7 min 12 sec

Midwestern Designer Offers Up a Feast of Handmade Tableware

A farmer’s daughter finds a way to bring small-town hospitality to tables all around America, selling handmade linens and accessories that bring people together over meals.
Arts & Crafts Creative Product Retail

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What It's About

A love of meal time rituals inspires a Midwestern woman to a side hustle celebrating families joined around the dinner table.

Business Model
Skills Required
Creativity & Resourcefulness
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Melissa has found that in-person events such as farmers’ markets and word of mouth have been the best ways to get Tabled on people’s radars. Social media has also helped, and she has about 2,500 followers on Facebook, and about 1,000 on Instagram, as well as about 200 visitors per month to her website. But she says she focuses on engagement over followers, as more followers don't always equal more sales.

Fun Fact

Tabled founder Melissa Dohmen took a full year off full-time work in 2015 and—with her fiancé Carson—traveled around the 48 lower US states in a 1960s travel trailer, documenting it via blog. You can read all about their adventures at Local Color XC.

Notes from Chris

Episode 185

From a young age, Melissa remembers loving the ritual of setting the table for dinner—a chore assigned to her by her mother. She liked placing every utensil, cup, and plate in its proper place, as well as making decisions over which china should be used to prepare for the company and catch ups the meal would bring.

Then, in 2016, she took a drastic break from her normal life to go on a yearlong road trip with her fiancé. She figured that, as she was already throwing caution to the wind, what better time to give the hustle a try? So, from their 1960s travel trailer in the middle of a campground in Kentucky, Melissa officially launched Tabled—a handmade seasonal tableware shop.

Her company’s offerings now include napkins, table runners, tea towels, pot holders, decorated wooden spoons, trays, trivets, coasters, salt and pepper shakers. If it belongs on a table, chances are that Melissa has it.

So far, Tabled nets about $500 to $1,000 each month from in-person events and online sales. But Melissa says she’s reinvesting all of this and doesn’t yet pay herself. She’s the first to admit she hasn’t fully yet cracked the code, but she says she’s growing more profitable all the time, and hoping to find new ways to push sales.


  • Tabled: Check out more of Melissa's tabletop products on her website!
  • SquareSpace: Melissa decided to use Squarespace to setup Tabled because she found the front-end design clean and simple
  • Quickbooks: The accounting software that Melissa uses to keep on track financially with Tabled

  • Instructables: Melissa didn't have much experience with textiles, but she learned everything she needed for Tabled online. Instructables is great because it has resources for anyone looking to learn a new skill
  • GE Engineer Sells Hand-Crafted Slate Artwork to All 50 States: A GE engineer uses his skills to make and sell hand-crafted slate artwork to all 50 states. In addition to bringing in a great side income, it’s also given him more courage and security to make decisions at his day job
Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"The biggest learning curve has honestly been getting out of my way. I’ve always known I wanted to have something of my own. The hardest part was saying it because that means you can fail and that’s scary for everyone."
—Melissa Dohmen #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau