Our latest maker, Tina Dixon Spence, noticed a lack of options for cool, functional clothing when shopping for her baby boy. In 2014 Tina turned that market void into a thriving business through her online store Buddha Babe, featuring handmade goods for babies, toddlers and the home that are “firmly rooted in a sense of style.” Meet Tina and see her cutie cute products below!
My day starts with:
“Monday through Friday, I work a full time job as an executive assistant. So my day begins like any other working mom’s: struggling to get a toddler out of bed, dressed and fed before dropping off to school and rushing to the office! Lately I have been allowing myself 30 minutes of meditation before beginning the morning routine (ahem, struggle) and that has helped center me immensely!”
I fell in love with making goods when:
“I discovered my power. I had never sewn a button before creating this business, and the fulfillment I get from being self-taught is immense. I was so proud of my very first bib (that I glued together) and am in love with every new product that I teach myself how to create. To think that I have gone from bibs to blankets, with pants and so much other stuff in between, in under three years is pretty amazing!”
When I’m in my studio:
“I feel free. It’s my space and time to create my vision and hone my craft. There are no limits besides the boundaries I impose upon myself, and I enjoy every aspect of it. Learning to carve out time for administrative functions, making, order fulfillment, marketing and everything else that comes with running a business is difficult, but I am fortunate to have a wonderful space that I enjoy being in and is well-equipped to handle all aspects. It really is my happy place!”
Who or what influences or inspires your work and why?
“My toddler inspires my work, and so do the children of my customers. At the end of each stitch and day, I have to remind myself who I’m doing this all for and who I am impacting. I always want to make sure that I am providing a quality product from materials to design, and something that looking back my children can be proud of. Nothing makes me smile bigger than when someone compliments my son’s outfit, and he proclaims in his 3-year old little voice, ‘My mommy made it!'”
What’s in your toolbox as a creative maker?
“Gold pens, graph paper, needles and thread. Pretty basic stuff. Oh, and the machines!”
Your proudest accomplishment over the last year?
“Doubling my sales over the previous year. That’s pretty intense. However I am currently feeling the backlash of not having the infrastructure to support such rapid growth, and working full-time has definitely put me at a disadvantage in being able to keep up with my growing business. Looking forward to changing that dynamic in the coming year!”
What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?
“My Mama Dresses. I would like to think that I’ve created the everywoman’s dress for work, fun and play. I literally wear them everywhere from board meetings to the zoo, because that’s who I am. A mompreneur.”
Before starting a small business, I wish someone had told me:
“About brand definition and the importance of staying true to yourself. I have been guilty of trying to please all the people all the time, and that served me no purpose besides stress. I am slowly learning to stay within my personal boundaries, say ‘thank you’ and ‘no, thank you’ with a smile, and be happy with my decisions even if it disappoints someone else.”
What has been an important resource to you as a small business owner?
“My fellow maker community, local and abroad, has been the single most invaluable resource to me. I draw support, inspiration and love from them, and can only hope that I return the same!”
My favorite Spoonflower fabric to work with is:
“Minky, because it was a game changer in my business. The blankies that I am able to create with it are showstoppers; they have catapulted my business into another league, and I am so happy I found it!”
We loved getting to know Tina in this interview! So many of us can relate to the challenges and joys of owning a small business. It’s certainly not easy to juggle a work/creative life balance, but what an accomplishment it is to grow a business so much in just three years. We look forward to cheering on Buddha Babe and seeing more cute Spoonflower-designed handmade goods in the future. Are you a maker using Spoonflower fabrics? Don’t forget to tag your Instagram photos with #SpoonflowerMaker for the chance to be featured on our feed!