Our Story & Our Team
Hi there! Thanks for stopping by our little corner of the internet. My name is Carrie, owner & designer at Sweet As April. I am a mother of 3 & married to my best friend of 14 years. We started this venture back in 2016 as a blog - named after Elliot's birth month because nothing could ever be sweeter than that cool April morning when he was born. I wanted it to be a place to share our journey of raising two special needs children - Elliot (our oldest) is autistic & Leia (our middle girl) is very delayed with two speech disorders. I didn't realize when I started to share online that not only would people be interested in our day-to-day life but they would also be very interested in the bonnets I was making for Leia at the time.
So why bonnets? Well, I had to close my art gallery to stay home with both kids but I still needed some kind of creative outlet - sewing was always my favorite pastime. We had very little money at the time & I wanted to dress Leia, 6 months old at the time, in cute bonnets but could not afford to buy them. We could also not afford to buy fabric - so what did I do? I opened up my closet & found clothing I was no longer wearing. I chose garments that could be transformed into bonnets for Leia & once I started posting them to our Instagram account I had SO MANY PEOPLE wanting to buy them. That's how Sweet As April, the bonnet business, was born. It's been quite a journey filled with ups & downs - but mostly ups.
Now in 2024, after our first year raising 3 young children (Lily joined us at the end of 2023) & enduring some of the hardest times for small businesses we're looking to (in a weird way!) downsize but also expand at the same time. I have been learning a lot about surface pattern designing & am thrilled that in addition to our beloved upcycled bonnets, we're also offering my hand-painted patterns. We will also be making our product a bit more accessible as we venture into purchasing more modern fabrics. From vintage fabrics to small local fabric stores, mainstream textiles & independent artists - we want to offer a price point that everyone can shop at while making a product that we truly love.
What else is new in 2024 will be the introduction of my designs on other products through my watercolor business Elleia Made. We now offer my designs on several print-on-demand products. I have always wanted to branch out with my designs but, in all honesty, would never be able to afford the overhead while remaining as small as we are. We're excited to eliminate the need for that large inventory, still allow for customizations, & create a more sustainable way to shop.
I have said it every day for almost 8 years now - but love & bonnets, guys. I could just BURST with joy at these changes we've been making & cannot wait to keep sharing all the ups & downs with you. You can find us daily on Instagram & TikTok. You can shop our collections below or write us a quick note to let us know you're here. I love hearing from you guys & really can't thank you enough for the love & support, especially as we've been making these changes. I've been so nervous but to see everyone's reaction to the news as to what's happening here I am feeling more & more encouraged every day that THIS is where I am meant to be.
Now, to introduce our team. We are a small but mighty crew. In 2024 we've downsized a bit & streamlined our process even more. I am going to list off all who are involved with this little business so you can know that it's not just me behind your favorite baby hats.
Carrie: That's me. I am the marketer, designer, shipper, photographer, seamstress, & voice of this brand. It's me that you see on all our socials, in our newsletter & who built this website.
Christine, aka Mom: This is Carrie's Mom. She is the reason we can make our trims in-house, why we've learned to expertly trim our bonnets & has now mastered the making of our knit bonnets. She has an engineering mind that is tuned into streamlining processes & creating an efficient workflow. She's also my Mom & best friend - so the emotional support & cheerleading from the sidelines as I run this business is non-stop (& so appreciated!)
Arleen: Having worked with us for almost 8 years now, Arleen is a master seamstress who can practically make these beautiful bonnets with her eyes closed! She works out of her house (one block away from Mom!) & we provide her with all the designs from our studio. Being neighbors with our expert trimmer (Mom!) we're able to turn around your handmade bonnets very quickly (not to mention Arleen is the fastest seamstress I've ever known!)
Jackie, aka Oma: This is Marc's Mom. In addition to weekly childcare so that Carrie can work a full week at SAA she helps with sewing, organizing the bonnets & a lot of "behind the scenes" work - like stamping shipping materials & tying bonnets before they head into our inventory bins.
Marc: The one who keeps me grounded - this is my husband & best friend. He picks up the pieces for me as they fall... like helping to keep the studio clean, making sure I eat proper meals & keeping track of all the finances with SAA. He also die cuts yardage at our studio when we require large restocks of materials.
Janelle: aka my go-to, my always there for me, my right-hand lady. Once working almost full-time with this business, Janelle has done everything from put collections live when I have lost internet service, bid on highly sought-after textiles for me, held my hand through some hard times, &, of course, cutting out so many of our embroidered bonnets. She is on an "I am here whenever you need me" basis for when the business picks up & I need a remote assistant who "gets it". I recommend getting a Janelle in your life, someone like her is just priceless.
Leia & Lily: I have to add these two little ladies because they have been my muses for the past 8 years. Leia was the OG bonnet wearer & I had the BEST time dressing her in small shop clothing. Lily is my little model now & keeps me company daily at our studio. If it weren't for these two little ladies coming into my life when this business was started I wouldn't get to see these bonnets brought to life - that seems worth adding them to the team!
Frank, aka Dad: It seems worth mentioning as well that my Dad is often the one who pulls to my door, texting one-word "delivery" or "arrival" meaning I should run outside to grab a bag from him as he cruises around in his electric car, enjoying his retired life & supporting his daughter by making sure she gets the finished bonnets in a timely fashion. We always joke that he, too, is an eco-friendly part of this business. Their field of solar panels charges his electric vehicle which then is driven here to deliver our bonnets. He's powered by the sun just as I am powered by coffee (& my family's love & support!)
So, that's our team! Again, we may be small (& an odd mix of people!) but we are mighty. I mean it when I say "love & bonnets" because that's what I feel with this business - not just that I love all of you for being here but that I feel truly loved & supported in this venture that is a dream come true for me.