Knightdale mom Tina Stalnaker looked for a way to pay for her daughters’ cheering activities and found a solution tied up in a bow
Q: You stay busy making different kinds of bows and hair decorations. It all started because your older daughter got involved with tumbling and cheering. Were you a cheerleader yourself in school?
A: I was not a cheerleader. I would cheer on my friends who played sports though (laughing). I played soccer a little bit in high school. And I do stress ‘a little bit.’
Q: How did making the bows come about? Is that something you have always been interested in?
A: No, until my daughter was involved in cheering, I had never made bows. My daughter began cheering with the XCA cheer team. The coach asked me if I could help her make some bows for the team. I told her I had never made bows but I would be willing to help. I figured out pretty quickly how to make them. I then began making them and selling them to help pay for cheering and tumbling. This type of cheering is not what most people think it is.
Q: How is it different?
A: This is competitive cheering. This isn’t like the former image of cheerleaders at a basketball game. There is a lot of tumbling. A lot of throwing. They make pyramids. They throw each other up and catch them. It is very physical. They compete with other cheer teams. We have been to Concord and we have been to Virginia for competitions.
Q: And how did you first sell your bows?
A: I would take them to the Market at the Park in Knightdale. There really wasn’t a big cheer crowd there. You don’t have a lot of cheerleaders at the park at 8 on a Saturday morning. I started not just making cheer bows but other kinds of bows – with school and college colors. I would have alligator clips, head bands. By word-of-mouth, I did have people find out I was selling them and I began to get orders. Not long after, I was getting team orders.
Q: Are you a North Carolina native?
A: I am from Columbia, Maryland. We moved here seven years ago. We wanted to be closer to my parents, and our family was growing so it was an opportunity to get a bigger house and larger tract of land.
Q: Your parents were here?
A: My parents moved down here because of my dad’s job. He was a manager with Hecht’s (department store. Macy’s replaced it at Triangle Towne Center.) He wanted to finish his career here in North Carolina so he retired from Hecht’s. After a couple of years traveling back and forth with a baby to visit them, we decided to move down here.
Q: You stay busy raising a family now but when you finished school, did you pursue a career? Growing up, was there a career field that interested you?
A: Growing up, I wanted to train killer whales at Sea World (laughing). That was my dream career. When I left school, I went to a business and travel school in Pittsburgh. I ended up working at BWI (Baltimore/Washington International Airport). It was not a bad job and you got to fly for free in your downtime. I later met my husband, got married and decided to stay home when we started our family.
Q: What other hobbies do you enjoy?
A: I enjoy gardening. I enjoy genealogy. When I have the time, I enjoy tracing my family’s history on the Internet. I began finding information about my dad’s mom and that side of the family. My grandmom’s dad passed away when she was 5. We didn’t know much of that family history. It is pretty cool. I came across church records. I came across records in German. Then you have to stop and try to translate another language. It is very time consuming but I enjoy it. You end up learning a lot more than just your family history.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a little business on the side, like making and selling bows?
A: I would tell them to pick something they like to do. Something that brings you pleasure so it is really not like working at all.
Correspondent Dena Coward