Twenty-two-year-old Bianca Manes started her home-based online tutu business, Glamlicious, a little over a year ago and was recently recognized in Woman's World magazine in a story featuring its readers' money-making secrets.
It all started when Manes wanted to get her baby a tutu. "All the ones online were too expensive," the Tucsonan said. "And my husband and I didn't have a lot of money to blow on unnecessary baby items."
So, Manes thought she'd make one herself. After her first tutu was completed, she posted a photo of it on her personal Facebook page. She said about eight of her friends wanted one.
This prompted her decision to launch a business. She started by making a Facebook fan page and a store on Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods.
Keeping prices affordable is important to Manes. Prices for tutus, sizes newborn to 5T, are $12. Tutu dresses start at $25.
Tucson mother Taylor Coats said she bought a tutu from Glamlicious for her 2-year-old daughter last October. "I shopped around, and there is about a $5 to $10 difference between store bought and going to Bianca," she said.
In just over a year, Manes has accumulated close to 10,000 likes on her Facebook fan page and has made 48 sales through Etsy. Most of her sales are made through her Facebook page.
Business was slow for the first five months, but when Halloween and Christmas came, Manes said, she was "slammed with orders … back to back, every day" until February.
Sales have grown enough to where Manes' profits go right into a savings account.
"We had no savings when I started the business," Manes said. But in just over a year, she's been able to pay for a family vacation and save about $8,000.
She hopes to open a store in Tucson someday.
Not only does she make her products, she said she spends about eight hours a day online, responding to messages, comments and questions, and posting photos on Etsy and Facebook.
Glamlicious also sells headbands, bows, cellphone cases, birthday hats and more.
Coats praised the quality of the products and said she plans on passing her tutu down to her sister's daughter.
Although Manes has many happy customers, her 22-month-old daughter is not one of them, ironically.
"She runs away," Manes said. "I think because I put them on her so much when she was younger and didn't have any say."
Contact reporter Angela Pittenger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4137.