Entrepreneurs Craft Inventory With Own Hands

By Lindsey Adkison
The Brunswick News, Ga.

Barbara Kindle has always been crafty. In fact, the Brunswick resident decided to factor that into her career when she was choosing what to major in at college.

Kindle chose fashion design.

“I worked in the ladies apparel industry in Miami,” she said. “I started a swimwear company there for three or four years. But then I got pregnant with twins, so that was the end of it.”

The family moved to the Golden Isles roughly eight years ago, and once her children got a little older, Kindle decided it was time to find another outlet for her creativity.

While she wasn’t looking to get back into the fashion industry, she was hoping to incorporate her love of color, fabric and fashion. She also decided to incorporate her newly found passion for yoga.

“I decided to make yoga mat bags. They come in a bunch of fun patterns and are completely reversible. They have a pocket, a little key ring for your keys or your water bottle and an adjustable strap. It can adjust to any size mat,” she said.

“I used a little sandbag for the flap so it will stay down but it’s fun to do … I fell in love with yoga so it just made sense. I also make infinity scarves with all sorts of fun fabrics. It was just something nice and flexible to do.”

Of course, making her own inventory comes with challenges. One of the biggest for her is finding colorful fabrics. That is especially significant since once a customer purchases a bag with a particular pattern, she doesn’t make another, which allows the customer to have an unique bag.

“Everything is unique unless I’m sending it off somewhere else. But I do custom bags so if someone from somewhere else goes to our website,, and orders a bag I will duplicate,” she said.

“But finding good, interesting fabrics has been a challenge. Getting the word out has been another challenge,” she said. “But I’ve been able to put them out at a lot of places. I sell them on Sea Island, at the Club, OMCORE, and I do the show at the Sea Island Market.”

Like Kindle, Mary and Larry Grabill’s business is also fueled by their creativity. The couple owns The Workshop off U.S. 17 in Brunswick, where they sell handcrafted wood pieces made by Larry and paintings by Mary.

“We do general wood crafts and art — Mary paints the pictures and I do the wood craft,” he said. “I don’t do many actual cabinets.

“We do some real neat, rustic picture frames and coffee tables. And I do a lot of custom work. We love it. We’re just naturally creative people and it’s great to look back and say ‘yes, I created that.'”

Of course, as with Kindle, promoting the business is one of the greatest challenges. Though the couple’s gallery, workshop and sawmill is located in plain view — complete with a 50-foot Noah’s Ark replica out front — reeling in passersby can be tricky.

“It is a little tough getting the word out … even though we have an ark and my big dolphin out front,” Larry Grabill said with a laugh.

Like the others, Scott Bachman has found rewards and challenges when it comes to his business.

Bachman started making lamps while working in Atlanta.

“I applied for a warehouse job at an import/export furniture accessory company called Hilda Flack Accessories. They had several models of crystal lamps to be assembled and they trained me to (make lamps). I’ve always been good at assembly and disassembly of things so that worked out good for both of us,” he said.

“Later I moved to Raleigh, N.C., and became head technician at a full-service lamp shop. I worked on custom lamps, restorations, repairs and anything to do with lamp work.”

Bachman, who also serves as a drummer for several local bands, crafts his unique lights on the side.

“I would say the biggest business challenge is reaching the right clientele,” he said. “My lamps are a little more expensive to make. People can go to a dollar store and buy a $6 lamp,” he said.

“It takes a client that wants something different and that will blend and enhance their decor. Some of my lamps have a strong novelty factor in the way they look, light up or are turned on.”

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