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Coffee Shop Girl Needs a Hat

Greenbeanies in 2020

September 1, 2020

The year was 2011, and I was in my 13th year working as a barista at Zanzibars Coffee in Greater Des Moines (DSM). For most of that time, I had very short har and was not required to wear any head cover. Needing a change, I decided my hair needed to be long once again. That soon presented a problem. At work I needed to tie it up or wear a hat. I had an extreme dislike for both options.

Around that time, we had an upcoming trip planned to Costa Rica, so I decided to find myself a super awesome hat while there. Well, after 10 days, no super awesome hats were found. At the airport on the way home, I spied a young lady wearing a slouch beanie hat made from lightweight fabric, not the usual yarn knit style. I was intrigued.

At home, I started searching for a similar item online but couldn’t find anything. So being both stubborn and creative, I dusted off my 40-year-old sewing machine and altered a short beanie pattern into a tall, slouch-style beanie hat. With no fabric laying around, I grabbed my Zanzibars t-shirt, cut it up and the first Greenbeanie was born.

All it took was a few compliments and several requests from coworkers and friends, and I had a new business!

A Thriving Business from Recycled Clothing + Scraps

I soon became the queen of thrift shops, buying every cool logo shirt I could find. My husband, Craig, and I kicked off sales our first year by participating in several small outdoor markets. By year two, we were accepted into the Downtown Farmers’ Market in DSM.

It has been a wonderful journey. Our name started off as Greenbeanies, and two years ago expanded to Greenbeanies Jeanies and Other Thingies (GreenBJOT) due to the addition of our grandson Cale’s business, String-a-lings, and other new products made from denim. We are very proud that our business model is built on recycled clothing. Cale even makes several items from recycled scraps.

With this being the unfortunate year of COVID-19, our business took on a hopefully temporary direction. I started making face masks to donate to essential workers. Soon, many requests from friends and family came rolling in. With the absence of the usual Downtown Farmers’ Market events, I began to sell my own uniquely designed GreenBJOT face masks.

We have loved being part of the Downtown Farmers’ Market the past eight years. Speaking for the three of us, I can honestly say the best part has been meeting new people … many of whom we now call friends. We look forward to “getting back to business” in the coming year!

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Downtown Des Moines (DSM) is a growing, vibrant community that offers the energy, sophistication, housing and attractions of a burgeoning city with a brilliant future. It’s also easy to visit with plentiful and affordable street and ramp parking options.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.