Necessity is often the mother of invention, which is how Cynthia Talley arrived at her sleeping and chair bag business, Happi-Nappi.
Eighteen years ago,Talley left behind her corporate sales job to be at home with her two young children.
It was during the Beanie Baby craze that Talley began seeing women sewing tiny sleeping bags for the popular plush toys. Then, at the school where she was a substitute teacher, Talley noticed kids shivering on the floor during naptime. She had an epiphany: she would start a business stitching sleeping bags for children.
“I’ve always been very mechanically inclined. And I knew one day I wanted to start my own business,” she says. “I wanted to prove to myself and my dad that I could do it.”
She started out small, in a room of her home, and focused on chair bags and sleeping mats. When she made sales calls, she brought her kids along. While she pitched her product to day care directors, the children played on the playground; at conventions, they helped out or tucked under the table to play games while their mother worked.
Eighteen years later, this Mississippi-born entrepreneur employs a staff of nine who work at the 4,000-square-foot factory she maintains near the airport. She proudly buys U.S.-made fabrics for the goods they produce. “It’s about keeping jobs in America,” she notes. Happi-Nappi serves more than 4,000 customers nationwide.
So how has her small company survived in this tough economy?
“I’m frugal, I watch my expenses, and I don’t get overextended,” she says matter-of-factly.
Ultimately, Talley remains committed to personal service, and still delivers products locally. If you’re looking for a durable chair bag or a sleeping bag, Happi-Nappi has you covered
Sleeping bags, $32.95, chair bags, $12.95happinappi.com