Video by Cooper Slough
By GARRETT SAGER
When asked where her passion for weddings comes from, Kayla Rathbun simply replied, “I loved planning my wedding.”
Rathbun, owner of Something Blue, 1008 Main specializes in wedding and event decor with unique gifts for any special occasion from paper roses to bridal shower items to dresses, Something Blue has something for you.
“Just doing paper roses in Hays, Kansas, wouldn’t be as successful and just needed a few more items, so incorporating rentals which is the first thing we wanted to do and then pre-owned items and new items and it just all came together,” Rathbun said.
While Something Blue has all the items needed for a wedding, its niche is the paper flowers.
Rathbun, who got married in 2015, had paper roses at her wedding. It was after the wedding when Rathbun found them online and started looking at them more closely.
“They really stood out to me and I thought that I could probably make these,” Rathbun said.
Rathbun said the first flower took her about five hours to make, but she was so proud of it she went up to her mom like a little kid.
“It took forever to make the one flower, but I ran up to my mom like I just made a cool picture. I was so proud of it,” she said.
From there, Rathbun continued to work on the paper flowers. Rathbun said she now can make a single paper flower in five minutes or less.
“It has taken me a lot of flowers to get to that point,” she said.
In October 2015, she decided to start a Etsy page to sell the paper flowers. By June 2016, according to Rathbun, she had sold between 4,000 and 5,000 paper flowers from the comfort of her own home.
“From there, I kind of wanted to do something outside of my house and just incorporating the paper flowers into the whole wedding vision, I thought would work out perfect,” Rathbun said. “It just all came together.”
Rathbun has stuck with the handcrafted theme for Something Blue, as about 70 percent of its items in the store are handcrafted. Most of what Something Blue ships is handcrafted and, with the Etsy page, it is not uncommon to work on 40 to 50 orders at a time.
“I think the difference between handcrafted items and owning a store that does that versus a store that only has items you order in, the difference is you put a lot of pride into your work,” Rathbun said. “When you make something and people want to spend their hard-earned money on it, I just get a real good feeling about it.”
Rathbun takes her work seriously and puts her heart into what she does. She said she will not ship something unless it is absolutely perfect.
“It has to be perfect to me, and I am willing to remake it if I have to. There is just a difference when somebody puts their time, handwork and energy into building something for you versus just ordering it. I like to put my time into things,” she said.
Rathbun is especially appreciative of the three employees she has to help her run her store.
“I love my employees,” Rathbun said.
The three Something Blue employees are all sorority members at Fort Hays State University and have started to help with the making of the paper flowers and more of the handcrafted items.
“They’ve been helping with the flowers, the T-shirts, run the store, the brides, the prom girls, and my online things … so they have been great,” Rathbun said.
Rathbun is always thinking down the line when it comes to Something Blue. She has what she calls “idea notebooks” and whenever she has an idea she writes it in the notebook.
“I have a notebook that is full and sometimes I’ll go back through and be like, ‘Oh yeah, thats a good idea,’ ” she said.
In the future, Rathubun hopes to expand and bring in more bridal gowns and also offer big wallpaper flowers.
“I want to do more. I want to do everything, but with it being wedding season right now, we are bombarded with orders,” she said.
Something Blue has recently added prom gowns and bridals gowns to its store and will be adding bridesmaid dresses and mother of the bride dresses soon to go along with rentals.
Something Blue is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday.