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Children’s Clothing With a Homemade Touch
 
Published Monday, August 28, 2017
by SCOTT MURPHY

Though she’s enjoyed crafting most of her life, Kathy Terry didn’t think about turning her hobby into a  business until she went shopping for baby blankets with her pregnant daughter. When they couldn’t find one that matched the blanket her daughter grew up with, Terry simply made one herself and quickly became the go-to seamstress for her daughter’s circle of first-time mothers. She began to see the business potential of her hobby and decided to launch Brie & Vessie in Westmoreland, an online boutique selling handmade clothing and accessories for babies and toddlers.

First she needed to learn about starting a business. Terry and her husband Mark spent most of their marriage abroad while he served in the military, during which time she taught preschool in Panama and eventually turned to volunteering after her children were born. Now fully retired, Terry turned to local and online business seminars to learn the ropes when it came to launching a company.

In 2010, Terry launched an online store on Etsy and primarily sold baby blankets made from organic cotton, which she says are pesticide-free and more breathable than standard baby blankets. Her product line has grown along with her granddaughter, for whom Terry continues making clothes. Brie & Vessie now offers flannel blankets, reversible dresses, mittens, shorts, bucket hats and other accessories, all which Terry continues to make by hand with a variety of child-themed patterns.

“There’s so much fashion out there for children that makes them look like little adults,” says Terry. “There’s no reason to make a child grow up faster than they have to. I try to make my designs colorful and fun to let them look like children for a little longer.”

Terry has slowly built an international customer base with Brie & Vessie, including purchases from every state and 20 countries. She’s noticed an increase in repeat customers who bought baby items and returned for toddler clothing, and her organic blankets are particularly popular in Silicon Valley and New York. Terry has also grown her brand, creating a seasonal line of flannel scarves this past fall and winter and a new “Playful Giggles” collection featuring tooth fairy pillows.

Last November, Terry launched her own website to ease her use of Etsy, which she says has veered from solely handcrafted goods toward slightly modified products made overseas. For Terry, keeping her Brie & Vessie homegrown is an important aspect of her business.

“This isn’t something I want to grow to a million-dollar business,” says Terry. “I like keeping everything homemade and locally crafted and being able to touch up every piece before it ships.” For more information, visit brieandvessie.com.


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