, Salem, MA


December 30, 2008

Sew-at-home mom creates a bustling business in aprons

SWAMPSCOTT — When Lynne Rutkowski was tapped to sew a staggering 48 matching costumes for her daughter's school play, she didn't realize what it would set in motion.

Her success with the costumes, combined with her mother's plea to bring fashion to the kitchen, inspired Rutkowski to start crafting stylish aprons.

"I think people have the idea that aprons are a little frumpy," Rutkowski said, "so I'm doing prints to complement what you're wearing, instead of ruining it."

In the last 21รขÑ2 years, it has slowly blossomed into a career.

"I started off just using fabric I would find places," she said. "Then I had to find a distributor because people would call and want 30 of one print."

Rutkowski's first big stroke of success came in July 2006 when she began selling her aprons at Pamplemousse, a home goods shop in downtown Salem. The aprons were a hit, and Pamplemousse owner Diane Manahan suggested that Rutkowski sew witch hats to match the apron patterns. Tourists visiting during Halloween season eagerly scooped them up.

"So people dress up as kitchen witches," Rutkowski said. "The fun thing for me is when I'm walking down there (in downtown Salem), I see people walking around with the hats on. I don't usually get to see the aprons on people because they wear them in their own home."

From pink polka dots to beautiful brocade, Rutkowski sold 1,500 aprons last year. This year, she has already sold 4,000, and her custom-pattern aprons are in 75 stores across the United States and Canada. She named her business Lynne's Whim.

"The way the business has been growing is perfect for me," she said, "because I've gone in little steps. Now I'm at a point where I'm very comfortable and I know I can produce a large quantity."

Text Only | Photo Reprints

AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best AP Review: Amazon Fire Adds Spark to Smartphones All Aboard! LIRR Strike Averted Microsoft to Cut Up to 18,000 Jobs Time Warner Rejects Murdoch's Takeover Bid Yellen Says Economy Still Needs Fed Support Cleveland Expects Economic Boom From Lebron Justice Dept. Fines Citigroup $7 Billion Justice Dept. Fines Citigroup $7 Billion Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling Cupcake Shop Crumbs Shuttering All Its Stores San Francisco Prepares for Soda Battle Dow Breaks Record 17,000 GM Crash Compensation Could Top $1 Billion GM Won't Limit Crash Compensation Funds Justices Rule for Broadcasters in Aereo Fight
NDN Video
What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad
Comments Trcker