’Tis the season for holiday shopping. But with store shelves more empty than usual due to COVID-19, the time is right to expand your gift search. Rather than looking farther from home, your neighbors might be part of the entrepreneurial force turning hobbies into businesses. Here are a few we found.

High Mountain Leather

Aubrey Ottley tried out leatherwork as a hobby, and her friends started noticing her work. Now she sells her work online.

Hello! I’m Aubrey Ottley. I live in Malta, Idaho, where my husband and I raise kids and cattle. I am a wife, mother, rancher and registered nurse. In my spare time, I am a leather crafter. I create handmade items out of leather—anything from shotgun chaps and horse tack to custom-ordered purses. 

I started this venture after having our first child. It’s hard taking a newborn to doctor calves on a horse in February, so I found myself with a lot more free time on my hands. It was at this point I decided I needed a new hobby,  and leatherwork was right up my alley. 

I started out making items for me and my husband’s personal use. As my skills progressed, others started noticing my work, such as a headstall on my horse or my husband’s doctoring bags on his saddle. I decided to start selling my products online and made social media pages to promote my products. 

My favorite aspect of selling my work online is connecting with people from all over the country and making their ideas come to life. Leather is something that can withstand time and get passed down to the next generation. 

One tip for any who are thinking about selling artwork online is that what makes your artwork unique is what will make it great. Don’t be afraid to go outside of the lines and do something that hasn’t been done before.

Rhea Creek Design


Mollie Rhea with her husband, Trevor, and their son, Maverick. When Maverick was born, Mollie decided to run her furniture business full time.

My name is Mollie Rhea, and I am the owner of Rhea Creek Design in Heppner, Oregon. I create custom furniture and home decor. I design items ranging from built-in cabinets, kitchen islands, tables and beds to small home decor signs. 

I grew up watching my grandfather in his wood shop and learning from him, and watching my father create anything he set his mind to. They have both always encouraged me to be my own boss if I could, and to find something I loved doing. I started Rhea Creek Design as a way to turn a hobby into profit and have a creative outlet on the weekends. 

When my son was born, I decided to run my business full time so I could stay home with him. Expanding into selling online allowed this to happen. My favorite part of selling online is all of the clients and new friends I get to meet that I ordinarily would not. 

My biggest piece of advice to anyone thinking of selling their craft is to take the leap and do it! There is an audience for every craft, and there is no better place to find it than online. If you are lucky, you can find a community of supporters and friends while you are it.

Fox and Fiddle Designs


Chelsey Sherwood with her husband, Kellen, son, Riley and daughter, Kaydance.

My name is Chelsey Sherwood. I’m a wife and a mother of two. I live in Sutherlin, Oregon. I create laser-cut and engraved goods. 

I bought a hobby laser, which I learned on for a year. During that time, I created Instagram and Facebook pages and began posting items. As I posted, my audience grew. I began to sell to individuals and boutiques around the United States.

I grew up around crafty influence: a grandmother and mom who were always creating and doing craft shows when I was young, and a grandfather who is a woodworker. My husband has always been my biggest supporter and encourager. He continues to help with everything and promotes our small business whenever he can. 

My favorite part of running my own online business is the capability to reach customers across the United States. 

If you are considering an online craft business, make sure the product is something you are proud of and a quality that you would purchase yourself. Always keep improving your art, help other creators and listen to feedback.