Family of famous evangelist enters the manufacturing business

Strapless aprons

BRISTOL, Va. - It's frustrating to find a simple product that you use everyday and suddenly they're no longer available.

That's what happened in the Billy Graham family. Yes, the well-known evangelist Billy Graham.

That led his youngest daughter to the point of trying to make the product herself and marketing it to fund her ministry.

It's an apron that you don't need to tie -- Billy Graham's daughter Ruth is happy to show off the product her mother discovered in Switzerland about 50 years ago, an apron you don't have to tie. "My sister got married [in Switzerland]. My mother found these aprons in a store and she bought as many as she could. She brought them home and gave them away, and everybody just loved them. Every time she would go back to Europe she'd buy some more and she would give them away, Then the store closed down and we couldn't get them anymore," evangelist and inspirational speaker Ruth Graham said.

Her Swiss brother-in-law searched and searched and couldn't even find the manufacturer of these simple little aprons. "I tried to make patterns. I tried to get the fabric. I did everything. I sort of let it go until about three or four years ago, and I tried again as a cottage industry. I thought this would be a good thing for a cottage industry but that didn't go anywhere because we couldn't find all the pieces to the apron," Graham says.

In particular, the memory ring that allows the apron to simply be put on, no tying or putting it over your head, just put it on.

Ruth then joined forces with Bristol businessman Bobby Griffin. "The unique thing about it is they don't have to throw it over their head. That would mess up their hair. They don't have to try to tie in the back, they just snap it on," Griffin said. And you don't have to wash it either.

It's a great idea that's being reintroduced here in our region -- it will be manufactured here and available at this year's Mistletoe Market in Abingdon in early November.

This unique idea will help fund the Ruth Graham Ministries. "My ministry is to help the marginalized and the downtrodden. Those who feel broken by life or who've broken their lives themselves, or somebody who's been terribly wounded by the church or by someone else. I've ministered to them all over the world and this is going to help fund that," Graham said.

Like the late-night salesman says, it's a simple item, found around the home, used everyday and it's already in demand.

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