It is almost three months until Christmas Day, but Shannon Gallagher already is in full gear. The owner of the home-based business Shannon’s AmazBalls, Gallagher is making her regular products and adding a few more.

The Umatilla resident has been in business for five years. She started making bath balms, which proved popular at local events. Then, she started branching out to make wax melts and car freshies. Now, she is designing tie-dye and bleached shirts.

Recent business has been slow, she said. When COVID-19 hit, most public events, which were her bread and butter, were cancelled. She was able to do last year’s Hermiston Christmas Bazaar, but she was not able to make up for business lost from not doing other events. Neither could online orders recoup her losses.

She does try, however, to do business online. She promotes her products through Facebook, and she has even found ways to create fun for her customers. She does “product drops” in which she fills bags with her items and leaves them somewhere for her social media followers to find. On Facebook, she leaves clues as to where the bags are, and people then search for them.

Fun is key to her business, she said. She always is trying to make interesting promotions and products. And she finds it easy to know what her customers will consider to be fun — if it makes her smile, she believes it will make her customers happy.

One example of this was a recent T-shirt design of the Bride of Frankenstein. It was an unusual design, but it caught people’s attention, drawing multiple comments.

And though her business makes her happy, it can be difficult. Gallagher does not have much use of her left arm, lacking strength and the ability to grasp. She said her left arm is mostly for support.

Her weakness has slowed her work and made some of it impossible. If not for the help of her family, she may not even be able to do it.

Tyler Picard, her fiance, is part of Gallagher’s support. Together for eight years, he said she is “awesome,” and he helps her with products, such as soaps and balms, which are especially difficult for her. He and other family members take her direction, which allows her to not only continue her business but also express herself artistically.

She has orders for around a dozen shirts and is trying to fill her orders. Also, she is trying to make up to 40 shirts that she can sell at this year’s Hermiston Bazaar at the Hermiston Community Center after Thanksgiving.

She will sell many of the shirts along with other products at the bazaar, but the shirts also will serve as an example of what she can do. People will see them, then custom order something similar. Christmas is a big season for her.

It is hard work, she said, and it is busy work. But she feels she is good at it, she gets good feedback about it and she does not see a reason to ever stop doing it.

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