Mary Sue Dwyer began sewing when she was in grammar school and occasional does a pillow or window treatments. But her real success came with ribbon belts. She had always admired Hadley Pollack’s belt designs so she decided to make one of her own. Friends admired her belt and asked her to make them one. A venture was born and she calls it BeRibbon.
To sell her wares, she first had a coffee where she laid out all of the ribbons and buckles for moms to choose from for belts. She sold over 60 belts at $40 each and took orders for more. Having to sew these all herself, she soon realized she would need to hire 2 seamstresses to keep up with future orders.
All things ribbon interested Mary Sue and the belts led her daughter to want a jean jacket with the same colorful edge. She used ribbons to embellish a jacket for her daughter and sent her to school wearing it – the perfect test market. Her daughter’s friends loved the jacket and wanted their own. Now, Mary Sue had another product to add to her line. She sourced jean jackets and began production. She has since expanded her line to include men’s belts, dog leashes and collars, key fobs, kid’s belts and gym shorts with ribbons. Tennis skirts are in the works as well.
Not on line yet, she sells her beribboned items through several tri-state boutiques before the holiday season. This is her high season and production hours ramp up prior to November. During the year she generally spends 2 -3 hours a day on her venture, but during holiday time, she’s up to 5 – 6 hours a day. With three girls, one 13 and twins who at 10, she finds that this time commitment works for her and her family’s schedule currently. She has thought about taking her line larger, but is happy with where the line is and her time commitment to it. She appreciates the independence and ability to make her own hours. But this is something she could take larger once her kids head to college – perhaps of Vineyard Vines success.
Often at the gym or a spin class, when she introduces herself, Mary Sue will hear, “Oh, you’re the belt lady!!” She came from Dean Witter in the event planning area and left when she had her girls. She often saw unique niche ideas and would muse “Why didn’t I think of that?” Well, she found a niche for herself by creating a venture doing something she loves – sewing and designing hand sewn items. Sourcing fabrics and ribbons provides an outlet to further her passion. It’s also been a source of great pride to have her daughters see her with a meaningful job that contributes to the family’s finances, while being a good mother at the same time. Four years and counting, this beribboned mom is able to run her own show and find fulfillment.
Mary Sue’s BeRibbon line will be available at The Christmas Boutique in Darien, at the Peidmont, on Wednesday and Thursday November 5th and 6th.