Sunday, December 17, 2017
Business

Mother of five turns entrepreneur with kiddie clothes

Like many stay-at-home moms, Jenn Skelton was looking for a way to earn an income.

She loved her job as a nurse but felt it was too emotionally draining to help all her cardiac patients on a daily basis, so she gave up that career 17 months ago to focus on child rearing in Riverview.

After having three consecutive boys, Tyler, 7, Travis, 5 and Lucas, 2, Skelton gave birth to Presley, now 5 months old. She had an opportunity to get creative, dressing up a little girl for the first time in 13 years since her eldest child, Ashlei, was born.

She starting making outfits for Presley and thought she could sell them online, save the cost of day care and become an entrepreneur. From there, her online company, Pinkies Up Couture, was born in February.

"It has been a lot of fun," Skelton said. "I was there for the worst days of someone's life (as a nurse), now I'm there for the happiest times."

Skelton, 30, said most of her customers buy her accessories — tutus, pettiskirts, bloomers, diaper covers, headbands and outfits — for newborn child photos, family portraits and birthday parties.

She recalls one customer was the wife of a military veteran who left for Afghanistan when she was pregnant. When he returned to meet his daughter for the first time, the baby was wearing an outfit from Pinkies Up Couture.

That inspired Skelton to start her charity called "Operation Daddy's Girl" providing one military family (per month, for now) a complete outfit and accessory set. Check out her Facebook page to apply. You also will find Pinkies on Etsy and Instagram — thanks to Ashlei, who helps with cutouts, crafting and thank-you cards for the business and introduced her mom to the popular site. A company website is under construction.

As if motherhood and day-to-day business wasn't enough to keep her busy, Skelton also is in the midst of filing papers to set up a limited liability corporation, finalizing a divorce that began two years ago. She still finds time to make dinner for her family, including her fiance, Mike, when he's not traveling 75 percent of the time for work.

Skelton said when she started Pinkies, she worked 18 to 20 hours a day designing everything, taking photos, listing the inventory online and writing descriptions. Now her workload is down to "only" 12 hours a day. For example a custom-ordered headband takes 15 minutes to create. Her most popular items include baby rompers; she mails approximately 10 a week, headbands (15), necklaces (seven). She strives for a one- to two-week turnaround time frame on orders.

Go to etsy.com and search for Pinkies Up Couture, where you will also will find items for boys, teens and women. On Instagram and Facebook, search Pinkies Up Couture.

Frozen custard arises among froyo craze

"Frocust" doesn't roll off the tongue as sweetly at "froyo" does, but one of the area's newest frozen treat eateries is going old-school anyway. Though frozen yogurt establishments seemingly are trending all over town, Purdy's Frozen Custard opened in February at 1217 Kingsway Road in Brandon serving frozen custard.

Owners James and Sally-Ann Purdy offer various flavors of the day and implement it in to creations such as butterscotch sundaes, raspberry delights and brownie sundaes —which consist of a pair of Ghirardelli brownies, vanilla custard, whipped cream, nuts and syrup topped with a cherry. Stay tuned for bacon custard as well.

The Purdys trace their roots to Australia. Find out more about them and their new store at wombatsinthebelfry.blogspot.com.

And if you didn't already know, it's a touch of egg yolk — first added to ice cream in Coney Island, N.Y., in 1919, that makes frozen custard.

If you know of something that should be in Everybody's Business, email Eric Vician at [email protected]

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