Shannon Smith Cancila was inspired to start her business called Scarves by Shan from her Pinterest hobby of finding easy crafts, activities and recipes. "I only looked at them (Pinterest ideas) and saved them to a virtual board…that is until, I watched a link for a video that demonstrated how very easy it is to re-purpose T-shirts into beautiful, fun accessories," she told Patch.
Because T-shirts are so soft, casual and comfortable, Cancila said it makes sense to lean them more to casual events, such as supporting sports team games or events—hence the school color choices for her products and their popularity.
She produces three styles of scarves:
- Infinity loop style, which can be doubled as a necklace and accessorized with a flower pin; ($10 for scarf and $8 for flower pin)
- Ruffle style, usually two to three color choices ($10)
- Ruffle style with pom-poms ($20)
"I never thought that having a business that I can do from home, and smile the entire time while doing it, was possible," said Cancila.
She said the idea was born from having surgery in September, and wanting something to occupy my time while being home to recover. "I knew how much I liked making these for myself and family members, and how positive the response was. I made some for a few friends who “sold” some for me!!"
"I decided to post some pics online, and the response was truly overwhelming," she said. "I love making these for friends and customers and knowing that they have an accessory that is fun to wear and show their team spirit."
She said the scarves are a simple, affordable way to connect with groups or teams.
Her sources for T-shirts range from originally taking her husbands, to thrift stores/re-sell shops and donations, as word has spread.
Lead times for orders vary, she said, as finding the “right” school colors can sometimes be a challenge due to never knowing what will be available at thrift stores. But she said most orders can be done within one to two weeks. "I get the shirts home, wash and dry them, cut and assemble and then sew by hand or machine."
Maintaining the scarves simply means washing with the least amount of spin or just soaking in detergent and rinsing—no dryer, as the scarves tend to want to coil up even tighter, she said. "Just lay flat to dry."
Cancila said she does not have a fashion or retail background. She is a former teacher. "I’ve always enjoyed making crafts, and trying different ideas or inventing my own. Grandma was a home economics/foods/sewing teacher and I think if she were alive, she would be proud that a tiny bit of that trait has continued in the family line! I actually use her sewing machine."