We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandee Cross and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brandee, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always been a very driven entrepreneur. I’ve loved being creative. I started my first ‘side hustle’ when I was in 7th grade. I made custom name bracelets and necklaces with pony beads. Then I upgraded my business to the bead animal key chains. Since then, I’ve always found myself wanting to sell my creativity. I became a mom to twin boys in 2018. Mom life was crazy, but that didn’t hold me back from having another. We had our daughter in July 2021! I couldn’t wait to have a mini me to coordinate dressing up in. Once she arrived, I started looking for bows. Specifically, a leopard bow. I couldn’t justify spending $10+ on a bow from Amazon that I knew was mass produced in China. That’s when another mom pointed me in the direction of an online store where all the bows were hand made. I ordered two of them and received them in the mail. I took one look at these and knew I could make something better! That’s when I started grabbing fabric from the local store for trial and error processing. Once I got down what I thought was my ideal design, I had my first ‘drop’. It was thrilling to finally find something that would allow for my creative juices to flow! This is what is meant when it’s said to moms, “Do something for yourself”. I look forward to nap time and bed time so I can be business lady rather than just mommy.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I don’t cut corners. I only use high quality fabrics – some are probably the softest fabrics you’ll feel! I also only use fabric specific materials. I also love doing custom orders! I love the challenges (most of the time) to get it just the way the client envisions it. I also love that I’ve had the creative flow and learn different styles. While I specialize in messy bows, I can also do the standard sailor bows, ribbon bows, flower bows (like for newborns), shredded bows (they’re so big in so fun), top knots, and so much more! I never even knew this world of bows existed until I became emersed in the small shop community. It hasn’t been an easy journey. So many times, I’ve thought about quitting. Sales were down, I had so much in inventory, I would have drops where no one would buy. It felt so stagnant for such a long time. I then had the opportunity to be an in-person vendor for a small market one weekend in March. I worked hard to prep all my bows. The market went better than expected! I was about to earn enough funds to buy fabric for the next drop I wanted to do. Then I learned about selling groups on Facebook. It was a lot of manual work to get that organized and posted, but the results were promising. I have done a few more sales on those groups. I really just wanted to get my name out there and my product in front of new customers. That was a challenge I faced, being only ecommerce – lack of trust. It’s not easy for someone to order something they can’t tough or feel from a brand-new company.

I’ve learned to be patient and persevere. While Bonnie’s Boujee Bows is only less than 8 months old and still not ‘profitable’, I know the steam engine is just getting warmed up. We’re starting to gain traction and see the results. We just have to be creative in how to get started.

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.
I have really learned to fall in love with Arizona. I’ve lived here over 10 years. I moved freshly out of college and have no family around – well, not until I married my husband. Now I have my in-laws. If my family were to come visit for a week, (assuming the kids aren’t around or there to slow us down) we would hit up Antelope Canyon first and foremost! It’s just breathe taking! Then I’d want to show them Sedona! We might not stay too long unless they wanted to go on a hike. Then I’d have to call a friend or two for suggestions.

When we get back to the valley, the first place we have to eat at would be Liberty Station, up in Cave Creek. Oh man! Their food is amazing! I recommend their loaded brisket fries.

Another fun place to visit is Goldfield Ghost Town! They have a really interesting tour through an old mine. I’ve learned a lot about the history of Phoenix and how it got started. Plus, in the wintertime, they have a fun little shoot out reenactment every day – all done by volunteers!

Another little hidden gem, close to home, is McDonald’s Ranch. They have some fun activities you – especially during their pumpkin festival. I haven’t gone on a horseback ride with them yet, but I plan to in the future!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are SO many that are involved in my support, mentorship, encouragement, etc. First and foremost, my loving husband, Colin Cross! He has been my right hand through this all. He’s the one that stepped up into the administrative side. He did the research to figure out what we needed as a small business – applying for licensure, ID numbers, business accounts, etc. He also spends countless hours setting up our ecommerce website. His encouraging words help keep me going when I’m having a tough moment.

I also want to shout out my friend and mentor Chloe Burridge. I befriended her through a fabric group on Facebook. She’s helped educate me about all thing’s fabric and creative related. She’s my go to when I have a question about the actual process of creating the bows – despite her small shop being clothing rather than just bows. She’s been so helpful in sharing her experience and resources.

Also a big shout out to my Brand Reps! They’ve been so helpful in their feedback in my bows, helping with selecting fabrics, and spreading the word about my bows and business. They’ve take a lot off my plate when it comes to social media marketing. This helps me stay focused on everything else going on in the background.

Website: www.shopbonniesbows.com

Instagram: @bonniesboujeebows

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bonniesboujeebows

Other: Facebook Group – Boujee Bow Bloc https://www.facebook.com/groups/290257842930909

Image Credits
Nina Bella Photography Sarah Burton Photos

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