Heather Courville, a local entrepreneur who offers beautiful handcrafted children’s clothing and accessories through her business, Banannie Bands, joins Discover Lafayette to share her journey in breaking into the business world as a seamstress who produces heirloom items.
Heather had a booth at the Junior league’s Christmas show, Tinsel & Treasures, in September, 2023. The quality of her work, the beauty of her designs, and her endearing spirit made her the perfect guest as we enter the holiday season and people are looking for that perfect gift for a young family member.
Where did her career journey begin? A very young, divorced mom who was short on funds but rich in time, Heather took sewing classes and began sewing gifts such as burp cloths, bibs and other baby items for her daughter and friends. Her hobby turned into a career upon the encouragement of Heathe, her then boyfriend and now husband, who announced one day that he had booked her at a craft show in Breaux Bridge. He said, “I have had bought you a 10′ x 10′ tent and 6 ‘ table, here’s the date of your craft show, and you will have to fill the table with baby items.” She filled the table with headbands and burp cloths, all priced at $5.00, and the items sold out fast.
Heather made a grand total of $75 at her first show. But this young mother of a ten-month old, who was three months behind on her mortgage and about to lose her house, felt her entrepreneurial spirit lit on fire. She began booking craft shows anywhere possible every weekend….Baptist church parking lots, anywhere there was a show. Low on funds, she would buy scraps of material from Lola Pink Fabrics in Lafayette and would sew items that customers requested such as pacifier clips. She caught up on her mortgage and realized she could take care of herself and daughter.
The business has grown exponentially since its early days. And her business paid for her wedding to Heathe! And as they say, the rest is history!
Surviving the COVID shutdown was a challenge and Heather pivoted to making masks which sold at retail in Drug Emporium stores. She believes that God provided for her and her business and they both have survived.
While she is not yet back to her all time high of eight employees, Heather does enjoy the help of other women who love sewing and she calls Banannie Bands a family business. Heather mentioned a former babysitter of hers…..Ms. Debbie, who makes up to 400 bibs at a time for Banannie Bands. Her mother-in-law also sews for her. Gerber baby diapers serve as the base for Banannie Band burp cloths.
Heather has never wanted a ‘brick and mortar’ store because it would be too difficult to produce enough inventory to keep the store stocked. Heather always wants to focus on custom orders that meet the needs of her customers. She brought a custom order she would be delivering after our show finished to show me a sample of her work.
Banannie Bands doesn’t sell on Amazon, but you can find creations locally at Trove & Company at 126 E. Bridge Street in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
Annie Bannanie is the nickname of her oldest daughter, who is now 12 years, and the inspiration for her business name. Capri is her youngest daughter, four years old, and Heather still makes all of her clothes.
Banannie Bands makes clothes for newborn children to 5 years of age. Heather is especially proud of her reversible rompers which give the choice of a Halloween outfit and then flipping it inside out to show a Christmas theme.
Heather details how in the early days, she worked as a receptionist at a walk-in clinic while she was building her business as a side gig. She then worked for a beloved woman who was a dementia patient but never sewed while on the job….she always waited until her off hours to produce Banannie Bands’ crafted outfits and items. But when her patient had to move on to Assisted Living, Heather finally took the jump to supporting herself as the owner of Banannie Bands.
To find out more about Banannie Bands, visit https://www.facebook.com/BanannieBands.