MADE is a paid partnership with Little Lake County.
Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to Whitney Smith. Whitney Smith is the owner of Apples And ‘Nana’s Boutique, which sells homemade sewn and embroidered baby burp cloths, bibs, t-shirts, and more.
Whitney is originally from Mount Prospect, IL and now lives in Waukegan, not far from most of her family. She is a full-time work-from-home mom as an Administrative Assistant to the Senior Vice President of Sales for a Medical Supply Distributor.
Her other full-time work from home job is caring for her three daughters. Whitney loves working in her pajamas, crafts and baking with her daughters, and summer trips to the beach and camping. We sat down with her to ask her about her work, life, and making it all in Lake County.
What was the catalyst that started your Etsy store? What products do you make?
I sew baby burp cloths, bibs, and blankies. About five years ago, when all of my friends were starting families, I found some adorable patterns for burp cloths and bibs, so I started sewing them to give my friends gifts. After working on them for a few years (and perfecting their design), I decided that it might be worth trying to sell them on Etsy (why not make a little extra money doing something I love?). My Etsy store also sells embroidered infant/children’s t-shirts, which are embroidered by my mom. We are now offering personalization on t-shirts and can do a personalized bib/burp cloth set. We are more than happy to do custom orders as well!
When did you learn to sew?
I received some basic sewing lessons back in Junior High/High School in Home Ec classes, but have received the most guidance/training from my mom (who was always making dresses for me and my sister, Halloween costumes, doll clothes, etc., growing up). Usually, I just need her to show me something once, and then I’m off and running with it. And practice definitely does make perfect!!!
What do you enjoy about sewing? What is your favorite product?
I love sewing (and you could say I am addicted to shopping for cute baby fabric!!). I thoroughly enjoy making quality homemade items for others. My favorite product is my burp cloth/bib sets!! They can be time-consuming to put together due to all of the pieces, but I love the finished product!!
How challenging is it finding time to sew while being a working mom?
It hasn’t been too challenging to have an Etsy shop thus far, since sewing is really my favorite hobby. Sewing is something that I find time for here and there (on weekends, after the kids’ bedtime, etc.). My mom and I participated in two Craft Shows last Fall, so we did some crazy long hours of sewing for the week or two beforehand, but once the Craft Shows were over, we had a nice inventory ready to post in our Etsy store. Once you have an initial inventory, it’s easy to add an item here or there as you sell something.
What is your inspiration?
I get most of my inspiration from just visiting JoAnn’s and seeing all of the fun, cute fabrics and patterns. There are also many “crafty mommy” blogs out there that really get my creative juices flowing as well.
What do you do/where do you go to recharge?
Every night before bed, I need a little bit of winding downtime, so I like to read or watch Reality TV Shows (my favorites are Biggest Loser, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Chopped). A pedicure or massage every once in a while helps me recharge too!!
Meet other local businesses that are MADE in Lake County!
Disclosure: Apples n ‘Nana’s is our featured Business of the Month. This series is part of a paid promotion partnership with Little Lake County. If you are interested in featuring your locally-owned business in our series, please contact the sales team.