Stay-at-home mom Cori Shaw Meloney of Waldorf may sometimes miss her former work in a busy newsroom, but not enough to give up her current status as the owner/designer of Peace, Baby! Batiks, a craft business located in her own kitchen.
Her at-home business of creating primarily baby and toddler handmade batik clothes began out of a desire to stay at home with her now 4-year-old son Quinlan.
“By necessity it’s a family affair,” Shaw Meloney said of her husband’s assistance with their son and other tasks that make it possible for her to grow her business of batik clothing. Batik comes from an ancient cloth-making technique traditionally using a manual wax-resist dyeing process, which originated in places such as Indonesia, Egypt and India.
Nearly two years ago, Shaw Meloney launched her handcrafted clothing items on the consignment website Etsy.com. Then, not seeing a regional group for Southern Maryland crafters and artists, she started one (www.etsy.com/teams/ 6752/southern-maryland-etsy-team).
The group now totals more than 70, according to Shaw Meloney. “We share information,” she said of the group. “You can’t just sit back with a website; you have to market it,” she said, and the Southern Maryland Etsy Team shares tips on how to do so.
The team consists of an array of Southern Maryland artists and crafters, making everything from jewelry to toys and from quilts to hair ribbons. Many are stay-at-home moms like Shaw Meloney.
How do these moms find time to create and market their goods? Shaw Meloney said she has to work first thing in the morning or during her son’s nap time in the afternoon. Her craft involves things not conducive to caring for young children, such as large vats of colorful dyes, hot wax and boiling pots of water.
Shaw Meloney began experimenting with batik after her mother-in-law gave her a batik skirt from Indonesia. She saw a “how to” batik article in a newspaper and decided to try it out. “It was trial and error at first, but I’ve gotten a process down,” she said.
As for many small business artists and crafters, the Internet has literally opened up a worldwide marketplace for Shaw Meloney. Even so, she still frequents locally-popular craft shows and events, such as Annmarie Garden’s Maker’s Market and the Sunset Concert Series at O’Donnell Lake, and her batiks are displayed at Mechanicsville’s Just Between Kids. She also said she is excited to have her wares at an Upper West Side Manhattan boutique called Stoopher & Boots in New York City.
Peace, Baby! Batiks has had success with little girls’ sundresses in bright yellows, blues, reds and pinks with peace signs, flowers and hearts on the front. However, Shaw Meloney is also partial to little boys (like her own), and she makes lots of T-shirts featuring airplanes, footballs and baseballs. The plane and helicopter prints go over well at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, she said. She also makes regionally-themed items with crabs and sailboats.
Recently, Shaw Meloney has been experimenting with burp cloths, and she’ll soon offer baby shower gift packages. Other options include special orders; Shaw Meloney said she is open to ideas. “I’ve always liked doing crafty things,” she said. “I like being at home. … I wouldn’t be anywhere else.” ✦
To purchase Shaw Meloney's products, visit www.etsy.com/shop/peacebabybatiks. Find Peace, Baby! Batiks on Facebook and Twitter, too.