WATCH: It Started as a Hobby, and Now This Florida Mom’s Ugly Sweater Business Is Booming
This single mom’s Christmas creations are so bad they're good.
There are ugly sweaters, and then there are Deb Rottum’s garish 3-D creations.
The 48-year-old single mom has been making and selling ugly holiday sweaters out of her home in Wesley Chapel, Florida for the past four years. But this year, after incorporating lights and baubles into her tacky designs, Rottum told Fox News that she’s experiencing her best season to date, with customers from as far away as Sweden.
“Every year there's more people that get invited to Christmas parties and they need to step up their game,” she explained. “If they want to wow everyone, they really have to go dressed all ugly.”
Thanks to Facebook and Etsy, what began as a funny hobby has now blossomed into a full-fledged business for the busy mom. She has added dresses, skirts and shoes to her line, and even turned her daughter's old bedroom into a studio where she has 550 sweaters fully decorated and ready to ship.
Each sweater takes her two hours to make, and prices start around $40. Her sizes go up to an XXXXXL.
"I'm a single parent so I really rely on the income from my sweaters, now more than ever as this is my primary business,” Rottum told Fox. “I'm a one girl show. I source the items, I make the sweaters, I model them and then I ship them. I get no help apart from my daughter who takes the pictures of me. I do everything else myself.”
In addition to a selection of family-friendly items, Rottum also offers racy designs that would put you on the naughty list. She told Fox, however, that her most requested sweaters are ones that feature the Dr. Seuss character The Grinch.
Rottum acknowledges that the ugly sweater business has become overrun lately, but she believes that what sets her apart is the pride she takes in each piece.
"I have more competition now because anybody can make the sweaters, but they think it's just placing decorations on sweaters,” she mused to Fox. “People take their glue gun and put a bunch of junk on it. Anyone can throw a bunch of junk on a sweater and make it ugly, but I take pride in mine matching. They are tricky, but they are decorative and pretty.”