Success Stories

Alumna creates online garment company

Korrie Ottenwess with her daughter

Korrie Ottenwess received a sewing machine upon graduation, but it sat in her closet for ten years until she became a mother. Unimpressed with the options for children’s dress-up clothes, she began to sew princess-like clothes for her daughter.

A $100 investment that began on her kitchen table has turned into a successful business, making over $100,000 a year in sales.

Since 2008, pettiskirts, rompers, and tutu tights make up her DreamSpun Kids shop.

Ottenwess, who holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in public administration from Grand Valley, said her education played a significant role in the success of DreamSpun Kids.
 
“A communications degree complements any field you go into,” said Ottenwess. “My journalism classes taught me how to write press releases and be attractive to the media, and my speech and nonverbal communication classes help with communicating with employees and customers.”

Ottenwess, her husband, and two employees cover the 40-plus orders they receive each day. She said one in 100 orders stay local, with Texas bringing in the majority, holding one out of every five orders.

She also works at Priority Health as a researcher. “Most people are either left-brained or right-brained, but I feel I am both,” said Ottenwess. “I get to do both sides of what I love, as one side of me is very passionate about research, while the other likes to be creative.”

Although her creations focus on toddlers and children, her pettiskirts are available in adult sizes, and are popular for bridesmaids, proms, and Halloween.

“My favorite thing is when you ship a box off with something you worked really hard on, and then a few weeks later you get sent a picture of a little girl smiling ear to ear, and you can tell how happy the item made her,” Ottenwess said.

by Sarah Schultz

This story was filed with the tags: Entrepreneurship, Graduate Alumni