By Barbara Lyon The Chippewa Herald, Chippewa Falls, Wisc.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) After the birth of her second child, Sherri Yukel wanted to find a way to be a stay-at-home mom and make a little extra money. What started as a hobby making handcrafted gifts in 1999 evolved into a major party planning business which will soon be featured on Amazon.
The Chippewa Herald, Chippewa Falls, Wisc.
Menomonie's own Big Dot of Happiness will be living up to its name in a global way.
The local company with its own big reach will be featured on Amazon's "Small Business Deal of the Day" on Friday, Oct. 5.
Located in the Stout Technology Park, Big Dot of Happiness designs and manufactures unique party supplies and decorations based on the latest trend or season -- such as nine of its top-selling fall and Halloween yard décor that will be available during Friday's deal of the day promotion.
They include themes that range from funny tombstones and cheerful Day of the Dead skulls to spooky ghost shapes and teal-colored "Trick or Trinket" signs pumpkins and welcome signs to mark a household as one offering allergy-free Halloween goodies.
About the 'Big Dot' After the birth of her second child, Sherri Yukel wanted to find a way to be a stay-at-home mom and make a little extra money. What started as a hobby making handcrafted gifts in 1999 evolved into making games and decorations for baby showers that she sold at craft fairs.
When she decided to market her products online, Yukel taught herself how to code, hired some help, and launched an internet business in 2001.
Success followed, especially when she entered the party planning arena. Starting with baby showers and children's birthday parties, the brand's product line has expanded to include adult birthday parties, sports, holidays, and graduations as well as outdoor and yard décor.
In 2004, her husband, Scott, left his engineering job to join "Creator of Dots" Sherri as the business's financial "Connector of Dots."
The grand opening of the company's distinctive, 20,000 square foot blue building took place on July 31, 2008.
Big Dot joined the Amazon International family in 2014, and in 2016 Sherri was only one of 300 invited to Amazon's Women Entrepreneurs Conference.
Over the course of 18 years, the company has grown to more than 60 employees and a large customer base.
"As sales continued to increase, I quickly realized that I was on to something, so we started hiring designers," Yukel said. "When we started to sell on Amazon, we really saw our business take off."
'Prime' partnership A year ago, Big Dot of Happiness announced that it had begun using Fulfillment by Amazon in order to make it eligible for Prime's two-day shipping.
Company founder Sherri Yukel explained, "People often wait until the last minute to plan a party, because of their busy schedules or last minute RSVPs. With two-day shipping, customers can procrastinate and shop party themes closer to the event."
Nearly 100 percent of the company's manufacturing takes place at its headquarters in Menomonie which allows Big Dot of Happiness to design, copyright and begin selling new products on Amazon in three days. And ensures that its catalogue of offerings is always fresh -- and on time.
According to Yukel, "We have a rule of thumb here that the ultimate sin is not getting décor to our customer's event. If our products arrive late, then we miss the party and there's no going back in time. Amazon Prime is so dependable that it's just a perfect fit for us. With Prime, the customer doesn't have to pay extra for fast shipping."
The link for Big Dot's deal of the day is https://www.amazon.com/s/browse?node=18058701011