Hobby To Profession

She still can’t make up her mind as to what she wants to be when she grows up.  Mama to two young boys at 5 and 2, with an extremely supportive husband, Laura Balow finds time for a small business too. 

Heebie Jeebie Designs has a collection of hand drawn embellished items including jewelry, cell phone cases, and the most popular items, travel mugs and covered double walled tumblers.  She also offers beaded items, including jewelry, key chains and golf stroke counters. 

Interested in art at a young age, Laura won art awards in middle and high school.  But after a challenging and highly critical art teacher in high school, she let art rest for a while.  “It is amazing what an influence one person can have on a teenager,” she says.  “That teacher almost ran me away from one of my favorite things about me.”  After the “art bug” bit her again while living in Baltimore, she attended Towson University with an aim to get a second bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design.  The professors there were much more encouraging and gave her the uplifting boost she needed to get back into art again.  Shortly before finishing, she was bit by the “baby bug”.  Art was on hold once again.

Diagnosed with adult ADHD, Laura found it challenging to balance self-identity with motherhood.  She now uses drawing and beading to meditate and take time for herself during naptime or preschool.  “My mind can wander or just rest when I’m ‘in the zone’,” she says.  Having an Etsy store and doing craft shows is the best way for Laura to find a work/life balance right now.  She can do as much or as little as she wants or can as life comes along. 

There are other benefits as well, “Going to craft shows and having people see my work and making sales on Etsy do wonders for my mood and self esteem.”  She loves waking up to a midnight sale.  “It makes for a great way to start off the day.”  She really enjoys making custom orders too.  That way Laura feels that she makes exactly what her Heebie Jeebie Designs customers want.  “I really enjoy seeing their reaction to what I have made for them.”

Her challenges include using her creative mind to do taxes and bookkeeping when they would much rather be crafting.  She also has trouble trying not to make too much product.  “It’s easy to make too much product and then be stuck with it on your hands.  I have organized all of my finished product to take up only five square feet in my garage.  Now as for my crafting space, well, it’s a little more than five square feet,” she laughs.  Laura ended up in business because of this.  After having “the talk” with her husband, you know, the one where he says, “you spend too much at craft stores,” she decided to start selling her products.  “Someone told me, ‘you should sell these’, and then someone else told me the same thing, so I did.  After my first sale, I was hooked.” 

Laura joined Raleigh Mompreneurs after talking with Michelle Bertoncino at preschool pickup.  Michelle was in the Etsy Group and encouraged her to come to the meet ups and check out the site.  “Ever since then, I have learned so much.  I had no idea that there was an ‘About’ page, where you can tell your personal story to your customers.  I also learned more about hooking up listings to Facebook and when to list an item.  Timing is everything on Etsy.”  She looks forward to learning more and more with Raleigh Mompreneurs. 



Cary Heise
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