The Quacker Factory brand the world knows today because of QVC didn’t start out anything like it has become.  As a housewife in Ripon, Wisconsin, Jeanne Bice and her girl friend, Mary Ann decided they had spent enough years filling their spare time as mothers and housewives doing craft projects, taking cooking lessons, etc. and were ready for a bigger adventure.  So they decided to use their crafting talents to start a business.  They settled on opening a retail shop in the house Jeanne’s husband, Butch. was raised in, located just two blocks from Ripon’s main street.  (Of course that meant the rent was free!)


They named the shop ‘The Silent Woman’.  The logo showed a woman with her head chopped off!

 The Silent Woman specialized in women’s clothing and items that Jeanne designed and had sewn by local women to her specifications.  She created preppy designs with embellishments. These included wrap skirts, shirts, jumpers, aprons, etc. plus home accessories like table linens, placemats, napkins, etc.  Unique designs, beautifully made.

 Because Ripon is just 5 miles from the Green Lake vacation/resort area with many seasonal residents from Milwaukee and Chicago, The Silent Woman quickly became a success.  There simply was no other shop like it anywhere near by.  Women loved Jeanne’s merchandise and they loved visiting with her.  Distinctive, creative merchandise in a happy, inviting setting was a powerful combination.  The Silent Woman became a ‘destination’ for women looking for a fun outing, especially on rainy days.  ‘Let’s go see Jeanne,’ was all they needed to say to get girl friends excited.

 It was in Ripon that Jeanne coined an expression she would later use when talking about her QVC customers:  ‘My Quackers came as customers, but they stayed as friends.’  She truly meant it. 

 Throughout her career as a successful business woman—in a small, local shop or on the QVC network—Jeanne held firm to her commitment to create ‘happy’ clothes with top quality and value for her customer-friends—and to treat her viewers as friends whom she appreciated with all her heart.  She loved talking to them, listening their stories, sharing her inspiration. Her gratitude to her customers was boundless.

 Those values and commitments remain the cornerstone of the Quacker Factory, and the team headed by Tim Bice who is committed to building on Jeanne’s legacy. We know the ‘Head Quack’ is watching…and wouldn’t have it any other way!

That’s why we salute Small Business Saturday, and all the small, local shops most of which are run by women with their dreams for success.  We’ve been there.  And we support them.  We hope you do, too.


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By |2017-02-16T18:35:58-05:00November 24th, 2016|Fridays @ The Factory, Remembering, Stories|0 Comments

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