A Gift Becomes a Business

We’re highlighting small businesses from around the country as nominated by you, our readers. If your favorite small business is using Twitter to communicate with customers, let us know about it @fbsmallbiz with the hashtag #mysbc, and it may be featured as an upcoming Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Spotlight: Homemade by Hilani

Who: Hilani Ellis, @HandmadebyHilan

What: Hand-sewn items

When: February 2010

Where: Denver, Co.

How: Hilani Ellis, a former personal assistant to Dr. Laura Schlessinger, received from the radio personality a sewing machine that became the start of her own business after working in corporate America.

A neighbor helped Ellis get starting sewing and she immediately picked up the hobby. Ellis began making items such as wallets and giving them as gifts. She now sells her expanding list of homemade items to customers around Colorado and the country through her website.

“I try to sell to customers who use things every day,” Ellis said. “I make products that people actually use on a daily basis.”

Ellis said a top seller is her coupon organizer, which was designed to attach to a shopping cart handle. Not only do customers like the design of the organizer, Ellis added, but they save money by using it.

Quote from the owner: “I love the connections I make with customers. I enjoy making relationships along the way, and the relationships I build are right up there with being crafty.”