Fornadel starts small business, donates a portion of profits to charities of choosing 

Maya Waid, Editor-in-Chief


Like many other students, junior Abigail Fornadel has picked up an old hobby with the extra time spent at home due to online school for the 2020-2021 academic year. Fornadel took her old pastime of sewing a step further and started her own small business, Stitched. 

After picking up sewing again to make gifts for her family and friends over the last holiday, Fornadel was motivated to expand her interest into a business for the community. 

I was inspired to start my small business after seeing some of my peers start their own small businesses. At the beginning of December I started making masks and rice pads to give to friends and family as Christmas gifts,” Fornadel said. “I made about 15 masks and 20 rice pads. I had forgotten how much I really liked to sew, and I didn’t want to stop after finishing my gifts, so in late November, I decided to start my own small business. 

Not only did Fornadel spend a lot of time formulating the ideas for her business, but she also had to consider the cost and time implications of running her own business. 

I spent about a month shopping and finding all the right materials. I get most everything from Ragtime fabrics. I took classes there as a kid, so it’s another small business that I am so excited that I get to support now by buying my fabric from them. To make a mask, I need fabric, elastic [and] ear savers, and each mask comes with a filter that the customer can place in the mask, so I need one of those as well. To make a rice pad, I need fabric, rice and essential oils,” Fornadel said. 

Even before Fornadel goes to purchase the materials she needs to produce the rice pads and face masks, she consults with her mom when picking out fabric designs based on her collection ideas. 

“I get most of my ideas by just walking around Ragtime fabrics. When I see a pattern I like, I pick it up, and then once I have about 20 options, I go through and pick my favorites. I also consult my mom most of the time. She’s really good at picking out patterns that other people will like,” Fornadel said. 

Fornadel is selling her masks for $7, small rice pads for $10 and large rice pads for $15. A portion of the profits collected by selling these products will go to a charity of Fornadel’s choosing every few months. 

“I knew I wanted to donate a part of my profits to a charity when I started, but I had a hard time choosing. There are so many great charities out there. I finally decided that my first charity would be Women for Women International. I’m planning on picking a new one every couple months, and I’m sure it’ll be hard to choose next month,” Fornadel said. 

Although she is excited to see how her business can support charities, Fornadel has had to identify what her priorities are to ensure that both her school and sports do not suffer as a result of spending so much time producing the masks and rice pads. 

“I would say the most challenging part is the amount of time it takes and balancing it with everything else I am doing. My business definitely comes third on my list of priorities right now. My first priority is school, then sports and then my business. I will admit, I have been [busy with schoolwork, so] sometimes I had to take a couple weeks off of starting my business so that I could focus on school and sports,” Fornadel said.

Aside from gathering her materials and planning the different designs for her products, Fornadel spends about 20 minutes making each mask or rice pad.

“Normally, it takes me about 20 minutes to make one mask [or] a rice pad. I start by washing and ironing the fabric. Then, I cut out the fabric and iron. I  then start sewing and cut my elastic. I do some more ironing and sewing, and then I hang it up on my rack ready to be sold,” Fornadel said. 

To make it easy for customers to buy from Stitched, Fornadel has set up an Instagram page, @stitched_byabby, with posts and story highlights with all of the information about her business. 

“Currently I am selling my products through my business Instagram account. There is a how-to on the page that shows customers how they can purchase,” Fornadel said. 

Even though she has spent lots of time figuring out the best way to run her business, Fornadel is open to any advice or requests from customers on what she can do to improve her business moving forward.

“I really want to start doing custom masks or orders, but right now I think I’m just going to stick with what I have, and hopefully in the future I will,” Fornadel said. “Under the ‘Stitched!’ highlight on Instagram there is a box for suggestions, requests and other ideas, so I love hearing from my customers what they want to see in my shop.” 

Not only is Fornadel hoping to make a contribution to the charity of her choosing every few months, but she is also hoping to provide customers with a creative way to wear their masks in public. 

“The most rewarding part of my business is seeing people wearing my masks. It makes me so happy to see people enjoying them,” Fornadel said. “I hope that my donations help the organizations that I choose each couple months. I also think that it will make a difference by showing others that they can [make a difference] too, and I hope the fun patterns will encourage people to continue to wear their face mask when in public.”