About Bowdabra

About the Bowdabra

The story of Sandy Sandler’s success as a product marketer begins in 1990, when she introduced the “Klika” to the U.S. market. Over 3 million Klikas sold in just nine months. It wouldn’t be so easy when she introduced her Bowdabra® a few years later, but Sandy’s faith and certainty in the crafter’s product kept her knocking on doors all the way to Australia before she got a distributor’s “yes.” 

After a few years developing a variety of import/export programs for companies, Sandy started Blue Zebra Corporate Gifts in 1990. A few years later, Blue Zebra Corporate Gifts gave birth to Corporate Gifts, Inc.; a company that helped people launch their own gift basket businesses from home. The kit included partnership with several hundred dedicated manufacturers, a book on starting a business, a book on creating gift baskets, and a few supplies to get started with – all for under $100.

As you can imagine, a gift basket is not complete without a bow, and Sandy was having a hard time training people to hand-tie professional-looking bows. She wasn’t alone. When she attended gift and craft trade shows, Sandy recognized that the bow-tying workshops always drew crowds. However, despite the demonstrators’ best efforts, retailers as well as experienced crafters were still unable to create professional bows on their own.

There were a couple bow-makers on the market, but Sandy was consistently disappointed in their quality and difficulty to use. At this point, she realized there just might be a market for an easy-to-use bow-maker that actually created beautiful, hand-tied bows.

After a great deal of research, Sandy contracted with a design engineer and began working on the Bowdabra. When it was finished, she had an inexpensive “goof-proof” bow-maker that made a wide range of professional-looking bows. With the help of an angel investor, production began on the Bowdabra and Sandy prepared to begin presenting it to retailers.

She was certain that retailers would love it – and they did; they just didn’t buy it. With other bow-makers on the shelves, craft retailers were unwilling to stock the Bowdabra – though they sung its praises. Frustrated with paltry response to the Bowdabra by the U.S. market, Sandy called upon her MBA in International Business and headed overseas.

Sandy attended the Premier Trade Show, a Christmas-oriented show, in Frankfurt, Germany, where she approached ribbon manufactures with the Bowdabra. A Swiss ribbon manufacturer, the Kuny group, expressed interest in the bow-making contraption and suggested that Sandy join their booth at HIA Europe to demo the Bowdabra with their ribbons. They also promised to introduce her to their distributors. Sandy accepted the offer headed to Maastricht, Holland for the show.

The plan was to alternate between a hand-tied bow demo and the Bowdabra. Visitors would make a bow and take it with them at one of eight “make it and take it” stations. The response to the Bowdabra was so strong there weren’t any hand-tied demos – just the Bowdabra. When day one of the show ended, Kuny approached Sandy and asked that she not show the Bowdabra to any other distributors. The ribbon manufacturer developed Kuny packaging, a 30-minute video, and began marketing the Bowdabra in Europe.

Bowdabra began to sell in Europe, Brazil, and Australia. Sandy decided it was time to bring the product back state side and created Nuvelle Crafts, LLC. In December of 1998, the Bowdabra debuted on QVC, selling as many as 11,375 units in 14 minutes on air. Over time, QVC topped $2.5 million in retail sales of the Bowdabra.

Today, crafters can find the Bowdabra in retail stores like ACMoore, Michaels, and Hancock Fabrics. In addition to the Bowdabra, Nuvelle Crafts also offers ribbons, accessories, and instructional videos on using the Bowdabra for home and bridal décor.

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