When Barbara Hamilton and her husband, Kerm, bought Carry Covers, a company producing coordinated baby accessories five years ago, her business experience consisted of making crafts at home.
But through hard work and trial and error, the Hamiltons have built the business to a point where they cannot fill the orders fast enough for customers, mainly in eastern states, Southern California and Texas.The business has grown so rapidly the Hamiltons recently moved from 5,000 square feet of space at 6950 S. Fourth West into 15,000 square feet at 6520 S. Third West, Murray. In addition, their son, Weston, manages Baby Suite stores at 33 W. 106th South in Sandy and in the Plumb Tree Plaza in Provo while he attends Brigham Young University.
Their main purpose in buying the business was to provide employment for their children while they attended school.
Mrs. Hamilton finds it ironic that despite the large baby population in Utah, Carry Cover products don't do well in the state. She believes it is poor marketing by several outlets which, in her opinion, didn't display the accessories properly.
"You have to display the various items in a crib so the buyer can see exactly what they'll look like. Many of the stores refused to do that," Mrs. Hamilton said, so sales in Utah aren't brisk.
It's a different story in other states. The Hamiltons recently returned from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association show in Dallas to introduce a new line of baby accessories for 1989, and orders are quickly coming in.
Carry Covers features, among other things, baby crib bumper pads, comforters, crib sheets, diaper bags, wall sculptures, high-chair pads, burp bibs, changing table covers and apron bibs - all covered with the same coordinated material. if you don't like anything in their catalog you can special order almost anything.
Bringing the company to its present status of 27 employees, which includes inspectors, seamstresses, material cutters and sales representatives in various parts of the country, hasn't been easy. The Hamiltons thought they were buying a company with a good reputation, but that wasn't the case and they had to pay several old bills.
Mrs. Hamilton designs her own accessories and has the finished material sent from the mills to material converters who provide the finished material in bolts so she gets the desired colors and designs. From there the material is cut into the required sizes, sewed together and stuffed with padding when necessary.
She always liked patchwork products, and Carry Covers' lines reflect that. In explaining her desire to design the material, Mrs. Hamilton said, "We want to sell understated elegance."
In addition to the trade shows they attend, the Hamiltons have developed a full-color catalog to display their products and 13 representatives across the country market them to stores. By the trial and error method, Mrs. Hamilton has put all of the company's inventory and finances on computer.
The Hamiltons met at East High School, and after they were married left Salt Lake City so Mr. Hamilton could work for JC Penney company in several areas of the country. They returned to Salt Lake City in 1977 and he worked for JC Penney in the area until he retired and took over the job as sales manager for Carry Covers last June.