DREAM CATCHERS, is a Native American store that specializes in hand-crafted leather goods, mandellas, blankets, actual buffalo hides, pottery and beads among others.
By: Pat Jacobs
Shawne Bowman and her mother have created their own niche with DREAM CATCHERS, a Native American store that specializes in hand-crafted leather goods, mandellas, blankets, actual buffalo hides, pottery and beads among others.
Located in Austintown, Ohio, the company opened on May 5th, 1993 and is the only store of its kind within the area. It aptly showcases the diversity and beauty of Native artwork. Items can be purchased retail or wholesale.
The store’s name comes from an Indian artwork called “dream catchers”. It’s a circle design that features a web, spider figure and extra webbing in the design’s center. There are beaded strings on each side of the circle. Attached to each string are several brightly colored feathers. The purpose is to confuse the bad dreams or nightmares as they don’t know the ins and outs of the web. Here they are caught and held to be destroyed by the morning light. Good dreams know the web’s ways and find their way to the center where they follow the feathers that float down to the dreamer.
Manager Bowman doesn’t have a business degree but does possess a strong retail background. She’s been selling her finds at shows across the country since age 8: “We’ve been doing this for several years. An aunt does all the store’s beaded earrings. My mother and I do all the dream catchers. In addition to the craft shows we were all formerly working out of our homes. As we started getting more and more orders we had a strong feeling and decided that the time was right to open our own store NOW.”
Funding initially was a problem; they were turned down by local banks and the SBA. Dream Catchers “We only wanted $5,000 but the banks wanted a minimum of at least $10,000 for a business loan.”
Everything fell into place however, when a financial settlement came through.
The mother-daughter duo has no future expansion plans but will still continue selling at art and craft shows, rodeos and summer events. They’d also like Dream Catchers to continue in the family.
There’s been some print and radio advertising but a lot has been by word-of-mouth. People from all walks of life are totally captivated.
“My advice to others,” said Manager Bowman” is that if you get that overpowering feeling to start your own business, roll with it! If you want it strongly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.”
About the Author:
Pat Jacobs is currently the writer/producer of “The World Of 1960s Music” blog on Yahoo 360 (degrees). She also writes features for www. ehow.com (how-to articles) and www.associatedcontent.com (various non-fiction).
She can be reached at Patj25@yahoo.com.