Mother, daughter team to sell jewelry, bath bombs and other specialty items.
Tracie Lewis of Pratt and her 29-year-old daughter, Marlaina Cushenberry, of Ponca City, Okla., are both creative and interested in beauty and style. Together they discovered their creative talents had value, and they formed T&M Creations to share the results of their fun with others.
“Our creativity is your gift and our enjoyment,” Lewis said. “We are here to assist others with ideas and beauty they can be proud to wear with our clothing and jewelry.”
The duo’s enterprise got its official start in July 2017 with bath bombs.
Lewis said they began by making bath bombs for themselves and family. Cushenberry took the lead in making bath bombs and that lit the fire that continues to energize their commitment to excellence.
“Our wow moment was when we first made the bath bombs and loved how they felt, smelled, and colored, foamed and bubbled in the water! That was what got us going,” Lewis said.
They decided to test the waters, marketwise, and when they discovered there was a hungry market for home-crafted bath products, Cushenberry and Lewis both did research to improve their products. This led to the formation of T&M Creations, and a big wide world of craft fairs, Face- book and person-to-person marketing.
“We use all natural ingredients, no chemicals,” Lewis said. “Our best sellers are the Pineapple Mango-scented body-butter and soap.”
The team’s creative talents didn’t stop with bath products. Jewelry was another of their common interests and their crafted jewelry items are becoming as popular as their start-up bath products.
Cushenberry specializes in the lotions, scrub bars, massage oils and most of the bath products, while Lewis also crafts soap bars and jar body scrubs, plus creating jewelry and marketing a commercial line of fashion apparel and footwear.
Lewis uses the apparel to display her creative jewelry, reflecting her love of “bling.”
There’s been a mixture of fun and frustration along the way.
“It’s been fun working together, making products all hours of the night, joking, laughing and enjoying each others’ ideas and company,” Lewis said.
She recalled their first craft show in Coldwater where they tried to put everything in one vehicle.
“We got it in fairly good, but after the show, it seemed like several hours getting equipment back into the vehicle,” Lewis said.
Both women agreed that it is times like this that they count on the men in their lives to lend a hand.
“We’re lucky that they’re very supportive of us,” Lewis said.
Mother and daughter both work full time in the medical field. Lewis, a Registered Nurse, works in the Social Service Department at Pratt Regional Medical Center. Cushenberry, who earned her Certified Medical Assistant degree from Central Tech in Tulsa works as a CMA at Via Cristi Village in Ponca City. She also holds certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
The most difficult part of mother-daughter home-crafted business is marketing.
“Our frustration along the way has been trying to get out there and show our products,” Lewis said. “Our goal is to open a shop at Kaw City or Ponca City and travel some to fairs, craft shows and markets, as well.”
In the meantime, the entrepreneurs bring their creativity to customers through their Facebook site where they display photos that showcase their talents. They have had tables at local craft shows as well, with many satisfied Pratt-area customers.