My advice to entrepreneurs would be to never give up. I think it is important to have a passion about what you are doing, how you do it and be able to target your customers and provide a level of service and product that is different and unique.
While people scramble to find unique and special gifts for holidays and birthdays, creative entrepreneurs like Cathy Harkless offer shoppers unique and customized gifts. Harkless' company Yhtack in Stitches, a black-owned business, provides crotchet, digitizing, embroidery and monogram services. Yhtack in Stitches can make baby blankets for newborns, personalized prayer shawls, monogrammed towels for weddings, and embroider logos and images for companies or individuals.
We had the opportunity to speak with Harkless about her business, entrepreneurship, and some great gift ideas.
Hearpreneur.com: Why did you start your business?
Harkless: Because I love doing crafts, Yhtack grew out of a need to be creative and to use my hands and my mind. I have a passion for crafts, and it started with personalized gifts for family and friends then it grew into a business. I saw an opportunity to start a business because so many people were requesting my services. Along with my MBA, I knew that I had the foundation to start a business, and it is exciting to be able to associate myself with something that I love to do.
Hearpreneur.com: How did you get into crafts?
Harkless: I started crocheting when I was 8 or 10 years old. I was taught by my aunt and learned more when I was stationed overseas from a fellow military wife.
Hearpreneur.com: What is the story behind your name?
Harkless: Ythack in Stitches came from my name (Cathy backwards with a “K” at the end) and being able to incorporate my love of stitching including embroidery, knitting and crocheting.
Hearpreneur.com: How does your business distinguish itself?
Harkless: All of my products are unique because I pour my creative ability and sense of adventure into every item. One of the most rewarding things is to create and provide a unique and personal gift for a customer. Few things can compare to the level of appreciation when you customize a handkerchief for a wedding or a prayer shawl for someone whom has cancer or another crisis. The smiles, laughter, hugs and sometimes tears are all worth it when you make something that someone really appreciates.
Hearpreneur.com: What is the hardest part about your business?
Harkless: It is difficult to remove myself emotionally from my creations. I pour myself into each and every project, so sometimes it is hard to part with it. I have to remember it is always important for me to move on because there might be another business, another person going through an illness or another family having a child or getting married.
Hearpreneur.com: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Harkless: As I grew up there were members of my family that had ventures. My dad did side jobs and side businesses to make extra money. He owned a club and worked part-time at a hospital and my mom was a seamstress.
Hearpreneur.com: What’s a good gift?
Harkless: In this economy, Yhtack in Stitches provides solutions that take into account the financial limits a customer might have. There’s a lot of things that people can do for the holidays and even other important times like weddings and child-birth. There might be something as simple as buying a book and giving them a personalized, embroidered bookmark. Customers can create a pamper basket with bubble bath, champagne and a personalized towel. Mothers expecting children can get a personalized baby blanket with the child’s weight and name. For a baby, people can purchase a burp cloth that says “Spit Here” with the baby’s name. Chefs can get a dish towel with colors that complement their kitchen or an apron with their favorite recipe. Fraternities, sororities and other organizations can have their logo and other information on a shirt or polo.
There are so many things that people can do for people they care about and they don’t have to spend their life savings. Our slogan is “Imagine the Possibilities” and our customers can determine how creative they want to be. The only limit for our customers is the limit that they create.
For more information:
Yhtack In Stitches
Cathy Harkless is a family member to a staff member of Hearpreneur.com.