Mom's hairclips for daughter leads to online business
Mother of invention: New Canaan woman launches website
Published 5:40 pm, Monday, February 14, 2011
If you can't find what you need, do it yourself.
That's exactly what New Canaan resident Sherryl Mascarinas did when she started her own children's hair-accessory business, and now she hopes her new website will attract customers from around the globe.
"I started because I wanted hair clips that looked good for the little hair that my daughter (Skylar) had," she said. "Then, I started to make them as Christmas presents for my friends."
It led her to launch her own children's accessories brand, Lizzie, Izzie + James, named for her three children.
Demand grew when, in 2008, she started to sell products on Etsy, an online retailer catering to people who make crafts. She also knocked on doors and convinced operators of children's boutiques like Krik-It in Fairfield and Wilton, Candy Nichols and Let's Dress Up in New Canaan and Amy Coe in Westport, that she offered a product that would do more than just take up space.
"They liked what they saw. A lot of retailers want to touch and feel it," said Mascarinas, 35, whose experience runs from a makeup artist to account manager for a unit of Cosmopolitan Cosmetics to store manager for Oilily Lily, a children's clothing store.
Realizing that she could not keep up with orders, she enlisted talented area crafts people to produce items, including a line of hair clips, headbands and felt party crowns for children, ranging from $7 to $30.
In January, with the support of her husband, Chris, she launched her website, www.lizzieizziejames.com. She credited him for finding a Web designer, materials suppliers and a branding agency.
"It freed me to design products and connect with retailers," she said.
"She just popped in with her clips," said Coughlin, recalling one day three years ago. "They really sold well. They're beautifully crafted. We haven't seen anything like it."
"There are more female-owned start-ups in the past three years than men's. Now, the classic entrepreneur is a woman in the kitchen or den," he said. "The Web is your storefront. People don't have large capital expenses of renting space, and the Web gives you national, if not international recognition."