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Friday, November 27, 2015

Shop & Support Moms - Worthy Goods by Dory Smith Graham

I am VERY excited to feature this awesome, crafty, super dedicated mother of two, Dory Smith Graham! She runs two dynamic businesses in MAINE! She creates the most amazing items, great for gifts for the holidays or to treat yourself! So many neat things to check out (web sites listed at the bottom of this page). I can tell Dory is a down-to-earth, hard working, determined Maine gal, who so loves creating sweet surprises for her customers. She takes her work to heart and all the while is an awesome momma to her two cuties. 

Please support this super mom with your holiday shopping! She's offering a great discount below! And she's from MAINE - my favorite, of course :)

Thanks, Dory!

Free Shipping within the US with coupon code MOMSHIPSFREE. Coupon expires 12/31/15

Images from Dory Smith Graham

Picture above: Topless Mitts, up cycled knit rimmed with organic cotton sherpa accented with felt 'buttons'. It's cold here in Maine, when you get the chance to bare something you take it! Risqué is relative.

1. How did you start your business? Why did you want your own business? When did you start your business?
I started in 2008 with 4 reversible baby slings. My first baby was 6 months old and we both loved the freedom and closeness the sling provides. 

I have always wanted to start my own business. I'm that kid with the lemonade stand, selling painted rocks, handmade perfume from a second-hand Barbie perfume maker, even selling seedlings when I was old enough to remember to water the plants. I was in the 5th grade when I had my first table at a craft fair, selling Cabbage Patch Kid flannel nightgowns my Mom helped me sew. 

worthygoods textile came along in 2009 as a way for me to purchase organic fabrics in bulk at wholesale and then retail some of these hard to find, ultra luxe organics.

2. Why was owning a business a perfect situation for you and your family? 
I can't say it's ever been a perfect situation, a young family with two working parents and two busy kids never really feels like perfection is at hand, right? But having two businesses does allow me the freedom to be available for the kids. My husband travels a lot and one of us has to be around to get Jam Girl to daycare, Mr P off the bus and have the scheduling flexibility to be home for sick days and school vacation.

Picture above: Little Trapper caps, made from new vintage woolens and lined in organic cotton sherpa, knit in the US.

Picture below: so many vintage wooden bobbins in the studio! Sourced from long-shuttered textile mills up and down the east coast & beyond.

3. What does your business specialize in? What's your favorite product? How'd you come up with the name? 

worthygoods is gear steeped in Maine style, handmade sustainably right here in Vacationland. I specialize in cozy winter hats, reversible sun hats, fingerless gloves, a line of felt jewelry & holiday acorn ornaments. 

Right now my favorite product is the Freestyle Bow Tie, a professionally tailored self-tie, adjustable and often reversible bow tie. Once I learned how tie a bow tie I started wearing them myself even! When you purchase a worthygoods bow tie, it comes with my hand-illustrated how to tie a bow tie card.

I came up with the name worthygoods back in 1997, brainstorming business concepts and ideas in the deep idle of winter. I've been hanging on to it for a long time, I really adore the name, and was not planning on using it for a handmade business, honestly. But it's been a good fit and I still am on track to open a downtown shop one day.

4. What do you love best about working for yourself?
Beyond waking up and immediately being able to get to work (coffee & pjs, yes!) I enjoy using a broad skill set, writing copy for Etsy and my new website (Launching Thanksgiving week!), product photography, pattern drafting, graphic design, selecting fabrics for upcoming seasons. Plus it's the perfect excuse to indulge my fondness for office supplies and packaging. I love the element of presentation.

5. When working, where do you work? When do you work in the day/evening? What's your process for working? Things you do daily, a routine?
For the most part, I work out of my home. My studio is a finished room in my basement that is jam-packed with fabrics for worthygoods & worthygoods textile as well as sewing machines, cutting tables, packing & shipping table, etc. I work every day that I'm home. I'm hoping to rent a studio where I can lock the door and go home- taking a mental break for a bit. I am also a member of SevenArts, a 6 member local artisan gallery in Ellsworth. There we share a small shop where we sell our merchandise as well as a very few, select consignment artists. I work there one day a week, bringing in totes full of my studio to get work done there during the day between sales.

6. Take me step by step through working with customers. Do you do anything special or unique, wrapping, specials, etc.?
I'm fortunate to have so many return and repeat customers at worthygoods and worthygoods textile. Any packaging I use, I make an effort to find recycled, reusable, or otherwise sustainable boxes, bags, twine, etc. I stamp whatever I can with my hand-carved worthygoods rubber stamp for branding. Include a little "thank you" to everyone. 

At worthygoods textile I include a little sample gift- either a swatch of fabric or an extra vintage wooden spool or bobbin, as well as a 10% off coupon for the next purchase.

7. What is your success rate? What do you think customers would say about your work, shop?
I'm not sure how to answer that question. Both shops have grown in different ways every year. I call that success. I consistently get five star feedback with lots of exclamation points at my Etsy shops, that's so rewarding. At SevenArts, I can get feedback in person, I've found that customers adore my new woven logo labels that I sew in to product. It looks like a vintage Maine license plate from the 90s so it's got that serious Maine feel as well as a vintage vibe. 

8. Why do you think people should shop in your store, and why should they support moms who work for themselves?

You should shop at worthygoods if you are interested in supporting a sustainable, small, Maine business. I'm all for entrepreneurs, moms, dads, anyone that's willing to stick their neck out there and try to support themselves via their own ingenuity. I say support the people that are making the effort to hire local, pay livable wages, mentoring future small business owners and investing in their own communities. 

9. What are your items to sell?
worthygoods textile: Global Organic Textile Standard certified organic cotton fabrics that are made right here in the US. Vintage and antique wooden textile mill bobbins from industrial era fiber mills.

worthygoods: Freestyle Bow Ties, Topless Mitts, Mini Mitts, Little Trapper hats, The County hats, Spring Training hats, a line of felt, velvet and antiqued copper jewelry. Acorn Felt Ornaments are super-popular this time of year. 

Picture above: Freestyle, adjustable & reversible bow ties, madras reversing to seersucker. Completely hand-tailored with several colorways available.

10. How does your business allow you to be a great mother?
Owning and running worthygoods and worthygoods textile models qualities that will help my kids in their own future endeavors. Responsibility is the main bit, being self-motivated is another super-important skill-set, but the most important is those positive reward signals you get from trying, and trying and trying and then finally succeeding in your efforts. 

I want my kids to be able to be self-directed, self-motivated and creative problem-solvers.

11. What do you think would surprise readers to know about you?
I am a goldsmith. I worked as a goldsmith for a very small, but widely know, family jewelery  business for 10 years. It was such a wonderful job, I'd like to do it again, too. I love working with flame and gold and gemstones to make pieces that will last for several lifetimes.

12. What is the coolest thing you've ever experienced as part of working with this business?

I sold a Little Trapper hat to Farrah Fawcett! 

13. What is one of your favorite gifts to give someone for the holidays? 
Felt acorn ornaments are one of my go-to gifts, they make a great little gift on their own, but they also are adorable as a gift topper. They last beyond the holidays and aren't too "Christmassy".

14. How many kids do you have? Give us one word to describe them.
I've got two. I would describe them each as my favorite. ;-) 

Web site:
Facebook worthygoods:
Facebook worthygoodstextile:
twitter: @worthygoods1
Instagram: @worthy-goods 

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