Best Friends in South Carolina Start a DIY Business, Bringing Their Beautiful Yarn Creations to New Customers through Craft Fairs and Ecommerce
Rhoda Drummond and Sandie Vaccaro were coworkers and friends who discovered a shared passion for yarn art. While Rhoda made crochet items for friends and family, Sandie knit, mainly for her grandchildren, and she made beautiful wreaths as well. Encouraged by friends and family who received their creations as gifts (and after years of talking!) Rhoda and Sandie finally decided to start selling their designs. With the help of the free online Starting a Business course from My Own Business Institute (MOBI) at Santa Clara University, which Rhoda had found through MOBI partner South Carolina Business One Stop, Rhoda and Sandie founded their business: Drumdandie. (Rhoda and Sandie are pictured here right and left, respectively.)
How it Got Started: Rhoda Drummond learned how to crochet when she was just 12 years old. Her grandmother knitted and sold dish cloths at the flea market each week for “pocket money,” and she introduced Rhoda to crochet. It was something they did together when Rhoda visited her, but it had remained largely in her past. About seven years ago Rhoda asked her best friend Sandie Vaccaro to refresh her memory of the basic crochet skills, and that’s when her true excitement emerged. The lessons of her grandmother from 35 years ago came flooding back along with a newfound passion.
“I was teaching myself new stitches, learning to read patterns, making things I never dreamed I could make,” Rhoda says of that inspiring time. “I found that I enjoy taking a ball of yarn and turning it into something pretty, practical, and useful. I like challenging myself to perfect complicated stitches and patterns, and I am always trying to keep my brain active by learning new things. I find that crocheting makes me feel creative and accomplished as well as providing great stress relief. By focusing on a stitch, pattern, or design, I feel the stress of the day quickly dissipate.”
Their shared passion for creating art from yarn brought Rhoda and Sandie even closer together and ignited the spark for a business idea. Rhoda explains, “Sandie and I talked about going to craft fairs and the like to sell our goods for well over a year. We never did. Until finally we said, ‘why not?’”
Sandie had retired and both friends wanted to earn some extra money. “We made the decision to really do it... create a business together to sell our handmade goods,” Rhoda says. “I was researching what we needed to do to start a real business and that's where I found the information about MOBI on South Carolina Business One Stop. I thought I would check it out because I wanted to make sure I was as informed as I could be so that we could do things right as we established our business.”
How the My Own Business Course(s) Helped: “The entire course was great. Since we planned to create online storefronts, the Ecommerce session was the most relevant to our needs. The Marketing session also gave me insights into ways of attracting customers,” Rhoda shares of her experience with the Starting a Business MOBI course. “Since we wanted to be an official business, learning how to create a business plan helped us make sure we were aligned on what we wanted the business to be. The course gives you a good foundation of knowledge about how to start your own business. I am very happy that I took the time to complete it. I plan to complete the Sales and Marketing Badge Short Course next.”
Rhoda and Sandie have been focusing on local craft fairs or festivals as they’ve been getting their business off the ground. An 11" x 11" crocheted farmhouse style dishcloth has become Rhoda’s signature item, inspired by the dishcloths her grandmother sold. Sandie’s wreaths and baby loveys are also very popular with customers.
In addition to local events, they created a Facebook page, "Uniques by Drumdandie" where they target new customers and showcase their products. They are also in the process of setting up a storefront on Etsy and an ecommerce website with an online catalog for sales. Currently online sales occur by placing an order through messaging or email.
What’s Next: Rhoda and Sandie made the decision to start their business in the summer of 2022. As they look ahead, their main goal for 2023 is to become fully established as Drumdandie, LLC with the appropriate permits and licenses. “I know we can do this because of everything I learned in the MOBI course,” Rhoda says. Rhoda and Sandie also plan to build up their Etsy store and Facebook catalog, and they have set a goal of attending three craft fair events before the end of the year. They also see an exciting opportunity for collaboration in the future. Rhoda shares, “When ecommerce begins to thrive, we plan to reach out to family and friends who are also artisans to offer to carry their goods on our ‘stores.’ Drumdandie can then offer a larger variety of handmade goods to our customers.”