This article was originally featured in the Newtown Bee September 24th, 2014.
Every local business has a story worth sharing with the community. And that's the belief behind this exciting series we've kicked off at Patch — to shine the spotlight on all our favorite local businesses, and to learn a little about the ones we may not know that well.
Business: Bitty Birdie Design
Owners: Barb Patrick
How did you come up with the name?
I LOVE bird images and wanted a bird in my visual logo. Also, I thought the alliteration of the "B's" worked with "bird" and "Barb"
Why choose that location? Why start a business in this town?
I work from home which has afforded me the opportunity to raise my three wonderful children while finding the time to sew!
Briefly, what business are you in?
I make quilts, pillows, baby quilts & onsies, and memory items (quilts and pillows)
What's the most difficult moment or challenge you've faced as a business owner?
The emotional weight that I feel when I make a memory quilt or pillow is tough. Someone once said that art inhibits the love and energy of the artist making it & that is 100% true for my products. When I cut up the clothing of a loved one gone too soon, I understand the pain of my client and their desire to cuddle up with the comforting blanket. I have experienced a lot of loss in my own life, so I can really relate to these memory quilts, and in fact, have been in awe of how this type of work has "found me" even though I didn't intend for it to be a specialty.
Were there any challenges that made you second guess your decision to be an entrepreneur?
Life is busy. There are often days when sewing seems like another item on the to-do list of managing a home and family. But, the fulfillment that I get from sewing, even for a few minutes, always makes it worthwhile.
What's been your favorite moment or proudest achievement since opening?
I've made a lot of t-shirt quilts in the past two years as graduation gifts for kids leaving high school and heading off to college. Often my client cries when I present the quilt, because I think it really is like "childhood in a blanket". I always cry too because I am so very touched by being able to give them that.
What's the most innovative idea your employees or customers have had that you put into practice?
This doesn't relate to a customer idea, but recently I spoke with Newtown painter extraordinaire, Jim Chillington, about printing his images onto fabric and appliquéing them onto pillows. They went like hotcakes at the Newtown Arts Festival which was really lovely. I love that we two Newtown artists had such a cool collaboration and are now friends.
How do you deal with difficult customers?
My customers are all wonderful. People who desire quilted goodies are the best people on earth....Always kind & sensitive. And really, the only hurdle I find is a client who wants to talk & talk, which I love because they are telling their stories. But it's never a problem.
How does your business give back or get involved in the community?
I often donate baby quilts to charity auctions and I have done so for years.