Friday, May 13, 2016

Pin Bowl Chronicles


This is me. Taken last summer. This has been my office attire for the last 15 months or so. 

And although I've had mostly a blast with this crazy pin bowl business of mine...
I'm a little giddy that I don't have to sweat to death in this suit and face mask anymore! 
The office attire is a changin for me. 

I have an announcement to make today and seriously it's the best news! A little secret I've had to keep for a while and can't wait to share!


In 2009 I painted my first pin bowl. These are some of my first bowls listed in my etsy shop in 2009. {PS I don't claim to have invented the polka dot. But I do claim to be the first maker of polka dot magnetic pin bowls} 

Every so often I'd paint a few and list them in my shop. 

Then in the fall of 2014 one of my bowls appeared on IG - that was the catalyst for pin bowls going viral 

In December 2014 I took my first group of pre orders and had to stop at 300. That was one crazy busy Holiday season for me


Soon after those first pre-orders I decided to take a leap and I listed over 200 bowls in my Etsy shop. They sold out in less than 3 minutes! That's pretty much when I realized that other people liked my pin bowls as much as I did. 

So I set up shop in our garage and started painting my little heart out. 

It was fun and not so fun. I was ruining everything in our garage. Even with plastic and tarps everywhere. Overspray is Evil. 

Bowls in my etsy shop were "jumping out of carts" and buyers were not so happy with me. That was really hard. I was painting as much and as fast as I could. And although it was such a blessing to be selling bowls. It was also very disheartening. 

So I had son #3 build a website for pin bowls. Cart jumping problem solved! 


Cart jumping problem solved. 

But I really needed to step up my game. In order to do that, I needed more space and a better painting situation. 

I spent most of the summer in the thick of wedding preparations painting under a canopy on the back porch. But with fall weather coming, I knew I couldn't do that much longer. 

So in August I started renting a glorified storage unit. 

I also enlisted the help of my friends and family with a packaging/shipping crew & "Dotters" {did you know each dot is hand painted and the Dotters actually had to pass a dotting test } 

the space worked out perfectly! And the help of friends and family allowed me to paint bowls all day and production increased


Last summer and fall I worked 6 days a week often from 4:30 am-11:00 pm and still couldn't keep up.

In October it appeared that my source for bowls had changed the manufacturer/vendor of the bowls. Finding good supply became a huge issue. {I have purchased 95% of the bowls from our local Harbor Freight. The guys and gals are great at our local store and have been so supportive! They know my husband and I by our first names and have my husbands cell number memorized} 

But, just when things were going really well...
{at this point we had sold over 3,000 bowls!}...

the roof at our space started leaking and leaking and order to find good bowls I was driving to as many Harbor Freights as I could....on the phone way too many hours with their corporate offices... eye problems from the over-spray....and getting behind in production at my busiest time of year. 

I was completely stressed out.... I had to do something....


I had to do something... 

I knew I didn't have what was necessary to grow this business into its full potential. {money, knowledge, time} and if I didn't do something - someone else would. 

There were Ruler Pals too. They take an enormous amount of time to make. 

Cut. Sand. Prime. Sand. Paint. Sand. Paint. 

They were gaining in popularity, and somehow I needed to up my production on those too. 

I did a lot of research and googling trying to figure out what I could and wanted to do, where my business was concerned. 

I was extremely grateful for the business. It helped us financially and in so many other ways. But I was missing other things I loved working on. 

I knew I didn't have what it took to run a full time 14 hour a day 7 days a week business of my own like this. It was too much. 

So after much Research. Praying. Reading. Praying. And talking to my family.  I decided to contact someone that had a lot more experience than I. A meeting was set up and.......


This happened! 

I'm thrilled to announce that I've partnered up with Riley Blake Designs! 

AND you won't have to worry about pin bowls and ruler pals jumping out of carts anymore! Or wondering if you'll finally snag a bowl from one of my sales. Or wishing it didn't cost so much to ship to Australia! 

I get to do what I love most - putting my ideas into designs. And Riley Blake will be taking care of the manufacturing and distributing of bowls and pals. 

Retailers will be able to pre-order bowls and pals next week at International Quilt Market! Shipping in August. 

Did I mention that I'm just thrilled!? I have always been a fan of Riley Blake Designs and feel like this is a perfect fit for me. They've been a pleasure to work with, and I'm grateful for their experience and all that I'm learning from them. 

And can't wait to show you the newest pin bowl design that we'll introduce at market! You're going to love it!

And I couldn't end the condensed version of this chapter of my pin bowl story without thanking a few people. 

My husband for cutting wood, Harbor Freight runs, Home Depot runs, building, moving, dinner-less nights and more. Especially encouraging me when I wanted to quit. 

My oldest for introducing me to that 1st magnetic parts bowl 7 years ago! 

My other two boys for computer help, design advice and more. 

My sister and niece and their mad dotting skills. 

My little brother for bugging me to go on Shark Tank which gave me the idea to partner up. 

My other brother for listening to me on the phone, while I sat on the garage floor sobbing, the day paint went bad on 60+ bowls - just before they were finished. 

My friends for helping on a moments notice. 

And for all of YOU! Thank you for the sales and supporting a handmade business. Thank you for your kind words yesterday and always. For all of your encouragement and support of my crazy pin bowl business! 

It's been a wild but fun ride and I can't wait for this newest chapter!


Nicole said...

Thanks for creating these beautiful bowls. I had no idea the personal costs. So glad you found a partner, and such a great one at that!

stitchinpenny said...

Congratulations on making such a wonderful alliance. As I was reading about your trials, I admired your perseverance (or was it insanity the two are so close). I have to admit that I would have quit much earlier. Good luck and I really want to see the new design.

Patti Kilcullen said...

Congratulations, you are the embodiment of the American dream! You came up with a great idea, and now it is going global. You go girl! Patti K.

Joyce Carter said...

Congratulations Jodi. I am so happy that you were able to partner with Riley Black. It sounds like you are going on an awesome adventure. I hope everything goes well for you.

Deonn said...

Whew, finally!!! So happy for you, Jodi! I am so glad that you've partnered with RBD - they're the best, and you are in good hands. Also, can't wait to get several of these in my hands to color coordinate with each of my 5 sewing/quilting stations. See you at Quilt Market!

Little Quiltsong said...

Thank you for sharing Jodi! Nobody realizes the behind scenes - just the finished product. Congratulations on this new chapter with Riley Blake - I am sooooo happy for you!

Hildy said...

That's such great news! I'm happy for you and for me because now I have the chance to finally have one of your bowls! So congrats to all of us:-)

liz said...

Congratulations on your success and the great partnership, which seems to be totally sanity saving at this point!

Susan said...

Sounds great for you and Riley Blake and us too! I was not lucky enough to purchase a cute bowl, but maybe now I will be. Congrats to you all (and your family too)!

Helen L said...

Wow!! what a whirlwind adventure!! No wonder we haven't heard from in in a long while!! So glad you have partnered with RB so you can get your life back: some of it sounds like it was not too fun!! Congrats on such a wonderful opportunity: kind of the American dream: you make something everyone wants, but then you have to work hard too!! :-) Hugs, H in Healdsburg

Tamie said...

So excited for you. Congratulations!

Amy DeCesare said...

So glad you have shared your success story and the journey that you survived to make this happen! What a great way to start the next chapter. Now I know I can have one of those cute bowls someday too!

Julie said...

How exciting !!!! So glad everything is working out for you :)

Needled Mom said...

That is awesome, Jodi. I am so happy for you and glad that you will get your life back.

AnneMarie said...

What a story Jodi! congratulations - that is so awesome! Sounds like you will get to do what you really love and enjoy now. Best! AnneMarie

farmhousequilter8 said...

Thanks for letting us know the good news. I hope now you can post more cause i love your blog. Good luck with the new venture. Paula in KY

Patti said...

Congratulations and good luck! This is awesome news!

Kelly O. said...

oh Jodi!!! I am soooooo excited for you!! we need to catch up soon!!!

KaHolly said...

You are an inspiration! said...

Congrats Jodi!! That is great news :) Can't wait to see what you do next!

Dondi Murdock said...

This is what happens when you have a great product that is just so very cute! I keep looking on your blog to see when they are available. NEVER. Sorry about shouting. Now there is hope for me. Yippee! I can get a magnetic pin bowl. You can have a normal life again and maybe sew and quilt and grocery shop and wash clothes and cook dinner and shop for fabric and do all sorts of things. Congratulations!


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