A number of shoppers stopped by a table holding an array of colorful handcrafted handbags and bibs, and personalized embroidered towels and other garments.

The table belonged to Oh Sew Crafty, one of more than 115 vendors at the Army Wives Expo on Friday. As the browsers perused the booth’s wares, owner Heather Curtis would talk and laugh with them.

“It is good to provide them with stuff that they can’t find in a store,” Curtis said.

She has been designing and making the personalized garments for three years. As a military spouse, she moved to Fort Hood from Germany about a year ago.

The Army Wives Expo is targeted to vendors like Curtis. It is meant to bring spouses, their businesses, other companies and the community together and provide them a chance to showcase their work.

“We know a lot of spouses do direct sales because it is easy to (permanent change of station) with,” said Ashley Wells, vice president of Fort Hood Military Spouses and Families.

This event helps those spouses get introduced to the community and allows them to market their businesses, she said.

The group anticipated an attendance of more than 4,000 people.

For Curtis, attending the expo was a chance to sell items, and more importantly, show off her products and meet people, she said.

“Just the networking and the getting the word out about my business makes this event well worth it,” Curtis said.

Before to moving to Fort Hood, Curtis sold her items online.

Dennise Wooden, a military spouse who sells Thirty-One Gifts, also found the expo a great resource.

“This allows the spouses to meet each other,” Wooden said.

When not working at expos, which she attends almost every weekend, Wooden promotes her business on Facebook.

The turnout for the expo was great, Wells said. It has been growing every year. The expo started in March 2011 with about 600 attendees.

Money raised at the expo goes back to the Fort Hood Military Spouses and Families group to help keep its events free. The group runs several other programs that support military families throughout the year.

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​mcanales@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474

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