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Former Special Education Teacher Finds New Purpose as a Business Owner

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Dawne Dragonetti is the owner of Pillows and Things, based in Clinton, Massachusetts. We sat down with Dawne to learn more about how she successfully launched her business.

Dawne Dragonetti launched her business five years ago after retiring from a career in special education. For Dawne, it was the culmination of a life-long dream to own her own store.

“I’ve been sewing and crafting my whole life. I started when I was about six years old; I learned to sew from my mom, who learned it from her mom and while I was teaching my class I was always doing crafts with the students.”

“I’d make things for people as gifts, sewing all my own home decor, and jumping on the newest DIY craze. I was told by friends and family, ‘You should sell these things, you should have your own store.’ Now I have an outlet for my creativeness!”

Dawne’s store specializes in handmade pillows, tea towels, and table linens as well as refurbishing old furniture.

When Dawne decided to launch Pillows and Things she was afraid she’d miss the deep connections she’d made with fellow teachers, but she found a new support system in other entrepreneurs.

“When I first started, I was working with a former colleague and we were setting up shop in antique stores and markets where we met a bunch of incredible women. We’re all in the same boat, we’re all learning about how to be successful small business owners. We all believe in collaboration over competition.”

Dawne and a fellow small business owner were even profiled by ABC News affiliate WCVB.

While Dawne’s business is taking off, being a small business owner isn’t easy. “I’m a one-woman show so it’s difficult to find the time to get everything done. It’s not like I can just close the door and leave the office. If there’s a pile of pillows I need to sew then it needs to get done no matter what.”

One area where Dawne was able to save time was her commercial insurance.

“When I started renting my own studio space, the landlord said I needed insurance. I had called a few brokers and was filling out a lot of paperwork when I found CoverWallet online. CoverWallet saved me so much time - instead of talking to five different people my CoverWallet agent walked me through the process and was honest with me about the policies I actually needed. I got multiple quotes to choose from and saved so much time and money.”

You can learn more about Dawne and Pillows and Things on her website and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.