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Local napkins are a hit

What began as a hobby is now a full-fledged business



Ann Christian’s avocation of making her own cloth napkins out of eclectic and colorful textiles for use at her home was one she’d been doing for years. Now it's developing into a full-fledged business venture by her and her sisters.

I FOLD :  New SLO business Picking Daisies has found a niche selling washable, colorful, cloth napkins. - PHOTO PROVIDED BY PICKING DAISIES
  • I FOLD : New SLO business Picking Daisies has found a niche selling washable, colorful, cloth napkins.

Picking Daisies, a new retail business run by Christian and her sisters, Kay Porczak and Dede Bruington, is based in downtown San Luis Obispo.

“Ann had been making cloth napkins for years, and guests to her home loved them and would continually suggest that she sell them,” said Bruington. “We started out selling them at craft fairs, and we’ve been successful at selling them largely through a word-of-mouth process.”

The trio designs their napkins with fabrics provided by a local quilter, and has found that the simplicity of their business has facilitated the flourishing of their company. All sewing is done in-house, and the sisters have been able to streamline the production process since the business only offers one product

“People love the idea of a napkin store, and we’ve been well received by the community for offering an affordable, usable, practical, and eco-friendly way to set the dinner table, while dazzling it at the same time,” said Bruington. “People have enjoyed the price of a high-quality American-made product, especially one that’s produced by a local company which is employing local people.”

The sisters, all of whom are Cal Poly alumni, eventually realized it had become too cumbersome to be producing the napkins out of their homes, opting instead to lease retail space in the Creamery. Since then, the popularity of their product has continued to increase along with sales.

“It’s great that a hobby has been able to turn into a successful business, especially since we started out just to see if we could earn a little extra money,” said Christian. “Each of us has our own individual strengths, and now a few stay-at-home moms are able to make money while spending time with the people we care about.”

All napkins produced by Picking Daisies are pre-washed and sewn with a mitered corner to help them last longer. They can be machine washed and dried.

“What’s funny is that other seamstresses have seen our product and have told us that we’re not charging enough for them,” Christian joked. “But these napkins are a great way to break people out of their mold, and can be a great gift or souvenir at the same time.”

Picking Daisies is open from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, in the Creamery in downtown San Luis Obispo. More information can be found by visiting

Intern Aaron Gaudette compiled this week’s Strokes&Plugs. Send your business news to [email protected].

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