COLUMBUS, OHIO—Sick of finding her college-age daughter’s horse show ribbons constantly under foot, former barn mom Debbie Gentry got creative.
“I just couldn’t stand to look at them anymore,” Gentry said. “Not only do I miss my daughter—who just went away to school—but now I’m forced to look at the remnants of her show career everywhere. And then, I’m reminded of the thousands of dollars we’ve shelled out on these ugly, 50-cent-to-make tchotchkes she never did a thing with.
“Year after year of blood, sweat, and tears; showing in pleasure classes at midnight, trucking and scrubbing white legs out there in the rain and cold. And for what?” Gentry continued. “She never won that Hi-Point at Congress—and horses certainly aren’t paying her college tuition. Now she’s off at school, and I’m here, alone, breaking my neck tripping over these damn things just trying to carry a laundry basket up the stairs.
“Horse show ribbons are good for nothing, they contribute nothing, and I just got to the point where I said, ‘No more,’” Gentry explained.
The homemaker and avid crafter says she was first inspired to think differently about ribbons thanks to a post she saw on Pinterest. The rest followed naturally.
Today, even an uninitiated visitor to the Gentry residence can’t help but notice the horse show ribbons threaded through the front door wreath and into the welcome mat. Then there’s the sitting room décor, accented by throw pillows made of woven rosettes, and a large tapestry of ribbons on the south-facing wall. If you peer closely enough, you can still make out the words ‘Franklin County Youth Fair’ embossed on what was once 5th, 8th, and 2nd place ribbons, braided into the downstairs bathroom rug.
Gentry is even in the early stages of developing her own line of recycled-ribbon household products, complete with sixth-place Brillo-style scrubbers, ribbon-made pot holders, and disposable ribbon towelettes and sponges.
“I’m working with some Kickstarter funding at the moment, but I’ve applied for the upcoming season of Shark Tank, and they are definitely interested,” Gentry gushed.
“Look out, world! It’s Mamma’s turn in the winner’s circle now.”
When asked how Debbie’s husband Gary Gentry feels about his wife’s budding entrepreneurship, the weary-looking empty nester just sighed. “How do you think I feel?” he asked, absently dangling a prize ribbon-tasseled cat toy for a playful calico at his feet.
“It looks like Rainbow Brite was murdered in my living room.”