News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 1, 2014

Unique Bowtique: From princesses to pigs, stay-at-home mom creates one-of-a-kind character hair bows

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — With some imagination and a dab of hot glue, colorful ribbons can be turned into the perfect hair decoration for any occasion.

At least, that is what stay-at-home mom Stephanie Stonebraker has learned as she makes princesses, pigs and ponies among her Character Bowtique creations.

What began as a simple request by her kindergarten daughter Emma to make something pretty for her hair has grown into a small business that is getting a lot of word-of-mouth buzz and online attention via Facebook.

Stonebraker has made several characters, including pink pigs and companion black spiders — ala Charlotte’s Web — as pigtail holders as well as the cast from the hit Disney movie “Frozen” and holiday-themed designs such as turkeys for Thanksgiving and shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Stonebraker claims no artistic talent, and says she is not a crafter in other ways.

“I kind of had to teach myself how to do each one. Basically, they’re all the same kinds of folds, and some of it’s by trial and error,” she said.

Her supplies are kept in a small box — multiple rolls of fabric ribbon, some feathers, a hot glue gun, sequins and beads. One spool of ribbon can make several bows. Time is also an important element of creativity, she said.

“You have to dedicate time to do it and teach yourself,” she said. Some designs take only about 15 minutes to make, others can take twice as long because of the details and some sparkling additions.

“Usually, I’ll say, I’m gonna make bows today, and I set aside that day,” she said indicating that her kitchen counter will be cleared of everything except her supplies.

Since she began posting photos of her finished designs online, she’s also had some requests come in. One order was for a hot air balloon. That took some creative thinking, but she pulled it off.

Stonebraker said she doesn’t have a business background. She has a criminology degree from Indiana State University and she previously worked for the Parke County Sheriff’s Department, and then in the prison system. She is now a stay-at-home mom for 3-year-old son Mac and 6-year-old Emma.

“I’m not opening an official business,” she said. “This is just something I do in my spare time. It gives me extra spending money.”

Her first vendor fair was last November, and her next one will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 19 at the Booker T. Washington Community Center at the Cash For Casy vendor fair fundraiser.

Stonebraker said she has had several repeat customers, and there are always new cartoons or movies being produced that will inspire new designs. But the best part is that her creations are unique.

“They don’t look like what all the other girls have,” she said. “These are something different and more unique.”

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.