MESQUITE — Hair bows are a staple for girls going to church on Easter Sunday, but few likely know that tens of thousands of them come from a single mom in Mesquite.
"The ability to be able to take something from scratch and make it beautiful is amazing to me," said 42-year-old Audra Mitchell. "It's just like artwork."
She founded It’s a Girl Thing on her kitchen table when her daughter was young. Looking back, it’s something she never expected to do for a living.
"No. Not for a living," she said.
Her manufacturing facility in Mesquite is an explosion of color.
"To me it's a bow business on steroids," she said. "It's every color, every size imaginable,."
There’s sheer, satin, canvas and burlap. It appears as if she has spool of every ribbon made.
"No, almost,” laughed Mitchell. “That's how women shop, right?"
She now employs 10 people, who make about 1,000 bows a day for stores across the country.
"Going to the office, fighting through traffic, trying to get home if the kids are at day care; all of the struggles of being a mom come into play for me," Mitchell said. "This is freedom."
Her success is not an isolated story. Over the last 20 years here in Texas, the number of women-owned businesses in the state has almost doubled, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners and a report commissioned by American Express.
Across the country, the report added, women entrepreneurs are hiring a lot more people than men are.
"I'm really not surprised," said Tracy Schwegman, who owns Kid to Kid stores. "I think more women and more women want to find alternatives to the 9-to-5."
Mitchell’s bows are one of the most popular items at the Kid to Kid stores, a chain of children's resale shop.
"Putting three kids through college at the same time is going to be kind of a challenge so I just really want to be able to set myself up where we can send the kids to college and not have it be such a struggle," she said.
Both women work longer hours now but define success by doing it for themselves.