Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Featured Crafter--Cinna Minnies

The beginning of my business is the result of me falling in love with a man . . .

A gingerbread man that is . . . at a Relief Society Homemaking meeting. One of the craft projects involved decorating some little gingerbread men that were made from cinnamon. That little guy made my heart race and set my mind into a creative frenzy! I thought about it, and the very next day I phoned my friend, Carol, to ask for the recipe she used to make these gingerbread men. She shared it, and I was off!

Twenty-two years later I'm still in love with that little gingerbread man, and still in a creative frenzy working up new ways to design dolls, ornaments and home decor items made from the cinnamon clay that I worked so hard to develop from that initial recipe. I found that original cinnamon dough was too primitive in nature to work well for permanent ornamentation -- it crumbled, cracked and curled up when dry. So I did a little kitchen experimentation with various ingredients until I came up with my own secret recipe for a cinnamon clay that would roll out smoothly, mold well, would dry hard and smooth in texture and appearance, and wouldn't crack or curl up. It took several months of experimenting, but I finally accomplished my task and now had a very pliable, highly-scented cinnamon clay to bring all of my creations to life, and last for years!

When my friends and family saw my gingerbread men, their positive reactions spurred me on to continue to create other characters. That led me to teach myself how to make cutters for all of the designs that were running around in my brain! Soon I was creating bunnies, cows, pigs, geese, dolls, and ornaments of all kinds! People seemed to be impressed and a friend said she would gladly take them to a craft show she was doing and see if people would buy them. I couldn't wait for her to come home after the show, so I went to it myself to see what kind of reaction my little cinnamon ornaments would get. Well, almost every one of them sold! I was so thrilled -- I was absolutely hooked on these now, and continued to send items to all shows that she attended. After almost selling out at each of the three craft shows, I decided to visit some craft shops to see if they'd buy them wholesale and sell them through their shops. To my great surprise and delight, they did!

I kept working on this little hobby of mine, and the next year, I participated in my first craft show in our small town of Owosso Michigan, and made $300. I loved the wonderful responses from people who bought my cinnamon items. They made people smile and they loved the cinnamon smell. From that point on I decided that I wanted to see if I could build a business, and that was the beginning of Cinna-Minnies™ Solid Cinnamon Collectibles .

That summer, fate stepped in and our daughter Christy entered into a local beauty pageant. During intermission I got up to get a drink of punch and slipped on a wet spot on the floor, injuring my right arm. My first thoughts the next day were "what will happen to my business, and how will I ever get ready for my next craft show?" It was only a month away. I took my concerns to my family, and true to their supportive, loving nature, they decided they should all participate and learn the various tasks that would contribute to making Cinna-Minnies™. My only job was to teach each one of them what to do while my arm healed. Everyone learned to do several different tasks and discovered and developed talents as they helped produce Cinna-Minnies™. John took over the cinnamon clay management, and has perfected the rolling and cutting out of the dolls, and ornaments to near perfection. The girls learned to dress the dolls, make bows, sew, paint, and make miniature clay accessories, which added greatly to the charm of the finished dolls.

Time marches on . . . our children have grown-up, gotten married and some have children of their own now. So these days, John and I work as a team to produce Cinna-Minnies™, with periodic outside help from dear friends as needed. We each operate within the realm of our talents, which compliment one another well. In August of 2001 we launched our company web site and have been busy ever since filling orders. I have purposely kept my business small so that I can maintain the quality of our Cinna-Minnies™ Collectibles. Part of the charm and attraction to our customers is the fact that all of our dolls, ornaments and home decor items are handmade by a real Mom and Pop operation . . . truly a dying breed these day.

Thank you to one and all for supporting us and blessing our lives with your kindness and friendship.


Rochelle and John

Mention that you read my Featured Crafter article at Prim Friends Network & receive 1Free Bottle of Cinnamon Oil with your order.www.cinna-minnies.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember making cinnamon applesauce gingerbread ornaments as a child and I've loved them ever since. It actually held its scent for years!