Meet Your Maker: Karen of Tidy Diners

Meet Your Maker: Karen of Tidy Diners

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How did you start Tidy Diners?

After months of making baby bibs for my grandchildren, I started Tidy Diners, late in 2013. My children began asking me to make bib and burp pad sets for them to give as gifts. I received great feedback on the bibs and thought maybe I could try and sell them. I love to sew and wanted to make it more than a hobby if I could, so I looked into opening a “shop” online through Etsy, and began using that platform to sell my bibs in the spring of 2014. In the fall of 2014, I bought an embroidery machine and added monogramming and personalization of almost all my products as an option and that has really been a hit with my customers.

Business has been good/steady on Etsy, however, it was the invitation to be a part of The Market 301 in January of this year that has opened up several new doors and turned my hobby into an almost full-time job. With this exposure to a new audience, I realized I would need to sell more than just bibs and burp pads and began adding a few new items to my shop. Now I have baby blankets and aprons for kids and adults.

It was from a customer at The Market 301, that my business received a huge boost. I have now branched out into a completely new direction that I never even thought of. I was asked to make some pet collars, bandanas and bow ties for the family-owned, Lexington-based pet store, Incredipet. Their “Marketing Promotions Director” said the family wanted to support local “makers”/small businesses and this would be a great start. I am happy to report that Incredipet is now selling Tidy Diners doggie bandanas and bow ties!

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What’s next for Tidy Diners?

It’s very exciting to start selling these new products at a Lexington, family owned business and I hope to have my bibs in some local boutiques in the near future. My plan is to have my own website and online store up and running within the next few months!

What is your favorite thing about Lexington?

My favorite thing about Lexington is the small town friendliness you feel everywhere you go, the continuous growth of the city means more people are moving here or are staying here and that speaks volumes about what a great place it is to live. No to mention some neighborhoods have horse farms just beyond their backyards!

Are you originally from Kentucky?

I was born on Long Island in New York and my dad worked for IBM so as a lot of folks know, that stands for “I’ve Been Moved” or at least that was how it was for our family. We ended up in Lexington in the late 70’s, I graduated from Henry Clay HS (a year early) so that I didn’t have to move to NJ, with my family. I started at UK in the fall of ‘78 and graduated in ‘82. In 1981, I met my husband of 34 years Edmond. He had just come over to Kentucky from Ireland to work on a horse farm and we were married here in Lexington in 1982.

Tell us about your family. Children? Cats? Dogs?:

We have 5 children, ages 21-30, all live in or just outside of Lexington and 4 grandchildren under the age of 4! In 1992 we started our own thoroughbred farm, Gaulstown Stud, named for my husband’s family farm in Kilkenny, Ireland. In 2004 we bought 140 acre farm in Harrodsburg and we have been here ever since, raising both horses and cattle. I have been running the farm office since we’ve been in business.

We currently have two cats, and for the first time in 30 years we are dog-less, however, all our children have at least one dog and they all visit the farm frequently.

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Tidy Diner Lexington Favs:

Restaurant: Bella Notte (family favorite)

Pub: McCarthy’s

Grub: The Ho (Tolly Ho from UK days)

Sweet: Caramanda’s Cupcakes

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