Made in Michiana: BGB Designs
ST.JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Who knew a business could take off by using Facebook Live? That’s exactly what happened to one local Michiana woman who started BGB Designs back in 2018 by creating video content, and community engagement to showcase her homemade earrings.
“I started very small like maybe 20, 25 designs. I started with full leather material, very simple designs, multiple designs in the same type of color things like that,” Beth Cooper said.
That’s Beth Cooper. She was once a stay-at-home mom, now turned boss lady with a growing business right here in Michiana.
“I never thought it would grow to be this big, I thought it would just stay my little earring business, but it has expanded quite past that,” Beth said.
Elizabeth started BGB Designs in 2018 as a way to help her family bring in some extra cash.
“I ended up going to my husband and basically pitching him the idea of this sale,” Beth said. “We always had everything we needed, not necessarily everything we wanted,” Chris Cooper said.
Living off just one income, her husband Chris was the sole provider working hard for his family, leaving him with little time for much else.
“I started work very early in the mornings, and so I was usually going to bed early in the evenings and she did everything up to the point where I had to eventually come home,” Chris said.
Working out of her home’s entryway, a 90 square foot area. With just a circuit cutter, some leather material, earring supplies, a corkboard, and a stand Beth went to work.
“She’s always been crafty, but at that point, she’s never really, at that point, never tried selling anything she made before,” Chris said.
She was able to not only design her jewelry but also make a profit using Facebook live. Every Thursday and Sunday she’d turn on her camera and start selling her products.
“I have some really amazing customers who have become family and friends,” Beth said.
From making her earrings to sending out invoices, packaging, and shipping the products to their final destination Beth does it all.
“It's been a learning curve,” Beth said.
She started out shipping between 12 to 15 packages a day, that was in 2018. Within six months, Beth would slowly start to incorporate pieces of clothing into her little boutique. And while her small business took off, so did her need to expand in 2019 her husband built an extra room in their house.
“ We were running out of space, and I just told her, I asked her, do you need more room? And she said yeah, So I got together with my father and we made a blueprint for the addition to the house that we put on,” Chris said.
Beth continues to sell her products through Facebook live, she has since expanded to a storefront location right here in heritage square plaza. And while the little boutique has something for everyone, the majority of her sales come from her weekly Facebook lives.
“We do more embroider different patterns, prints, and styles so I feel like there is something for here because I don’t usually stick to one particular style of clothing,” Beth said.
From loud patterns to solid and bright colors BGB Designs offers a variety of clothes for women in almost every size and the jewelry is still designed by Beth herself.
“We have branched out quite a bit. I do more work with genuine leather, acrylics. We have an industrial laser machine that we do laser cut earrings, which we do wood as well as acrylic. Sometimes we mix the two- so we get some very big statement pieces,” Beth said.
Since opening her first store in April, Beth never expected her small business of selling homemade earrings, made right here in Michiana online would lead her to where she is today.
"A very exciting to watch the business grow, and watch the things that I make and the things that are in my head that come out that people enjoy them,” Beth said. “To be able to share that locally now, instead of just internet-based is really exciting.”
Since starting BGB Designs three years ago, Beth's husband’s Chris has been able to leave his day job and now works alongside his wife, allowing both of them to spend more time with family.