Omaha photographer and entrepreneur Jim Soucie claims he’s retired, but his creative business skills are still flowing strong as he recently started a successful business selling outdoor waterproof blankets.
In late 2018, Jim began selling 71-inch by 55-inch blankets that feature a soft fleece on one side and a waterproof material on the back as part of his business, Care Co. Products. He has sold more than 2,000 blankets since he began!
Jim’s most popular blanket is black and red and features the outline of Nebraska with the words ‘Home Sweet Home’ on the fleece side.
The blanket has a flap that seals when it’s folded, and companies can have their name or logo printed on the flap. The personalized “home sweet home” blankets have been especially popular with real estate agents using them as gifts for new homeowners.
Jim said the blankets are versatile, and it’s fun to see the ways customers have used them: camping; picnics; RVs; covers for truck beds, trunk and SUV beds for messy loads; gear, motor cycles, or 4-wheelers covers; fishing; hiking; boating; hunting; bicycling; 4th of July parties; lake homes; swimming; scuba gear; outdoor concerts; bleachers and outdoor sporting events; tablecloth; overnight firewood cover; sunbathing; protection from chiggers; college student gifts; souvenirs; fundraisers; banners for state meets; and a place for “Rover.”
Jim sells the blankets wholesale to retailers, such as gift shops, museums and grocery stores across the state. He attended GROW Nebraska’s MarkeTech conference in 2019 and sold 20 blankets at that event. He also participated in the GROW Nebraska state fair store, where he sold another 20 blankets plus several cases of blankets for other vendors to sell.
This past holiday season, Jim donated a case of his blankets to GROW Nebraska for the organization to sell commission free as a thank you for helping to launch his business.
GROW Nebraska helped Jim launch the e-commerce side of his business by offering customers the opportunity to buy individual blankets on GROW’s Buy Nebraska website.
Jim is continuing his blanket business and is now adding a second product to his business – a book about Nebraska wineries.
“I like wineries,” Jim said. “And, there’s no books about Nebraska wineries.”
The coffee table book called “A Taste of Nebraska” will feature photographs and stories about Nebraska’s wineries plus information about side trips to bed and breakfasts, antique and gift stores, museums and other attractions to visit near each winery.
The book is expected to be published in time for the 2020 tourism season and will feature a GROW Nebraska page.
For more information about Care Co.’s outdoor blankets and for future details on his upcoming book, visit https://members.grownebraska.org/list/member/care-co-products-10560