High Frequency Marketing
PR & Media Relations in Spanish - Website positioning


It's great to delve into an interesting hobby such as artwork,

photography, or crafting paper jewelry. It's even more exciting

(and financially rewarding) to turn your special talents into a

successful home-based business. That's exactly what Mary Maturi

of Cleveland Ohio, Leslie Croyle of Bay Village, Ohio, and

Marlene Stephenson of Virginia, Minnesota, did. Each turned her

hobby into a cash-generating business complete with paying

customers and a bank account.

These aren't isolated stories. Men and women across the country

are joining the ranks of entrepreneurs converting hobbies into

money-paying propositions. It's important to note that none of

these women originally planned to start a business. On the

contrary, interest by others in their hobbies convinced them to

sell their work.


Mary Maturi markets a line of "Killer Whale" petroglyph

tee-shirts, sweat shirts, and note cards both in Alaskan gift

shops and in natural history museums in the lower forty-eight


It all started when Mary and her family spent a year living in

Wrangell, a small town located on Wrangell Island in southeast

Alaska. One day Mary ventured down to Petroglyph Beach on the

island. Petroglyphs are ancient rock carvings left by an unknown

people. Using rice paper and different colored ferns, Mary

"rubbed" the petroglyphs to capture their images on paper. When

others saw her rubbings, they offered to buy them.

"Peoples interest really surprised me, so I thought of other ways

to share the uniqueness of the petroglyphs with out having to

deal with their awkward size (some were several feet in length).

That's how the "Killer Whale" notecards were born," Mary says.

Using her rubbings as a guide, she created smaller scale pen and

ink drawings which she took to a printer to get price quotes for

paper, printing and envelopes."

The major cost of printing is making the plates. Therefore, it's

wise to get price quotes for different runs of 1,000," says

Mary. For example, a run of 3,000 cards might cost around 10

cents per card while a run of 6,000 note cards could drop that

per unit cost below 8 cents per card. That decreases your card

cost by more than 20 percent - quite a savings.  Mary also

recommends getting bids from several suppliers or even splitting

up the order.

While printers know how to price their printing competitively,

they don't make their own envelopes. Mary uses the least costly

printer that can deliver the quality of paper stock she desires,

but buys her envelopes from a warehouse specialist at a savings

of nearly 35 percent from prices quoted by printers and other

envelope suppliers. It pays to let your fingers do the walking

and get competitive quotes.

Once Mary obtained the cost estimates, she visited several gift

stores and museums to gather pricing information on competing

notecards. She also talked to store owners and museum managers

to determine their interest in ordering. After all, it would

make no sense to have the notecards printed unless buyers would

purchase at prices that can generate a profit.


Leslie Croyle converted her love of photography and knack for

framing into a full-fledged photo decorating business.

Leslie and two friends offered for sale enlarged photos of

popular Cleveland events such as the start of the

Revco-Cleveland Marathon & 10K, and a spectacular shot of the

United Way Kickoff's release of thousands of colored balloons in

Public Square.

"We hired several photographers to cover the events and used the

best photographs of the bunch," say Leslie. Advertisements for

photo promotion proved popular. The trio sold 600 photos at

prices ranging from $8 to $10 a piece, gathering a bit less than

$5,400 in revenues. Not bad for the first venture.

Unfortunately, the combined costs of ads, fees for the

photographers ate up the $5,400 and more. "Although we ended up

with a loss, it gave us a lot of market exposure and a proven

track record," says Leslie.

Next, Leslie and her friends put together a portfolio of

photographs and contacted local businesses. This marketing move

landed them a job of photo decorating PJ McIntyre's Restaurant

in a Cleveland shopping center. "We tied in the nostalgia theme of

the restaurant by contacting area historical societies and

arranging to have their vintage photographs copied.  It's

important to make sure you have the right to reuse the prints.

Ask for proper releases and permission to use whatever photos

you have copied," advises Leslie.

She stresses the importance of networking industry contacts. A

decorating firm they worked with on one project led to

additional work when that firm recommended Leslie and her

partners to some of their other clients.

Since 1987, the photo decorating business has progressed well

since its initial unprofitable photo event ventures. Major

projects include photo decorating the guest rooms and suites for

the historic Glidden House, which has been made into a unique

bed and breakfast, and an all-sports photo motif for the Grand

Slam Bar & Restaurant in the refurbished Cleveland Flats night

spot area.

"From our humble beginnings, we're now getting into some pretty

good sized jobs," says Leslie. "Just keep bumbling along - don't

give up."


Marlene Stephenson makes her money tearing paper. Actually, her

unique sculptured jewelry draws rave reviews wherever she wears

it. In fact, people routinely ask to buy her unique designs

right off her dress when she appears at public functions.

Marlene is a medical technician by trade, and her paper profits

grew out of a coffee get-together group of friends that met once

a week to try their hands at new craft ideas. One day one of the

ladies brought a book on making paper jewelry. "I just fell in

love with it and made a pin and some earrings to wear to a

business meeting. Lots of the women at the meeting asked me to

make some for them also," says Marlene.

As with any fashion item, Marlene pays attention to color

schemes and design. Even though she makes several copies of

different designs, each is unique in color, shading, size, and

even texture. Marlene crafts her one-a-kind jewelry to match her

customers special outfits.

"With any small business, it's important to link up with other

small businesses," stresses Marlene. For example, her local

hairdresser lets Marlene display her paper jewelry at her shop.

Local gift stores either buy the pins and earrings outright or

take them on consignment, which means they pay for the items

after they sell. Marlene also teamed up with several other artists to

display their work at trade shows.

"Try to tailor your product to the particular market. With the

loon as the state bird of Minnesota, my loon pins always do well

at local craft shows," she says. Likewise, when Marlene sent

samples of her pins to trade show in Anchorage, Alaska, she made

some new designs to capture the wilds of Alaska, These pins

included a polar bear, Alaska wild flowers, whales, and fish.

What ever your own hobby pursuits, you  may be over looking an

opportunity to turn personal interests into money-making

enterprises. Investigate the possibilities, calculate the costs,

analyze the market, and move forward with your plan of action.

Take your lead from these three women who have turned hobbies

into profits.


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