Every entrepreneur’s journey is different from the next. We all stumble upon our passions at different ages and stages of our lives. There are lucky individuals who, from a very young age, already know what they want in life. Most of these people are blessed to have families that support their journey and are able to find success very early on. For the rest of us though, the road is not as clearly paved.
Katherine Curtsinger owns It’s Only Fabric and Thread, a company that makes custom quilts, quilt patterns, stickers, and other products from–you guessed it–fabric and thread. It’s a pretty young company but is already gaining traction thanks to the cute designs it offers and unique approach to quilt-making.
What makes it different? Every custom quilt Katherine makes is made from t-shirts that the customer supplies which makes it a functional keepsake that may remind you of someone who is dear to you or an important time in your life. If you’re wondering, “how does this help nature?” Think about it. These t-shirts would otherwise end up in landfills – adding to our growing pollution problem. It’s a very straightforward and smart way to upcycle something that has already served its purpose.
Katherine belongs to a family of women who love to sew but only learned and developed the skill last year. I was interested to learn how she went from being uninterested in sewing to owning a business centered around it, so I did a quick interview and want to share her answers here with you.
What inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
The drive for wanting more. Knowing that being stuck in an office for 40 hours a week and spending more time with co-workers than my spouse should not be my reality. Plus when you have a hobby that brings you so much joy, it’s really difficult not to want to share that with the world. Especially when you know that your medium is one that can last for years and be handed down from generation to generation. Imagine receiving a quilt from your best friend and then growing to see your grandchild take their first steps on the same quilt!
How are you making a positive difference in the world?
One big thing our business does is take shirts and other articles of clothing and turn them into quilts. This helps turn those shirts that would end up in a landfill or at a resale shop into a functional item that can be used for years by most and even passed down from generation to generation. It’s the small things like this that help our environment in a positive way.
What has been the greatest positive impact you have seen on your clients’ or customers’ faces from working directly with you?
I don’t have big impact stories, but the one that stands out the most for me is having custom products that are created and sometimes gifted. It makes people cry tears of happiness. I recently completed a baby quilt for a mom and she sent me a video of her crying tears of happiness while holding the baby quilt. No matter what, she and that child will have the quilt and all the memories to come from using the quilt and watching her child grow up with it (and maybe even passing it on to their child.)
What does being a purpose-driven business mean to you?
I think so many people think the purpose of business is to make money, but really everyone has an underlying factor that is the real purpose of their business. Although this business of mine began as a way to create time freedom, it has now blossomed into a business that wants to give others a skill that they can pass on to their children and the world in whatever way that may be.
Even if it’s just leaving their mark with a few custom made quilts for their family or even the memory of learning to quilt with grandma, the work and the gift were made with a purpose.
I think purpose-driven, people-focused businesses are truly the way of the future, especially in the e-commerce space. I honestly think that businesses that are not clear about their true purpose and fail to be transparent or vulnerable to their consumers will fade into the background and not stand out in the crowd in the upcoming years.
How did you pivot your business during the pandemic?
Honestly, my business was born out of the pandemic. This idea had been noodling around my brain for a few months. I had secured the domain name but was stuck in the “how to” paralysis. I figured there was no better time than the present to fully launch my vision, especially with the transition to the virtual market sweeping the world. It’s Only Fabric and Thread officially launched September 2020 in the craziness of the pandemic.
What are your top 5 tips to scale a business or use social media to attract new clients?
- Surround yourself with others who have done what you are trying to do. This will help you level up in so many different aspects of your business, and they will likely be able to help you problem-solve and think critically through the issues you are running into.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things and fail. Try the new product, try the new freebie to grow your email list. If it doesn’t work, you have a great story to help potential clients. Show your vulnerability to your audience. Failing is great, relatable social media content.
- Show your face more. You may be on social media all day, but are you showing your face and allowing your audience to really connect with you? Allow them to connect with you – filter free and maybe even make up free.
I’m 100% more likely to buy from someone who shows up and is relatable. (Hello messy bun and no makeup, you are my people!) If you are just posting infographics, how is your customer going to relate to you? This expands beyond social media. Are you on your website? Do you have an About Me page where your customers can connect? If they join your email list, is there a picture of you which allows them to connect a face to the business? Get your face out there!
- Let the “no” that you receive fuel your fire. Embrace that when a client or customer tells you “no”, that just means that they aren’t the right fit for you. If a brand doesn’t want to collaborate, then let that push you to find something even better for your customer or audience. Every “no” that I have received in relation to It’s Only Fabric and Thread has pushed me to develop bigger and better things for my customers.
- Invest, invest, invest. Invest in yourself, but if you want to grow, you have to invest in your business. Money holds so many entrepreneurs back, but what would happen if you believed in yourself just 10% more and invested in the technology or help that would help elevate your business?
Where can people learn more?
They can learn more at our website www.itsonlyfabricandthread.com. They can also connect with us over on Instagram. Our handle is @itsonlyfabricandthread.
Purpose and Passion in Harmony is a series of articles of articles that give purpose-driven entrepreneurs who have something unique to offer a chance to shine. The goal is to inspire others who wish to build businesses and help others find their path and the drive to just go for it. It is my hope that these articles create a positive impact on the lives of readers all over the world.