Blankets and Booties

Melissa Kossler Dutton
Becky Schisler is owner of Blankets and Booties in historic Dublin.

Becky Schisler always wanted to own a small business.

After the former substitute teacher had the opportunity to work at a children's boutique, she decided she would like to own a store. When the time came to venture out on her own, she opted to stay in the children's clothing business because of the network of contacts she had made in her previous job.

In September 2006, she opened Blankets and Booties in historic Dublin. The recession has been a challenge to Schisler. She has weathered the poor economy by changing her merchandise, offering classes and letting her employees go.

"It went really well for about a year and half. Then the economy just bottomed out," Schisler said. "It's been hard."

- Melissa Kossler Dutton

How are sales these days?

We've seen some improvement - a little bit. People have gotten in the habit of being careful. I've had to adjust my inventory.

How did changing your merchandise help the business?

I brought in some lines that weren't as expensive. That's done well for me.

What is your niche?

I'm trying to keep things very unique - different from what you would buy in the mainstream baby arena. A lot of what I carry is from small companies started by moms who saw a need for their kids and ended up developing something to meet it. I have some items made by local people on consignment. We also do monogramming. I'm more traditional and less trendy. I'm definitely on the gift end of things.

Do you make any of the items in the store?

I crochet the hats and a few blankets.

The website advertises crochet classes. Are you the instructor?

That's my little side business. I offer crochet lessons. I'm proud to say I have taught about 20 people to crochet.

Is there a lot of demand for handmade items?

What I often hear is: "I want something different." That's why people come in here. I have (also) been called "The Grandma Store."