Mother-daughter team up to start scarf business

09/03/2013 5:50 PM

09/03/2013 5:50 PM

Teresa Loar and her daughter, Sara, are so close, they started tossing around ideas for a business they could do together.

The Loars come from a long line of women’s sports fans, so they decided the business would have some kind of sports theme.

But that idea was put on hold when Teresa Loar left for a two-year stint in Afghanistan in mid-2011, serving as a communications specialist for an engineering company that was working on a USAID project. She grew close to a group of Afghan women who would come to the compound to sell their colorful hand-sewn scarves. Teresa would send some on to Sara, including ones in the colors of Sara’s favorite sports teams.

When Sara’s friends wanted similar scarves, the Loars realized they had their sports theme business.

“Mom would have them made and sent over and I did the back-end business,” Sara said. “But I was a political science major, and this was like taking a crash course MBA, a learning experience with a lot of trial and error.”

Three weeks ago they launched a website,

SophisticatedSpirit.com

, which sells the scarves for $29.99 in a variety of colors, including custom orders. The women also are selling the Sophisticated Spirit scarves wholesale to Kansas City MarketPlace at KCI. The shop sells three color combinations — red/gold, red/blue and black/gold — which are the colors of several area high school and collage teams.

“It’s not the big plastic football earrings and sequin pullovers that they target to a younger crowd,” said Sara Loar, a self described “accessories freak.” “Schools are wanting to sell them for fundraisers and I think they will be good for holiday gifts. With accessories like scarves you don’t have to worry about size, and they can go from the boardroom to the ball field.”

The Loars still have some of the Afghan-made scarves, but since Teresa returned to Kansas City in March they no longer have direct contact with the Afghan women. They are now buying fabric from a New York wholesaler who gets them from such countries as Pakistan and India. A North Kansas City seamstress makes the scarves. Teresa keeps the inventory in her Northland home.

Teresa hopes to re-establish connections with her Afghanistan friends one day. She whips out photos of her Kabul living quarters, sandbags nearly covering the facade. In another shot she is weighed down in a helmet and flak jacket during a seven-hour attack on the compound. She points to another photo, a group of smiling children that would spend the day in the compound, hoping to earn some money from the Americans. Two of the children were killed by a suicide bomber one day.

“That’s where my heart is, with the women. I knew every single woman making the scarves,” she said.

Last Waid’s closes

The last Waid’s restaurant shut down Saturday.

“We were bought out,” said Clinton Smith, manager of the restaurant at 1130 W. 103rd St.

Smith didn’t have details about the what the new owners planned to do with the spot and referred questions to Waid’s owner Haddad Restaurant Group, where officials could not be reached for comment.

Waid’s started as a family business in 1953 and grew to at least 14 restaurants.

The restaurants were known for their comfort food, but longtime customer Pat Campbell of south Kansas City said he went for the hospitality and tenured staff. He would like whatever opens at the location it to be a family-style restaurant.

“There are so many elderly people that have been going there for years, some three times a day,” Campbell said. “And I don’t know any grandchild who hasn’t been dragged in there at one time or another.”

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