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Woman Cashes In on Tacky Christmas Sweater Craze

NotYourAverageSweater[dot]com(MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash.) -- The ugly Christmas sweater trend has become so popular for parties and events that Nancy Schloetel of Mountlake Terrace, Wash., decided to capitalize on the tacky Christmas craze.

“I saw something several years ago on the news about the fact that people were throwing these ugly sweater parties,” Schloetel told ABC News. “It looked so fun. I wanted to try selling something online, dip my toe into the world of having a website. Why not start out with something that would be a real kick in the pants?"

“Previously, I was a theatrical costumer. I was working on a really tight budget. I learned how to shop a thrift store really well. And the sewing came in handy.”

Schloetel, who is a seminar event coordinator by day, has turned her website NotYourAverageSweater.com into a one-stop-shopping destination for all your ugly holiday sweater needs.

“I have my website up all year, but people don’t really start thinking about them until this season. A few orders trickle in around October, but people don’t start thinking too much about it until around Thanksgiving,” Schloetel said. “Initially I thought I was going to sell all types of sweaters. But I work full-time and realized that was just going to be too overwhelming, so I specialize in the ugly Christmas sweaters.”

And she’s got plenty to choose from. Schloetel shops year-round at the local thrift stores to purchase as many Christmas-looking sweaters she can find.

“I shop all year and I go to many thrift stores. Especially now, each year it becomes more challenging to find them because so many people are looking for those same sweaters,” said Schloetel.

One thing she has noticed, however, is that mainstream stores are now manufacturing and selling their own ugly Christmas sweaters, which she believes takes all the fun out of the tradition.

“Mine are all traditional. The ones that have been left in the attic, the one from three years ago your neighbor gave to you. They find it, fix it up, traditional kinds of ugly Christmas sweaters,” Schloetel explained. “People can buy newly manufactured ones, but that changes the whole landscape of the recycled ones. The finding of the treasure is the fact I find so fun. Giving it new life and having people enjoy it for a second time around is the great piece of it that goes away when you just go down to your local store and buy a new one.”

Schloetel’s sweaters start at $15, and those, she says, sell the quickest. But most of them are $25, and increase in price from there depending on how much extra work, sewing and bedazzling is involved.

“My favorite this year is this plastic portable laundry rack. I connected it to the sweater, and from it I have hanging winter holiday socks and boxer shorts with the Family Guy characters on it that says ‘Deck the Halls,’” said Schloetel.

When asked why she enjoys the ugly Christmas sweaters so much, she replied, “I just find them so whimsical. I don’t know how you can wear one of these sweaters and it not put you in a better mood."

“I think it’s one of those fun trends. I’m really happy it caught on and people are having such a good time with it. You see people wearing them everywhere for 5K runs, and they’re making them for charitable work and having people wear them to their office parties. I just think it’s great that such a fun trend is sweeping and not dying out. It’s harmless and so enjoyable and people are just having a great time being silly.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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