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10 Questions with Penn State Bows

If you read our DIY Spirit Wear for the Creative (or Poor) post, then you understand just how seriously Penn State women take their game-day attire. So if you’re a Penn State lady who has been looking to add a little pizzazz to your spirit wear but don’t want to shell out mega-bucks to McClanahan’s or (god forbid) the Student Book Store for their pricey merch, look no further than campus’s newest booming business, Penn State Bows. We sat down to ask the fabulous bow-wizard herself, Laura Kennedy, about how the business came to fruition.

Onward State: So, why bows?

Laura Kennedy: For almost every extracurricular activity that I’m involved in, I wear a t-shirt. Penn State girls, whether it be football games, THON committees, sororities, and everything else in between, generally wear just a simple t-shirt. Bows are a fun, easy accessory to wear that makes everything a little fancier and a little cuter!

OS: When and how did you learn how to make bows?

LK: I’ve always loved crafting, and have done everything from scrapbooking to friendship bracelets. I’m constantly looking for new projects to start, and when I got involved with THON my sophomore year, I was introduced to the world of bows! I looked online, and specifically YouTube, for different tutorials, and eventually found a style that I enjoyed making.

OS: Do you wear bows yourself?

LK: Yes, definitely! I have tons of different colors, and I love finding an excuse to wear them!

OS: What made you decide to turn your bow-making pastime into a full-fledged business?

LK: After I started wearing the bows I made for myself, people began to ask where I bought them. Once they found out that I had made the bows, they asked if I would be able to make some for them. Before I knew it, I was making bows for almost all of the girls on each of my different committees. This year, I decided to make it more official by starting my Facebook page. I received orders right away, which made me realized that there really is a market for bows here. I enjoy making bows, and it seemed smart to make a business out of something I love to do!

OS: What colors/patterns/styles do you offer?

LK: I currently offer three different styles of bows — double-loop, flat-double, and tails-down — all of which are pictured on my Facebook page. The three styles come in two different sizes, 3.5 inches and 4.5 inches. The tails-down style also comes in 5.5 inches. I can make any solid color you can think of, and I offer select colors in polka dots and stripes. I order my ribbon as needed, so everyone can feel free to request whatever color they’d like, and chances are, I’ll be able to get it!

OS: What seems to be the most popular style? And where do you see people wearing them the most?

LK: All three styles have almost been equal with requests, but the tails-down bow has inched ahead just slightly. At the moment, the most popular colors are definitely solid white, and navy with white polka dots. I posted a photo of the navy polka dot ribbon as a last minute addition, and it has quickly become one of the most popular requests. Right now, Beaver Stadium has been where they’ve been worn the most because of football season, but I’m hoping to see them all around campus for a wide range of events!

OS: What are the prices?

LK: I try to keep it simple as possible with pricing. No matter the style, the 3.5 inch is $3.00, 4.5 inch is $4.00, and 5.5 inch is $5.00.

OS: How long does it take you to make each bow? Do people help you? Is your apartment like a little bow-making factory with elves and everything?

LK: Unfortunately, if there are bow-making elves, they have yet to realize where I live. So for now, it’s just me! If I’m trying to work quickly and I have everything organized, I can make a bow in about five to ten minutes. But realistically, I’m watching TV and talking to my roommates, all while trying to not hot glue my fingers together, so sometimes it takes a little longer. While I’m filling orders, my side of our living room becomes littered with ribbon – thankfully my roommates don’t complain!

OS: How do you suggest that people wear the bows? 

LK: I like to clip my bangs back to one side with the double-loop. The tails-down, especially the bigger sizes, is really cute pinned above a ponytail. I made the flat-double style for my Homecoming committee this year, but we have baseball hats as well. We ended up turning our hats backwards and clipping the bows to the side of the hats. It was awesome to be able to wear both at the same time. There are so many ways to wear bows, and it’s great to see how people experiment with different styles!

OS: Last but not least, if you were a dinosaur which would you be and why?

LK: Land Before Time was one of my favorite movies when I was little, so I have to go with Long Necks. Well, a Brachiosaurus. But everyone knows it’s really called a Long Neck.

So if you’re looking for a cheap and adorable way to spruce up your game-day look (or even your everyday look; bows are a very versatile accessory) then like Penn State Bows on Facebook and start messaging Laura your orders today!

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About the Author

Alicia Thomas

Alicia is a senior with majors in Print Journalism and Spanish and a minor in International Studies. Chances are that she's somewhere talking about her semester abroad or ranting about sexual assault prevention right now. She can be reached via Twitter (@aliciarthomas) or email ([email protected]).

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