We had the good fortune of connecting with Vicki Baker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vicki, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was inspired to start my handmade business by watching my mother make quilts and pillows and selling them at local craft shows. I wanted to do the same but wasn’t sure what to make. I experimented with a few items over the years until I found myself in need of a quality sleep bonnet. I taught myself how to make a satin bonnet not realizing that there were many women that also wanted a well made satin bonnet. With support from my family I made enough satin bonnets to do my first craft show. Afterwards, I was hooked that I finally found a product and an audience for Mattie’s Bonnets. I really didn’t have a plan other than to do as many vendor and craft shows as I could. Then Covid hit and all shows were cancelled. So, I had to refocus my attention to my website. I’m fortunate that I’m still in business but I prefer to do shows which are actually less demanding and more predictable. Doing live shows is more rewarding because I get more pleasure meeting my customers and seeing their joy when purchasing my handmade products.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I actually see myself as an artist. When making my products I have to coordinate colors and prints to create unique combinations. I search fabric stores looking for new prints that are not available in stores. Making hair accessories isn’t new, what sets my brand apart is my simple patterns, unique fabrics, as well as quality and durability. It took 2 years to find the right fabrics and that alone makes my products look and feel better than others. Most important thing I’ve learned is never go cheap and once you’ve found a company that provides good service stay with them no matter the cost. My only challenge has been dealing with Covid and having multiple events cancelled in 2020. Forced to turn my attention to my website has been slow learning but I’m getting the hang of it. Overall, It gives me pleasure to sew my own products. Doing so ensures that I am able to provide a quality made product that my customers can be proud of.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Where I go definitely depends on the time of year. With that, I believe in supporting small businesses so I would take my best friend to enjoy a plant based meal at Chopping Roots and Compatible Delights. For dessert a decadent slice of Val’s Cheese Cake and ZZs Ice Cream Puffs. Just for fun we’d visit the Urban Dallas Farm then make a trip to the African Museum of Dallas. In the evening listen to local poets like Stephoni Roberts at the Open Mic. There is always a nightly activity at the Pan African book store and gallery for yoga, book reading, or a speaker. That’s what my friend would enjoy.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shout out goes to my husband for encouraging me to step out and do my first show. Although I wanted to start my business I was procrastinating and he pushed me by booking my first event and getting my website up! My sister Lora, she has been my biggest supporter and product tester. The business women I’ve met over the years that have supported me, Nappiology, Twinnation, Holistic Market, Carisha the diva, Satori, and many more. I can’t leave out the countless repeat customers that have kept my business going during this pandemic by referring friends and family, making purchases and posting them on social media. I am thankful for all the support I’ve received over the years.