It was the summer of 2007 and Carol Paden had recently lost her corporate job. She was five months pregnant with her second child.
“It was during the time that cupcakes were really in, with Sprinkles coming out and everything was cupcake, cupcake, cupcake,” explained Paden, a Manhattan Beach resident and mother of three.
So naturally, when her friend showed her a fruit beanie she had knitted, Paden decided to modify the design into a cupcake. Without much thought, she posted a picture of it on her online Etsy store, Artology, which she had originally created to sell her paintings.
Then the orders began trickling in.
“And all of a sudden, I was constantly making cupcake hats,” she said, laughing. “There was a time period when I was shipping out five hats a day.”
What began as a way to ease the stress of her job loss manifested into quick success: two months into knitting her fuzzy cupcake beanies for babies, she was asked to appear on Martha Stewart’s talk show Martha, an opportunity she passed up because it seemed daunting at the time, Paden said.
Now, five years later, she is more comfortable with the volume of attention earned by her fuzzy creations. In addition to being featured in Pregnancy and Newborn magazines, her cupcake hats are sold in retailers such as Jackopatomus, a boutique store in Santa Monica that sells handcrafted kid items.
“It’s been a really strange experience for me because it just kind of happened,” Paden explained. “But I’m glad it did because it’s really given me the flexibility that I wouldn’t have if I worked at an office.”
Being your own boss means you can take time off whenever you want – “except December and February,” Paden noted, explaining that orders tend to flood in time for the holidays.
Artology cupcake and fruit hats for babies, which range from $19.50 to $21.75 depending on size, are available at www.etsy.com/shop/Artology.