Sometimes your talents find you.
That’s how Woodbine mother of four Dianne Alford began her business making boutique-style hairbows, dresses and burp cloths.
“I had made baskets for a children’s boutique in St. Marys — Spoiled Rotten — and she was looking for a local business to make hairbows. She knew I was crafty, so she asked me to give it a try,” she told me.
Alford soon discovered a passion. She perfected her technique over a period of several months, and then her items became regular offerings at the shop. She designed bows to match featured outfits at Spoiled Rotten for many years.
Over 7 years since Alford first attempted to make a bow, D. Marie’s Hairbows and Belle’s Southern Creations is a beloved local business. Alford’s monogrammed clothes and bows have appeared in children’s boutiques from Savannah to Amelia Island, and she’s shipped custom-made pieces all over the country and even overseas.
The bad economy has caused most of the children’s clothing boutiques she worked with to close in recent years, so D. Marie’s became more of an Internet-based business. You can order from Alford’s Etsy shop, or contact her via email or Facebook to place an order. She’ll mail the items, or in Camden County she will hand-deliver them. She also sells items at local festivals, including the St. Marys Rock Shrimp Festival and the Woodbine Crawfish Festival. She’s completely ready to take on new projects: some of her favorites come from photos customers show her, asking her if she can replicate something they’ve seen somewhere else.
Alford comes from a long line of ladies who love to sew. She still remembers the adorable brown shirt with polka-dots her grandmother made for her as a girl. Now she’s passing on a love for custom-made clothes to her daughter, Belle, who inspired her to expand her offerings beyond the hairbows.
“She’s my Southern Belle,” Alford said. “She has probably over 100 hairbows in her room.”
Customers love Alford’s pillowcase dresses. She also offers tutus, personalized birthday outfits and other custom-made pieces. Her hairbows — which can be ordered on alligator clips, french clips or ponytail holders — have been used by sports teams, and they’ve even served as birthday party favors.
I love her football team-themed dresses, the perfect thing for a pint-sized fan to wear to support her family’s favorite team. Alford said she’s even making an outfit for a child from a “divided house” right now — it will incorporate the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs.
Alford grew up in San Diego and met her husband, who grew up in St. Marys, when he was stationed in San Diego. They eventually moved back to the area to raise their three boys and one girl — ages 3 to 10 — in Camden County.
Alford said she has Christian roots, and she conducts her business in a way that reflects that.
“I would never make an item I wouldn’t put on my own daughter,” she said. “I stand by the quality of my items, and if it breaks, I’ll replace it.”
The price tags on Alford’s items are especially refreshing: her tutus range from $10 to $15, bows are $5 to $8, and pillowcase dresses are $15 to $20 — counting the monogramming.
I love the possibilities with a talented person like Alford who is excited to try out new ideas and create your order at a reasonable rate. I can’t wait to make an order, myself, for my own little diva… I just have to make up my mind what I want!
If you’re interested in learning more about D. Marie’s:
Contact: Email Alford at firstname.lastname@example.org
Turnaround: Expect orders to be done within about a week, and often less.