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Hobby Course

The way to a great business? She went with a hobby.

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This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Thirteen years ago, Shelli Gardner was a stay-at-home mom looking for an opportunity that would give her a flexible schedule and let her work at home. Intrigued by direct sales, Gardner and her sister, LaVonne Crosby, created a company to satisfy their business needs and fuel their creativity, turning to their favorite hobby, rubber stamping, for inspiration. Stampin' Up! Inc. was born.

The company now manufactures and sells exclusive lines of rubber stamps and accessories through its 18,000 independent consultants, or "demonstrators." With more than 400 stamp sets and a variety of accessories in its 250-page catalog, sales for 2000 were just under $100 million. "We have some demonstrators who make over $100,000 a year-easy," says Gardner, 39.

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