#SmallBizSpotlight Featured Member: Shelila Culver


Culver Cutie Boutique

Shelila Culver, owner of Culver Cutie Boutique, quickly turned from rock-star mom to personal designer of, probably the cutest dance totes you can find. She knew every talented little diva needs a fashionable yet functional bag to be prepared for each performance. Since launching her line of tutu bags, Shelila is now selling in retail stores around the country, and have even been spotted on the arms of Hollwood's little ones, including Suri Cruise. Shelila shares how she built her business and in this week's #SmallBizSpotlight.

Shelila Culver on using her Fashion Design and Merchandising degreeWhat inspired you to get started?
I discovered the idea while fulfilling a request from my two beautiful daughters to make a dance bag for their ballet class.  They loved the bags, as well as, the other kids in their ballet class and the other mothers.  From this experience, I began making dance bags out of my home and selling them on the internet.

How did the bags catch on so quickly? What did you do to grow?
I called buyers for other specialty/dance stores, told them about our product, and sent them a sample of our product along with a volume pricing sheet. Once the buyers received our product, they were very interested in purchasing our product.

What was your background? Was it in what you are doing now?
I received a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising. I never pursued anything with my undergraduate degree until now.

Katie Holmes and Suri with a Culver Cutie Dance Tutu Bag

What challenge have you had to face that led to a big growth for your company?
My dance bags have become very popular. I was selling them to other companies, as well as individual customers and it became very difficult for me to meet the demands. Due to these high demands, my dance bags are mass produced.

What do you have going on in your business right now that you're excited about?
Recently, our pageant bags were filmed on Toddler & Tiaras. The show will air in June or July. These bags have not been added to our website yet, but can be found on our facebook page.

How did you get the bag on Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise? How exciting! Was it one of your retail stores that made the sale to them?
Not only do we sell our products in retail stores, but we also sell on Zulily. We started selling on Zulily early last year. However, it wasn't until one of our summer events on Zulily that we had an increase in sales on the black and hot pink tutu bag. The event started on Thursday and by Friday morning we were sold out of the the black and hot pink bag! Later that evening, I did a search on Google for our bags (just to see who or if anyone was talking about them ) and found bloggers discussing that Suri Cruise was spotted carrying a black and hot pink tutu bag, and the bag she was carrying was a Culver Cutie tutu bag which can be found on our website, as well as, on Zulily!

Where would you love to see your business in 5 years?
I would like to have world-wide product/brand recognition.