JOPLIN — A Neosho resident who started making headbands and bows participated in the bi-annual CMN Miracle Market, held Thursday and Friday at Freeman West Hospital, Joplin.
"Well, I have had a lot of requests from friends here at Freeman Hospital and just around the area to ask me to do a craft fair and I have never participated in one," said April Willis, owner of SVET Chique Bowtique and who also works as an RN in labor and delivery at the hospital. "But then working here at Freeman, especially working in OB, my heart is kind of set with obstetrics and premature babies, I see lots of that, so it is kind of dear to my heart to be able to help and pay back a little bit to the CMN."
Willis was just one of around 25 vendors who participated in the event, which was open to the Freeman Health System employees, the general public and patients.
Each vendor gave 20 percent of their sales back to CMN.
"All of the money stays local in our community," said Heather Lesmeister, special projects coordinator for CMN Hospitals. "We cover Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas, 14 counties in those states, and it helps children with medical needs. During these shows, we get about $8,000, our 20 percent per event."
This was Willis's first time to this event as a vendor.
"I had twin girls a year ago and I have always been a full time labor and delivery nurse here at Freeman," she said. "After I had the twins, I decided that I wanted to find some way where I could stay at home a little bit more with the babies. So back in November, I had some family pictures that were going to be taken and I made some headbands for my twins to wear, because I wanted something custom-made instead of just store-bought like everybody else had. Once I made those headbands, I posted them on my Facebook page and by the next morning, I had 13 private messages from friends asking me if I could make them some headbands similar to that. So I just kind of started doing that just as a thing for my friends.
"The next thing that I know, I had a lot of people asking me to open up a Facebook page, so I did, and as from the end of November until Thursday morning, I have 1,500 'likes,'" Willis said. "I pretty much ship all over the U.S., even to Barcelona, Holland and Ireland."
Lesmeister is pleased with the turnout from the event.
"It has been fantastic," she said. "We have had a good response, we have a great group of vendors. (Miracle Market) is something that the employees have asked for over the years."
For more information on Willis's business, visit www.facebook.com/svetchiquebowtique.
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