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Meet Jen Butler of The Dotted Bow in Peoria

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen Butler.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit for as long as I can remember coupled with a strong love for HOME and that’s where my story has led to where I am today. I began my post-college career in retail merchandising and management followed by going back for a masters in elementary education and eventually a certification to teach Art. In every career change, I was seeking more freedom, more creativity, and more income. Halfway through my first year of teaching 4th grade, I realized I had found something I was good at, that could make money and that could potentially lead me to escape being ruled by someone else’s schedule.

After experiencing shopping at local vintage markets and meeting local makers I finally decided the time was now. The Dotted Bow opened at the beginning of February 2014 with the first custom wood pallet sign orders to friends and family and quickly following I started receiving orders from real customers. It was the beginning of an amazing adventure!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think anyone who runs a business can say their road was smooth. There are so many parts to running a business beyond dreaming up pretty things to make. Learning how to legally run a business was time-consuming and confusing at times like running through a paperwork maze. Being a business owner requires you to wear many hats so learning all the skills to navigate can be overwhelming. I have come to a point now 4 years into The Dotted Bow where I need to start hiring out work because the struggle to maintain the current workload is hindering potential growth. My time is more limited now that I’ve become a Mom over the past year and I am accepting that I have to use my time to work on my business rather than in my business.

Being a business owner to me means a lot of trial and error and thus failures and successes. Being able to stick out the lows and appreciate the highs is the only way to enjoy the ride.

Please tell us about the dotted bow.
The Dotted Bow is all about HOME. The shop offers a collection of handmade home decor and lifestyle products all created by myself for the HOMEbody who designs her/his home to have a lived-in feel that embodies comfort, love, and family. Custom signs and pillows are our specialties because I want to make pieces exactly for each client’s specific decor need. The Dotted Bow operates as a handmade-to-order shop meaning everything can be customized.

The key product offerings include wood wall decor, throw pillows and casual fashions for the avid decorator. The “I dream of shiplap walls” throw pillow went viral in July 2016 when it was featured on Liz Marie Galvan’s Instagram page and blog. It was also featured on Country Living website that same month. The design inspired by watching many episodes of Fixer Upper and the Queen of Farmhouse Style, Joanna Gaines, was originally created at 4 am the night before market a few months prior. It is still a top seller today!

The Dotted Bow blog is an extension of the shop. It is a space to discover design tips and find inspiration through Home Tours, DIYs and more. I want to offer my customers more than a place to buy a product because a product alone does not cultivate a beautifully decorated living space. I love to see inside people homes! I find it so interesting to see how others put together a room. Visually seeing a curated LIVED IN, the real home offers me the most inspiration for my personal design choices. The blog will be undergoing major updates and will become a much bigger part of the brand over the next few years to become a destination for home decor inspiration.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
All of my favorite memories from childhood are spending time with my family at home. My Mom is a decorator who makes a home feel like HOME. She has always designed beautiful spaces that are comfortable, inviting and bring everyone together. She has a thing for rugs and my earliest memories include our trips to Target and planting tulips. My Dad worked from home so he was always around to play games with my younger brother and I. He made sure our yard was ready for croquet, frisbee or extreme bocce ball. Although we had epic ping-pong matches and Mario Kart marathons my favorite game was bouncing marbles into a plastic cup. We ate dinner together as a family every night.

I also have many fond memories of time spent with my Nana baking cookies and watching classics like Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. She collected elephant figurines and had fancy candy dishes in every room.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@lizmarieglavan, @cynthia_harper_, @roozen.abode, @murrays.home

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