You’ve probably seen Cassie Fillebrown’s work before. Her paper flowers have been featured pretty much everywhere, from celebrity events to fashion shows in New York City to ads for big companies like Amazon.
This isn’t what Cassie had in mind when she posted some origami flowers on her Etsy shop on a whim six years ago.
“I had been trying to bring in income while home schooling and staying home, and had an Etsy store trying to see anything and everything.”
After a year of trying, she wasn’t seeing much success.
That’s when she turned to a passion she’s had since childhood.
“I’ve been playing with origami since I was a kid. For Christmas one year I gave my mother an origami nativity set.”
Cassie created some flowers by hand and posted them on her Etsy shop. Within hours, people were placing orders for them. Thinking it was just a fluke, she posted more, and those sold too.
That’s when orders began rolling in from around the country and overseas. Brides looking for unique wedding décor, families celebrating birthdays and businesses looking for something different all wanted Cassie’s flowers.
“It kept going like that, and we kept saying it was just a phase. The first orders, I cut them by hand with a pair of tiny $10 scrapbook scissors. We agonized about purchasing that first $40 paper cutter!”
Cassie still can’t believe the success she’s had.
“I’m really shocked by who contacts me or where the orders go.”
Target and Amazon have used her flowers in advertising campaigns, and Aloft hotels decorate their lobbies around the world with the paper flowers she creates.
Each order is different, and Cassie loves the variety her job brings.
“It’s fun to be able to do different colors, different shapes and different sizes. This week is all white. Next week could be all pink.”
Cassie makes all of her flowers at home. When orders come in, the projects quickly become a family affair.
“My family has a love/hate relationship with the flowers. They’ve cut paper, they’ve prepped flowers, they’ve made more boxes than I can count.”
Having a side business she can do at home has had a huge impact on Cassie’s family. She was able to finish home schooling her children, and the money the business has brought in helped pay for her daughter to attend a private college.
“It has provided fun stuff, as well as concrete needs. My husband didn’t have to work as much during certain times, and I would have an order come in when we had medical bills to pay for.”
Cassie says anyone thinking about trying to turn their hobby into a profit should give it a shot.
“Go for it, because you never know what’s going to happen.”
She recommends starting small and using inexpensive or free online tools like Etsy and Instagram.
Despite six years and ups and downs along the way, Cassie said she still loves her job.
“It’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in any business ever!”
Cassie’s favorite part is the joy her flowers bring.
“I get to be a part of their special day, whether it’s a wedding, a 60th birthday party or the flowers end up hanging in their daughter’s nursery.”