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Daily Inspiration: Meet Heather Morfeld

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Morfeld.

Hi Heather, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started making matching masks and scrunchies when I was handed down my grandma’s sewing machine from my mother in the summer of 2020. Originally I was just making them for my personal use, but I was getting so many questions when I would go run errands, literally women would stop me and target and ask where I got the set and then one day, in the Shnucks line, I had a lady offer to pay me if I made her one, and it just started from there. I thought, “I really could make a business out of this.”

I launched TOPBUN with just matching mask and scrunchie bundles in October of 2020 and that was my only product at the time. The name comes from the hairstyle that I wore pretty much on a daily basis, sometimes also called the “half up bun” or “lazy bun”.

Just a couple of weeks after launching, I unfortunately was laid off from my full-time job. It was a blessing in disguise though, because it allowed me to really focus on TOPBUN and fine-tune the details of TOPBUN and participate in my first vendor fair! There were some scary times during the winter, especially with the Holidays. There were times I thought I wouldn’t be able to support myself as well as the business, but I carried on.

I did get a new job in January of 2021 so TOPBUN is currently my side gig, but the support from my customers and the maker community really did help me get through those three months while I was unemployed and made it possible to keep TOPBUN going. I knew masks were not going to be a thing forever, so as soon as I got my finances back where they needed to be, I made the investment to start selling other hair accessories products like claw clips and hair ties. I didn’t want these to be just your average accessories that you can find on Amazon. I did lots of research to find products that were only from female brands and made from eco-friendly materials.

Eventually, as you know, the mask mandate was lifted in early spring of 2021. Luckily I had already pivoted from mask bundles to selling the scrunchies separately and making other products like headbands. I really try to use a variety of fabrics and styles to keep it interesting. There is a lot you can do with a scrunchie, like making it super oversized or putting a zipper in it! I’m also trying to reduce the business’s carbon footprint buy investing in natural/sustainable materials and using sustainable packing, and making products out of scrap fabric.

TOPBUN is coming up on it’s one-year anniversary and so far, I have sold over 200 products and have participated in 10+ vendor fairs! It’s crazy to think how far I have come!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
About two weeks after I launched the business, I was laid off from my full-time job because of the pandemic, and I was paying for all the costs for starting the business out of my paycheck from that job. I really thought I was going to just have to sell what I had already made, and it would end there. For my first vendor fair, I was using my nightstands from my apartment pushed together with a dollar store table cover over it as a display table because I couldn’t afford to buy an actual folding table. It was rough, but with the support of my family and loved ones, as well as my customers, I made it through!

I also struggled a lot with brand identity. I got some advice from another maker in September of 2020 who told me, “If you wait for everything to be perfect, then you’ll never start. If you want to start this, just do it.” So taking her advise to heart, I just started selling on Instagram and Facebook and eventually made a website, but I didn’t even really know what TOPBUN was yet.

I didn’t have a mission statement, I didn’t have a slogan, I barely had a logo (which stuck to this day because a lot of people love it.) I also knew what I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want it to be average or juvenile. I wanted it to be classy and sophisticated, which is kind of hard to do when you have people suggesting that you put puppies, pumpkins and cartoon Santa’s on the masks. So I guess you could say struggled between trying to make the brand what I wanted it to be but at the same time, what my target audience wanted it to be.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have always wanted to own my own brand since I was young. I loved the whole idea of creating a product, merchandising it, marketing it, connecting with customers, the whole package. I think this came from religiously watching shows like Project Runway. I learned how to sew from my mom and grandma since I was old enough to reach the pedal. It’s like a second nature to me. The process of constructing a pattern, putting the pieces together, and then you end up with this beautiful work of art that you can wear! It was fascinating. I made all my own dresses for high school dances and events.

During my early 20’s I was merchandising manager for a national clothing retailer and a store manager for a national shoe retailer. I believe I got my attention to detail and the idea of how cohesive brands look from these professions. I also worked in the marketing industry for a few years, and I closely pay attention to my boyfriend’s profession as a social media marketer. I think all the exposure I have had to these situations has really helped me develop my own business. If you ask people about me, I bet they would say I am a hustler. If there is money to be made from an idea I have, I’m going to do it and not half-ass it. If it doesn’t work out, then at least I know it didn’t and then I move onto the next idea. I am always trying to come up with something new while staying on-trend.

I am most proud of starting this business! I currently have a full-time job, and part-time retail job, and a puppy who needs constant attention (obviously haha), as well as trying to maintain personal relationships. There are times where I wanted to give up so things would be “easier”, but I am proud of myself for carrying on.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
My biggest supporters are my family and loved ones. My boyfriend reminds me daily of how proud he is of me and cheers me on! My family is constantly reminding me they are proud and helped support me during my three months of unemployment so I could continue to grow the business.

The entire maker community has been really supportive! We share ideas, markets and just generally cheer each other on a daily business. It’s such an honor to be a part of a community of smart and brilliant women and watching each other’s brand grow! Extra Special credit to Mikayla from Golden Hour Designs. Watching her start a business as a new mom with multiple jobs really inspired me to just go for it and start mine.

And lastly, all my customers, there were friends from high school or old coworkers that I hadn’t talked to in years that would buy a new mask bundle every time it came out in the beginning. It actually helped me reconnect with people.

Pricing:

  • I don’t have anything over $20.

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