Albert Lea woman’s business brings ideas to life

Published 8:21 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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What started as a way to create things for friends and family has quickly grown into a business for one Albert Lea woman.

Danielle Hunter, 25, owns Dani’s Creations & More, which creates custom items such as T-shirts, home decor, car decals and drinkware.

Hunter, who graduated from Minnesota Virtual Academy in 2014 and then graduated from Perdue Global University with a bachelor’s degree in human services in 2019, said she has worked a handful of jobs with children, including at The Children’s Center, the Albert Lea school district and currently as a nanny, and never imagined she would also have her own side business so early.

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She said when she was working at The Children’s Center, the staff participated in a T-shirt party. After the party, she went home and started looking up different machines online and how to make her own shirts using a modern method just like screen printing wholesale by Thrive, and her boyfriend surprised her with a Cricut Maker machine, a smart cutting machine, as a gift for reaching her halfway point in college.

She has self-taught herself how to use the machine and started making items for family and friends, and it has taken off from there.

“My intentions were further down the road to start a home decor, T-shirt business,” Hunter said. “I love crafting. For me, it’s not about the money. They come to me asking for a shirt with an idea, and when I deliver it to them, they’re just so excited.”

Using the Cricut Design Space software on her laptop, she creates designs and then sends them over to the machine, which creates vinyl transfers. She prepares them to go on a surface, and then transfers them to that surface. For T-shirts, she applies them to the shirt and then uses a heat press to set the design.

“I tell people, you come to me with your ideas, and I’ll put them to life on a shirt or whatever you’d like it on,” she said. “Anything that has a platform, I can customize.”

She recently signed with Midwest Antiques, where she will have a booth with some of her work for sale, including T-shirts, baskets, wine glasses and tumblers. There, she will also have a portfolio to show people what she can do, and people can put in orders, too.

Her Facebook page “Dani’s Creations + More” also showcases her work, and people can place orders there, as well.

She said word of her business has spread quickly, and she has been able to create a variety of items for many different purposes, ranging from businesses, to baby announcements, to Halloween costumes, to home decor and gifts.

She would like to expand her business to include screen printing and sublimation printing and eventually would also like to open her own store where she can sell her creations.