Ashley Stone | Oliver Baby
What is your business, and what do you make?
My business is Oliver Baby and I make a variety of hand sewn practical baby and nursing accessories as well as a few toys and games.
How did you get started in this business?
Shortly after my son was born in November 2013, my husband bought me a beautiful new sewing machine for Christmas ( the one I had was probably from the 1960’s). I felt I needed to put it to better use than the occasional garment repair or Halloween costume. It was during a middle of the night feed when I looked over and saw my nursing cover hanging there and thought ” I could make that!”.
Is this a full time job for you?
No, although sometimes it can feel that way! I also work as a labour and delivery nurse and public health nurse. Although most of my time is occupied by my busy, sweet two year old boy.
What is your first memory of making something?
Of making something in general, like as a child? I was always making something! Crafting and creating are like an itch that needs to be scratched. I spent a lot of time as a child at my parent’s business (they manufactured light aircraft) and was often left to wander the shop. I was always super gluing something together, including my fingers, and getting their employees to cut various pieces of wood. I used any materials I could get my hands on. I remember making this little doll out of a metal washer, toothpicks and fabric. She may not have been the prettiest but she was mine!
What are your favorite and least favorite things about being craft fair vendor?
My favorite part of being a craft show vendor is interacting with my customers and other vendors. I always like listening to what customers are saying about my products, seeing the parade of babies come by my booth and also what they are looking for. There have been a few products I started because of customer inquiries. Sometimes it’s only been one customer looking for a particular item and I think ” I have to make that now!” I hate not having something someone is look for.
My least favorite part is probably the long hours of preparation. I obviously love doing what I’m doing (or else I wouldn’t do it) but it can be taxing. I usually know a few months ahead of time when I am doing a show but procrastination and life tend to get in the way and sometimes I find myself scrambling to build stock. It’s how I work though I guess. I also dislike packing out at the end of a long day.
What is the biggest compliment you’ve ever received about your work?
Anytime anyone says my work is “beautiful” or “well made”, I really appreciate that. I tend to be critical of my work so it’s nice to hear people say things like that. Also, receiving pictures of babies enjoying or wearing one of my products is a great reward!
What is one holiday tradition in your family?
Something I started with my husband when we first started dating was to make him an ornament every year which usually reflects on something that happened that year. It’s really fun to go through the box and look back on each year as we decorate the tree.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
My sister in law just had a baby so I actually made her nursing cover, diaper clutch and a blanket for baby. Homemade or hand crafted gifts are just the best!
What song has been stuck in your head this week?
We are currently trying to potty train my son and for his reward he gets to watch a short youtube video of his choice. He loves anything to do with construction vehicles and especially this series of songs about each individual vehicle and let’s just say they are very catchy!
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Reading minds. Probably be a double edged sword and end terribly but it would be fascinating to know what people are thinking!
If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
I think about this question every time I buy a lottery ticket. I would give some to my parents because they have given me so much and probably give some to my brother, depends how nice he was to me that week I suppose. I always promised I would give some to the church I grew up in. I don’t attend it anymore but I feel that would be a good place to give to. I would probably buy a few frivolous things like a fast car and a newer house. Honestly though, I feel we have been so fortunate in life that there really isn’t anything that I think 20 million dollars could make better. I think I’d like to help a few couples who were having difficulties starting a family; whether that meant covering the cost of adoption, invitro etc. There are so many great people that would make wonderful parents but can’t due to financial constraints and giving someone a family; well that would just be the best feeling!