CRESTON With a population of around 2,000 in 2019, Creston is a small village located almost 13 miles north of Wooster. Next to a laundromat and just off the main street through the village, there is a small family business called 3 Moms Stitchin.
This shop is owned by two local grandmothers who spend their days sewing and making a variety of things at home and in the back of the shop. The products they make change over time based on what their customers want, but most of the customers who buy their products tend to share one thing: their love of motorcycles.
3 Moms Stitchin is a sewing and embroidery company that sells patches with a range of patterns, according to the company’s website. Co-owner Susie CampBell said she offers a variety of designs, with occasional commission work, but some of the more popular designs they create include skulls, wings, and military patches.
Between all the events they attend, the people who visit their store, and the online orders they receive, CampBell and co-owner Bonnie Ramsier create and sell thousands of items each year. While this female-run business has grown over the years, it has only been around for a short time and has had its fair share of struggles.
The story behind 3 Moms Stitchin
Prior to opening the business, Ramsier had several years of leatherworking experience sewing his first patch while helping the owner of Cycle Leather with a show in Daytona.
âI started working for him, then we became partners. And then when I decided not to travel full time, we broke up, âRamsier said. ââ¦ So I continued to do shows and I met Susie. She started to walk with me and we realized that we looked a lot alike, good and bad.
The two met at a party hosted by Ramsier’s son, who lived next door to CampBell, and from that point on, the two continued to grow closer over the years as they visited together at motorcycle shows and festivals across the country. It wasn’t until 2012 that Ramsier and CampBell officially launched their business when they bought their first embroidery machine together, CampBell said.
The name of the company, 3 Moms Stitchin, comes from the three women who were to start the business: CampBell, Ramsier and Ramsier’s daughter-in-law. But after her family started to grow, Ramsier’s daughter-in-law left the company, but CampBell and Ramsier wanted to keep the name.
“When we go to Sturgis [a largeÂ motorcycle rally], we’re taking two other women to sew patchesâ¦ so there’s always an extra mom here and there to help, âRamsier said. “… or we used to say that our embroidery machine was the third mom.”
Details about their work and how they give back
Even though there are now only two Moms running the business, they work countless hours to handcraft every item that comes out of their store and have even continued to develop what they do.
At the end of 2018, CampBell and Ramsier bought another small business known as Eagle Leather, expanding their merchandise to now include products such as leather motorcycle bags, vests and jackets. As leather goods have become popular with their customers, they have started to bring them to motorcycle shows and festivals that they tour the country every year, and they have been a big hit.
Even though they were recently reduced to just five shows a year, CampBell and Ramsier still travel throughout Ohio and several other states, such as Georgia, South Dakota, and Arkansas, for shows and performances. bike gatherings throughout the year.
âBecause we go to different states, we get orders from all over the place,â CampBell said. âWe sent letters all over the world. We sent patches to Australia, Austria, England, Canada. We have sent fixes all over the world.
At a motorcycle rally last year, Ramsier said he made over 1,000 patches during the rally and still had over 200 orders to fill when they returned to their store. With all the orders they get, the two meet thousands of people but find themselves bonding with a lot of them and a lot of people calling them “Mom.”
âIn the biker community there is a lot of camaraderie and you hardly ever get the difficult customer,â Ramsier said. “I went up to a booth, when I had a minute, and he [the man running the stand] said ‘Oh, you’re one of the moms, aren’t you?’ and I said ‘Yeah.’ and he said, âYou are a machine! “”
Even with the volume of orders they get each year for their normal patches and bags, Ramsier and CampBell also do commission work and even try to give back to their community in various ways.
Some of the commission work they’ve done includes commemorative badges for individuals, special rides and fundraisers, or even new logos for groups and clubs.
âWe do a ton of memory fixes for deceased loved ones,â Ramsier said. ââ¦ When we have to deal with people who are going through this grief, it’s moving. And you almost don’t want to charge them, but we especially love doing them.
Outside of the commissions they work for, local organizations, such as Bauman Orchards Inc., have asked for their help with projects.
The Orchard asked if they could make a leather version of their mascot Corey, an apple core, which they could use for events and Ramsier and CampBell gladly did. Years later when the stain on the leather started to fade, the orchard asked if they could order a second one and both moms were more than happy to do so.
With all the work the two have created over the years, and especially at the shows they visit, CampBell and Ramsier have been able to help their community while creating the patches and leatherwork they love. However, as many small businesses experienced last year, staying open and afloat became much more difficult when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
The effects of the pandemic on the company
At the start of the pandemic, 3 Moms Stitchin kept its doors open, but as the pandemic progressed Ramsier and CampBell realized it might be safer to shut the store down.
âWe had a full-time girl in the back who did a lot of the work thereâ¦ but during the pandemic, it was better to stay home rather than go to work,â Ramsier said. “She went on and got another job, and it ended up being a blessing for us because it was a slack time.”
When information emerged on how small businesses could get help, after reading the guidelines, CampBell said they realized they were not entitled to anything.
âWe continued to hook up and he [orders] got skinny, âCampBell said. “And sometimes if something was late, we would just call and say, ‘Hey, we’re doing our best. We will send it to you as soon as possible. And we did, we stayed afloat that way.
As the two closed their store, thousands of events were canceled, including the countless biker shows and festivals they attended each year. Although they receive orders online and in their store, most of the orders they receive are from these shows, so when they were canceled it hit them hard.
âGoing to a show, it’s just a big influx of money and money into the business and we didn’t have that,â Ramsier said. ââ¦ We’ve had people drop off a few cases, but not like we’re doing now. ”
One of the only shows that had yet to take place was the Great Cycling Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, and CampBell and Ramsier were unsure if they were going to attend.
“When Sturgis arrived you know it’s hundreds of thousands of peopleâ¦ but we thought we had to go because we knew if we didn’tâ¦” Ramsier said, then stopped. “And then we were scared too ‘what if no one comes?’ ”
They prepared for the show like any other year, packing their sewing and embroidery machines and drove to the show. With the pandemic still rampant, Ramsier said he made around 60 masks marked “Sturgis 2020”, and they immediately sold out.
“The people there, because they weren’t out, it was like they couldn’t throw their money at us fast enoughâ¦ it was like they were dying to buy stuff. “said Ramsier. âBetween having three less people to pay, feed and house … and the fact that there were a lot of people, we probably did as well as when we had a full crew because our expenses were down. ”
Despite the high cost of a booth at such a large show, CampBell said last year’s sales to Sturgis helped them through the winter and this year.
Come back and look to the future
Even with the hardships they faced last year due to the pandemic, Ramsier and CampBell were able to open their store doors and resume business as usual. Shows and rallies canceled last year are returning and 3 Moms Stitchin is set to return.
Looking to the future, Ramsier said he has started a few new projects and talked about making new types of products.
An ax throwing company in Medina called TimberBeast Ax Throwing asked them to make backpacks that could hold the axes. Once a prototype of the backpack was made, TimberBeast ordered around 100 backpacks and Ramsier and CampBell have been working on it ever since.
Ramsier and CampBell have also talked about expanding the types of materials they use and the items they make to include pet items, but have yet to sue.
However, despite the unknowns about what projects they will do next, what items they might sell, and overall where the future of their business might take them, one thing they do know is that the people they’ve bonded with and get to know are what keep them coming back every year.
âFor me, it’s relationships. And first of all, my relationship with Bonnie, âCampBell said. âWhen I met Bonnie I could barely sew a button and now I sew in living rooms, I sew here. And Bonnie is like a sister to me and so for me that’s it, it’s relationships.
Contact Rachel Karas at [email protected]
On Twitter: @ RachelKaras3