-created and handcrafted, and how elaborate a piece is. Current pricing ranges between $6-$15 per piece. I strive to keep my creations super-cute but also super-affordable!

What kind of pieces can folks expect for spring and summer?
I love this time of year, so I am really getting inspiration from the colors of spring. Blooming crape myrtle trees really get my color juices flowing! Be on the lookout for bright & festive colors like baby or hot pink, fuchsia, lavender, lime green, citrus orange, lemony-yellow, and cherry red. If it screams warm weather and new beginnings, you’ll see that color in my line of “hair candy”. I am also considering adding matching baby onesies or girls tank tops in the summer.

Where can we find/ buy them?

Currently I am constructing my Etsy page, so in the future, my products will be available for sale both nationally and internationally. In the meantime, I’d welcome any prospective customers! If anyone is interested in a headband or clip that is featured on my Facebook page, I can be contacted through email at Rufflesribbonsandbows@yahoo.com or via inbox on Facebook or Twitter.

What is the best way to stay current with your plans for the co., as well as see new pieces? Well, since we are still in the works, our soon-to-come Etsy page is under construction, but I do have a Twitter page (http://twitter.com/#!/rufflesnribbonswhich I update daily with news on tentative grand opening dates, new “hair candy” creations that I’ve posted on my FB page, free ‘follower’ giveaways, and when I will be selling at craft fairs, or in the area passing out flyers.

In addition to accessories, are there plans, eventually, to expand the line to also include handbags?
I do plan to expand my line to include things other than hair accessories, such as: vintage country cottage throw pillows {for the home}, frilly baby bedding sets, ruffle and jewel bedecked baby bibs, little girls dresses and/or outfits, and fabric-covered ultra-girly Travel wipes containers. I’m also considering making very glam and super cute picture frames for little girls and boys, and way down the road, diaper bags. As my company progresses, I’ll add or subtract ideas from that list, but for now, that’s the plan. J

What advice do you have for other aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Well, for me, the basis for everything I do is my faith. God comes first and my family is everything to me, so that is what inspires me and encourages me to push forward, live louder, walk braver, and never let a closed door stop another from opening. There will always be a plan B, and I believe that with God’s help, nothing is unattainable. So my advice is whatever fuels you and motivates you, use it to be the catalyst for taking the necessary steps to fulfill your dreams. If we can be great wives, moms, friends, daughters, sisters’…we can be great businesswomen! All it takes is a leap of faith. Dream big and then run with it, never stopping, even when you are out of breath. 🙂

More amazing pieces from Ruffles, Ribbons & Bows!
For info, contact Michelle via email @ Rufflesribbonsandbows@yahoo.com or via inbox
at Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/cheldowell) or Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/rufflesnribbons).

Emelda De Coteau
Follow Me:

One Reply to “Michelle Dowell Launches Ruffles, Ribbons & Bows”

Leave a Reply