Sisters-in-law work together to craft items

Published 10:05 am Thursday, December 8, 2011

A beaded drink set, hand crafted by Amy Wacholz and Betsy Ravenhorst of Hollandale. The duo started their business, All the Rave, last June. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

By Brandi Hagen, staff writer

HOLLANDALE — What started as a hobby for two women is becoming a dream come true.

Last spring, crafty sister-in-laws Amy Wacholz and Betsy Ravenhorst had an itch to work on a project together. They decided beading glassware was going to be their medium. They would call themselves, “All the Rave, A & B Creations.” Rave, referenced Ravenhorst, Betsy’s married name and Amy’s maiden name.

Personalized coffee mugs are a popular selling item for Amy Wacholz and Betsy Ravenhorst, a sister-in-law duo who started their own business last June.

From June until September, the two busied themselves on making an inventory of items that they could show off at the upcoming Hollandale Harvest Festival.

According to Wacholz, it was a big step for them, and they were almost expecting it to be a “major flop” because Hollandale isn’t a very big town.

“At that point still in September, we would say business, but just kind of giggle because we just made some stuff and we were going to show it to people,” Ravenhorst said.

To their amazement, the orders started coming in and people were interested in what they had come up with. Since they were so successful at the festival, the two women started taking their glassware to other craft shows and their success grew.

Wacholz said after the festival they figured they better get down to business, making a page on Facebook, joining the craft-oriented website Etsy and going to other craft shows.

This china cabinet, contains what Amy Wacholz and Betsy Ravenhorst of, All the Rave, in Hollandale, consider to be their wall of shame. They were projects they had worked on but for some reason or another didn’t turn out.

Their family and friends had been very supportive ordering from All the Rave, but what really motivated the women to keep trying at their business was when they would get orders from people they didn’t know.

“Oh my gosh. We high-five each other all the time, we get so excited,” said Ravenhorst.

Maybe the most supportive, without even knowing it, is Ravenhorst’s husband Mike, who little by little is losing the space he had in the basement.

“We sneakily move some of my brother Mike’s hunting things to a different part of the basement and steal his drawers and storage areas to put our stuff in,” said Wacholz.

While many men would object to giving up their man space, Wacholz said he hasn’t complained too much.

Tucked away behind their basement workspace is a cabinet where glassware is hidden from view. The women refer to it as their wall of shame. Some of the glasses inside were completed painted while others had defects from not using the correct material.

“This is our reminder that we did start fresh, and we had no idea what we were doing,” Ravenhorst said. “We don’t want to get rid of them because we were horrible at first and this is a reminder we’re doing OK.”

Ravenhorst believes that the two different design personalities her and Wacholz have is what makes their possibilities endless. She said Wacholz is the one who will put together something very colorful, while her own style is more neutrals, blacks and whites.

To broaden their horizons and also interest more people, the pair have expanded their beadwork from just drink glasses to coffee mugs and silverware, including cheese spreaders and cake servers. Sometimes, they just walk around a store and find things they could bead.

“Nothing feels better than hearing our products were the talk of Thanksgiving or Christmas,” Wacholz said.

One of their biggest and most exciting projects thus far has been designing the champagne flutes for the head table at their cousin’s wedding. All the way down the table you could see the wedding party picking up and examining their glasses. People were even going up to take pictures of them.

“Amy and I were at different tables but we can see each other,” said Ravenhorst. “We’ve got thumbs up and were smiling at each other. It was pretty comical. We sat and watched the table the whole time. You could tell they were just as excited about them as we were.”

All the Rave has been so busy that the women are about two weeks out with their orders now. They have plans to do three more weddings in the future. Hopeful they continue to stay busy, the pair still thinks if it doesn’t work out, the journey they have had is all worth it.

“If it just ends up being something that is building our relationship together, then that’s OK,” Ravenhorst said. “We’ve had this time together, we’re building these memories. We are making a name for ourselves. We’re getting known as the two girls that bead wine glasses.”