Erika Green ’18

Entrepreneur Erika Green stands outside with purse she created.

Wesleyan entrepreneurs and small business owners thrive.

Owner of Paisley and Gold Sewing (P&G), Erika Green ’18, began sewing as a hobby during her junior year at Wesleyan. Her first creation was a pillow cover, which she describes as misshapen and not fitting the pillow. Soon she moved on to baby burp cloths, sending them as gifts to friends and relatives. After watching a video on how to make a zipper pouch, she bought a yard of fabric and a zipper and it wasn’t long until she turned her hobby into her own small business, producing handmade bags of all sorts. “I started selling my burp cloths in October of 2016 at Smiley’s Flea Market. I would wake up around 5:00AM on Saturday mornings and load my car to get there early.” In February of 2017 she began selling pouches and wallets at the Wesleyan Market. Since then, she has personally made and sold over 1,500 bags online, at craft shows, and through wholesale orders. Today Erika makes bags exclusively – nine styles from her own patterns - but plans to expand her business to include a home décor line featuring pillows and modern quilts.

“As a small business owner, I always worry about whether or not an investment will pay off. I’ve taken many leaps of faith lately and I don’t regret a single one. I never knew that entrepreneurship was an option for me. It should be brought up in the ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ conversation the same as teachers and nurses.”

Now sewing with her fifth machine, Erika says her bag hardware and fabric are purchased from United States-based small businesses. Her leather is sourced from a father- and son-owned company in New York City. Erika lives in Columbus, Ohio, and Paisley and Gold is her full-time job. Recently she moved the business from her basement to a studio space in a building with other small business owners, painters, and sculptors. 

Erika says that she has been inspired and supported by women business owners. Today, most of her craft shows are run by women and women own most of the businesses at the shows. “There is much to be done so that the number of women-owned businesses continues to grow, specifically, resources for entrepreneurship such as grants, funding, and education. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for women in business.” 

Paisley Gold Sewing purse

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