Combined Talents Lead to New Business

In a dining room two women share a friendship, talents and lots of imagination. Gretchen McDowell is now a jeweler all because of a teenage mishap.   McDowell said, "It started from a necklace breaking and I said, 'I can make earrings and bracelet with it. And that's what happened. I started out at 16 doing that."   Deborah Cotton, a confessed shopaholic, likes clothes. So she designs them. From an ordinary pair of jeans and an old tablecloth, or other fabrics she recreates the denim skirt.  Cotton said, "Customers look at our skirts and you can hear them say, 'We can do that,' so our slogan is, 'Yes you can, but will you?'"

Eight months ago the women began Dirtee Girtees, the name comes from combined childhood stories. The result is blended creativity.   Cotton said, "We've had home parties and we go to arts and craft shows." The women often test market their creations with friends and co-workers. That helps them predict marketing appeal.

Shop with the Dirtee Girtee girls and you may go in looking rather conventional and once out 'country glam.' McDowell defined it as, "'Country Glam' is funky, punky, whatever. You make it your own style." Cotton said, "you can dress it up. You can dress it down."

And like any enterprise there's a plan. Deborah's venture is Internet sales. Gretchen's dream is their own shop.  Dirtee Girtee's can be found at this year's Holiday In The Pines at the Fredonia Hotel.