3.4 min readBy Published On: May 11th, 2024Categories: Features0 Comments on Small Business Spotlight: Making Sad Things Happy

Scrabble. Stop signs. Sales receipts.

All three things couldn’t be more random, but that’s exactly where Christina Stamatos draws her inspiration from for her business, Making Sad Things Happy.

The Massachusetts native and Suffolk University alum moved to New York post-college, but had to return home after losing her job during the pandemic.

In her own words, “COVID ripped the rug (pun) out from under me.”

Spending time at her dad’s construction sites controlling all interior finishes gave her something to do while scratching the I went to school for interior design but now I’m back at home itch, but she wanted to do more. She started making and selling planters made from basketballs and had dreams of her business becoming big, but wasn’t sure what else to make.

Behind the name: “Think about what a renovation really means…making sad things happy!”

Stamatos would have never thought that one random Tik Tok her brother sent her of someone making a rug would be the game changer, but she immediately knew that this would propel the big plans for her business forward…even if it wouldn’t be easy.

“I bought what I needed and taught myself,” Stamatos said. “When I started, I was so bad it’s embarrassing.”

She found it extremely frustrating at first. But, practice makes perfect.

“I kind of get obsessed with things until I can figure it out,” she said. “I didn’t see immediate progress when I was first practicing, but I was obsessed with trying to perfect it.”

Now, 300 rugs later, it’s safe to say that she’s got the process down pat.

As for what the process entails…Stamatos has to outline the design, vertically create every line with a tufting gun, seal all of it, let it dry overnight and then trim it to perfection. She shows all of this in a two-part video on her Instagram – Click here to see Part 1. All of that takes about a week and depending on the size and complexity, she can get through 3-4 at a time in her Allston studio.

The first rug Stamatos ever sold was a flower for her boyfriend’s grandma. Other commissions have included things like Blue’s Clues, angel numbers, shoe boxes – basically anything you can think of.

One thing she has learned as a business owner is that you can’t say yes to everyone and everything all the time, otherwise you run the risk of burnout. While she loves bringing people’s ideas to life, Stamatos has recently cut back on the number of personal request orders to focus on her own clothing designs.

The Making Sad Things Happy brand is currently categorized into “rugs”, “merch” and “random shit” on the website. Stamatos loves bringing all three to Boston store pop-ups so that customers can feel the product and physically see it, even if they aren’t going to make a purchase that day. Bohdii Boutique in Southie and Bobbles and Lace on Newbury Street were the recent pop-ups where she debuted her latest styles.

Although she currently loves the sweatsets, wedding merch and other apparel that she creates, rugs will never not be part of the brand. They’ve gotten her to where she is today.

“I’ve found my success by just being consistent with everything and making these small promises to myself that I wouldn’t give up or be intimidated,” she said.

One of those small promises is having her own brick and mortar storefront within the next few years. She recognizes that taking all of this on full-time is risky, but is grateful for the adventure it has been.

The next time you drive by a stop sign or get a copy of your grocery receipt, think about what else it could be…You never know what seemingly sad thing you could make happy.

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