ACCIDENTAL OCCUPATION | When Angie Davis lost her job as a Twin Cities project architect in October 2008, she knew she needed a hobby to help fill her time. She looked around her apartment in search of inspiration, and the answer soon became apparent to this self-declared “Mac person.” Channeling the arts and crafts skills she learned while growing up on a farm in Iowa, Davis began to sew cases for iPods, iPhones, computers, and iPads. She started selling them on Etsy, and by November 2008 she had herself a new full-time career. “It wasn’t about making money; it was about something that I could do,” says Davis. “Selling things just afforded me the opportunity to make more things to sell.”
SWEET SUCCESS | Davis now averages between 40 and 80 products a week for her online company, Byrd and Belle (byrdandbelle.com), which is based out of her live/work studio on Nicollet Island. Her background in architecture influences her creations (think clean lines and brown and grey tones mimicking wood and concrete), which are made from 100 percent wool felt, imported from Germany, and accented with hand-dyed leather.
CREATIVE COMMUNITY | Davis’s favorite aspect of her newfound career is forging relationships with her customers. “I bring my clients into the process,” she says. “I show them that when they e-mail me, I respond,” which re-emphasizes her homespun appeal. Davis also created an online calendar that clearly shows whose project she is working on and when. “Their name is attached to the process,” she says. “I know when I need to make Jack’s and Mary’s and Tony’s.” That’s what we call making it personal.