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By Cynthia Haggitt
COVID has made a huge impact on businesses, especially entrepreneurs. Some businesses closed during the pandemic and some businesses such as, local t-shirt design companies like MABS, experienced a surge in the demand for their custom designs.
Deborah Benoist is a local entrepreneur. Benoist started her business last year during the pandemic and after her baby was born in March. She is a stay at home mom making big dreams come true one step at a time.
“My business is a custom design business and I just got started because I had a baby and my husband and I decided it would be best if I stayed home,” Benoist said. “Although staying home raising my baby is great, I was starting to get bored and I couldn’t go anywhere because of COVID. After some research, I just decided to start my own business. I have been making shirts at home for a while and decided to make a shop to help mommas get cute shirts for their kids and themselves!”
Benoist said after going to local fairs as a vendor, she has gained a popular following. “People have been starting to take notice of my designs and business orders have been picking up. I am pleased, business is doing well,” she said.
“Well at first I was just selling t-shirts but as I started acquiring a customer following I started to design not only t-shirts but it turned into keychains, photo blankets, photo frames, coffee mugs and even koozies,” Benoist said. “Most of my designs are done with vinyl, direct transfer film and sublimination.I have been doing this for about a year and nine months now. “
One of Benoist’s t-shirt designs is a cream colored shirt. The design has the Joe Page Bridge on the front of the shirt and it states ‘ Calhoun County est 1824’ and people have been asking her about it.
“ Well I was taking a lesson online and I noticed this photo of Calhoun and the bridge. I reached out to the photographer on Facebook and asked her if I could use the photo for a t-shirt design. She said yes as long as I gave her photo credit and I was ok with that,” Benoist said. “So, after thinking about it I messaged her and asked her for a picture of her autograph so I could attach it to the photo, so when I printed the shirt, I was then able to put it on the shirt with her autograph on it.”
Benoist mentioned the custom design t-shirts, personalized products and gifts are all the rage now and people love buying this type of merchandise. She said she is very active on social media and has her own website which is : https://mabsvip.myshopify.com/collections/new. Her webpage shows alot of different merchandise she has created. If you are interested in her creations you will be able to see MABS at the Old Settler’s Day in Kampsville, she has plans to be a vendor at the Downtown Country Christmas Festival in Jerseyville and she will be showing her designs at the Main Street shopping event on Oct. 6 at the new Rastello Room in Hardin.
Benoist said, “My future plans besides continuing with online orders and going to fairs is to look for a place to rent so I can set up shop permanently.”