Lady Bug Lane on mothers’ side
Betsy Olliff found herself a very busy stay-at-home mom with the birth of twins, Abbi and AJ, eight years ago.
As all new moms know, the first couple of years are hectic enough with one child.
Having always been an artistic, crafty, creative person, Olliff began to think through a variety of options, locations and possible items one could offer in a retail store.
Four years ago, she and a partner opened Lady Bug Lane on Alabama 119 in Alabaster. At first the business was 80 percent gently-used baby and children’s clothing and 20 percent boutique.
The yellow home housing Lady Bug Lane was home to the president of the original Siluria Mills. Those who have been Alabaster residents for 40 or 50 years remember the apartment and storage out back and, of course, the big barbecue building that stood to the right of the home.
The house has a number of rooms inside. Olliff has many vendors.
She told me, “if someone can imagine it, one of my vendors can make it.”
Onsite monogramming by Melissa Greer is one great asset. Bring your item in or find it there. Nita does scrap booking, vinyl, hair bows and runs about making great suggestions. Tiffany is the “art lady.” She does furniture, canvases and kids painting classes. AJ has a line of clothing, “O Sew Precious,” while Jennifer’s line is “Piper Brook.”
While strolling through the store, I was blown away by the magnitude of merchandise — afghans, Pottery Barn layette bedding, baby cribs, changing tables, rockers, spring horses, walkers, high chairs, pack and plays, specific baby supplies, signs, artwork, picture albums, frames, dance apparel, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, car tags, Thompson High Warrior water bottles, gift items, accessories, shoes, name brand sweaters, coats, party dresses, cute socks and lots of Alabama and Auburn outfits and accessories.
Right now there is also a Halloween costume room.
If you have not been in the last several months, you must go see how “less crowded” and nicely displayed everything is. No pulling or plundering required. All items are hung by size and season.
You can have someone help you or just browse through on your own. Nowadays most of Olliff’s inventory is half specialty boutique and half great condition used clothing or accessories.
Originally from the Huntsville area, Olliff was educated at the University of Montevallo and the University of Alabama. She and her family live in Alabaster. The twins attend Meadowview Elementary and mom is also a school bus driver for the county.
She wanted to operate a business that would allow other stay home moms to market their various talents with minimal expense.
The more “heads together,” the better the outcome.
On Nov. 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., all vendors will hold an open house at Lady Bug Lane.
Sandra Thames can be reached at email@example.com.