CABOT With a full-time job in Little Rock and plenty of after-school commitments for her son, Peyton, 8, Andrea Beedle has been putting in lots of evening hours to get her new business off the ground.
When it opens in early June, her paint-your-own pottery store, Fired Up Cabot, will join a growing number of craft-oriented businesses owned by Cabot-area mothers.
In 2011, stay-at-home mom Amy Belk started Knitty Bitty Dreamers, selling knitwear for infants and kids. Rather than spend money on a storefront, Belk sells the items from an online store and at the occasional craft show. With two kids at home, finding the time to knit and crochet for her owners can lead to some late nights.
“I find that the best time to work is during nap time,” Belk said. “There are times when I have to work [around] cooking dinner or getting the kids in the bathtub; … otherwise, I work from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.”
Staying at home to work was a choice for Belk at first, but once her husband’s job started demanding more out-of-state travel, her staying home became a must. Although extra income was not the main factor in opening her business, Belk now makes enough to cover the cost of all of her business expenses.
“The excitement of accomplishing a task drove me to want to learn more,” Belk said. “The rewarding factor is that others loved what I was creating.”
Angela Davis, who started her A to Z Custom Creations custom furniture business in 2001, uses her income to help support her family. The business has quickly grown from a mural and faux-finishing business into a full-time job, which she does from home in Cabot. Working from home can make it easy to get distracted, but Davis has made it work.
“Without a doubt, [the hardest thing] is time management,” Davis said. “Working from home makes it hard to turn off business. I can’t say I have perfected this, but I have gotten better. Family time is very important to me, and I am thankful for clients who appreciate and respect that.”
Time management has also been the biggest struggle for Vanessa Hendershot, owner of home baking business Cupcake Baby, as she has worked to balance her baking with a full-time job and duties as a single parent.
“It is hard to find the time to do the daily chores around the house and fulfill my orders as well,” Hendershot said. “I have a wonderful family that give me support when I ask. It is a great feeling to know that this is something I have accomplished on my own, something that makes me happy.”
As a Cabot mom, Beedle said, she sees many young families settling down in the area because of the schools.
“We love, love, love the Cabot School District,” Beedle said. “Our son loves going to school, and so many families are coming to this community and getting involved.”
Because of the influx, Beedle said, many families are in search of local activity options. While many children participate in sports or other activities on their own after school, Beedle said she hopes the studio she is opening will offer a family-friendly option that gets both kids and adults involved in something together outside the house.
“Art is universal for adults and kids,” Beedle said. “To me, it’s nice to have something that’s hands-on and not in front of the TV.”
Beedle’s son, Peyton, has already given the studio his stamp of approval, helping decorate the studio with green-and-blue paper lanterns and constantly asking his mom when they can go back to the store. With kid-sized tables, bright colors on the wall and plenty of Play-Doh and paints, who can blame him?
“I’m going to be here all the time,” Peyton said.
All four business owners said the Cabot area has been especially supportive of their businesses. For Beedle, it’s meant getting more than 600 “Likes” on her soon-to-open store’s Facebook page. Belk echoed Beedle’s sentiments, saying the Cabot area is especially good to home-business owners, and that support is what has kept her going.
“I tend to become very emotional when talking about the community I live in,” Belk said. “The best way to show support to small businesses is to buy locally. My town has done just that.”
Staff writer Emily Van Zandt can be reached at (501) 399-3688 or firstname.lastname@example.org.