Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! I’m Kim Bonner, the owner of Make Lovely Things. I love to create beauty in the world and do what I can to help people. When I’m not running my business you can find me at a coffee shop, off in my car exploring, or snuggled up in bed watching old movies and drinking tea.
What exactly is Make Lovely Things?
Make Lovely Things is a company that exists to create beauty and help others. I sell coloring books, workbooks, t-shirts, greeting cards, and other printed goods. Those sales make it possible for coloring workbooks to be given to girls in foster care. It’s kinda’ like TOMS, but with coloring books instead of shoes 😉
Who makes all the designs for Make Lovely Things, do you?
Yep, it’s all me! I have enjoyed drawing ever since I was little and I’ve been a graphic designer for years, so I’m able to easily take a sketch or painting and translate it into a product. In the future I hope to be able to partner with other women entrepreneurs and creatives to offer new products as well.
What inspired you to start Make Lovely Things?
I’ve always been interested in how art can be used to help other people. I teach art and I’ve had quite a few students over the years who had been in foster care at some point. I decided to make a coloring workbook that could be used as a therapeutic tool for middle and high-school girls, but I kept getting requests from other people who wanted copies for themselves or their children. I realized that I could sell coloring books to pay for the workbooks that I was giving away, and that’s how Make Lovely Things was started. Since then I’ve added additional products that make it possible for even more coloring workbooks to be given away.
How did you come up with the name?
It’s a totally boring story: I made a list of possible names, narrowed it down to the ones that felt right, and then went online and crossed off the ones that already existed. I like that the name doesn’t limit me to making a specific product, so I’m free to be creative and try new things.
You give back with every purchase, can you tell us about that?
For every coloring book, workbook, box of cards, or t-shirt that you purchase, a coloring workbook is given to a girl in foster care. Since launching in 2017, MLT has been able to give away almost 700 coloring workbooks to girls all over the United States! Each month there’s a new Spotlight Organization that gets the workbooks that are raised during the month. I’m hoping that in the future I’ll be able to create new products that support teens and young women in a variety of other ways as well.
What is your favorite part about running Make Lovely Things?
I love getting to meet new people and hear their stories.
What is your least favorite part about running Make Lovely Things?
Marketing. It’s one of the most important parts of running a business, but it is definitely out of my comfort zone. I wish there was a PR fairy out there who could magically write press releases and ad copy for me!
Is there a favorite product?
It’s hard to pick just one, but I guess I’d have to say that the Courageous Coloring workbook is my favorite because it was such a labor of love.
Where are your products sold?
Mostly on my website (www.makelovelythings.com), but I also regularly sell at craft shows and farmer’s markets. You can also find MLT products at shops in Virginia, Michigan, and Louisiana.
How do you spread the word about your company?
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
Know your worth and don’t doubt it when someone isn’t interested in your product. It can be easy to feel rejected personally when someone doesn’t buy your goods or services, but that isn’t a reflection on you. They just aren’t your market! And don’t compare yourself to others. It might look like their business is successful and their life is amazing, but you don’t know the whole story. Concentrate on making your products, strengthen relationships with customers, and investing in your own well-being.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying?
I love this quote from Joseph Campbell:
“I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
If your readers would like a discount, they can use the code LEADER5 at checkout for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more.