When Rachel Kim and Ellen Featherstone heard Tami Taylor was having a baby, thoughtful West End moms that they are, they decided to send a handmade gift.
Never mind that Taylor does't exist outside of a glowing 36-inch box between the hours of 9 and 10 p.m. Fridays.
Lucky for Kim and Featherstone, the actress Connie Britton, who plays Taylor on the NBC football drama "Friday Night Lights," does exist. And Britton thought the baby-shower gift from her longtime friend, Featherstone, was considerate -- and creative enough to take to the show's producers.
So last week, Kim and Featherstone huddled around the TV to watch baby Gracie Belle or one of two babies or a plastic doll that play hers decked out in a white onesie emblazoned with a navy-colored panther paw appliqué of Kim's design.
"We kept hearing from friends that we had to get our stuff out there to the celebrity market," says Featherstone, who was close friends with Britton at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg. So she was happily shameless to use her Hollywood connection to promote Scrappywares, the boutique children's fashion line she started last year with Kim.
Despite the duo's well-placed connections, "Friday Night Lights" is a long way to come for a company based on the idea that boutique baby clothes just cost too darned much.
There's not much complexity to that business model, nor is there much fat to trim from Kim's design aesthetic. She still relies largely on salvaged or donated old fabrics for the patterned appliqués she creates.
"It's a custom product," Kim says, "but not at a custom price." She also makes patterned belts and headbands for the older set, in addition to providing very popular T-shirt restoration services that have saved more than one dad's ratty old favorite Def Leppard shirt.
The women say that while the show especially the Jan. 25 episode was a welcome bit of fluffing to their business egos, they're still concentrating on the basics, such as taking Britton's advice that their designs might be popular with her New York and Hollywood friends. "We're just excited to be out here," Kim says.
In addition to clothing fictional small-screen infants, Scrappywares designs are available at Kim and Featherstone's Web site, or at a handful Richmond stores, including Kim's children's hair salon, Pigtails and Crewcuts.