What inspired you to start your business?
Since I was a young girl with a sewing machine, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As a thirteen-year-old, I discovered I could make money from the products I created. It was rewarding to bring a concept to life through the creation of products that brought other people joy. It also provided me with a sufficient income that I did not have to work other traditional teenage jobs. When it came time to attend college, I chose to continue pursuing this passion, studying fashion and entrepreneurship. Without really knowing what the word “entrepreneur” meant (or how to spell it!), I packed up my sewing machine and took the next steps in my journey: a journey that lead to my current venture, Anne Cate.
I always loved to keep a bit of home with me while I was away at college. Excited to move into my dorm and decorate my new home away from home, I designed and created decorative pillows with three city skylines (New York City, Cleveland, and Chicago) that were meaningful to me, not knowing the potential of this product. After many compliments and requests for the pillows, I tested them out in the same youthful Etsy store that I had had since I was thirteen. Three months later, a national retailer (American Greetings) contacted me, expressing interest in wholesaling the pillows. This moment was an incredible step in realizing my dream of being an entrepreneur. I came to the realization that these skyline products are unique and meaningful, and that this idea could be a foundation for my future.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Hard work pays off. I am a firm believer that through hard work and dedication, any challenges that arise will be overcome regardless of how challenging they may be. I’ve failed and learned from my mistakes – but I’ve never failed because I was a woman.
What three traits define you?
Simple, bold, and confident. There is beauty in simplicity, action in confidence, and grit in boldness.
What women inspire you?
My hardworking mother has always been my inspiration for Anne Cate. She taught me how to sew, encouraged me to start my business, and has supported me every step of the way. She also has a handmade business of 10 years and works so hard every day to develop the best product for her customers. Her drive and initiative in creating quality product is inspiring. I'm grateful to have her close by for advice, too!
What do you love about being a business owner?
I love the customer interaction and creating the perfect product for every customer. Seeing the excitement when a customer falls in love with a product means the world. What I love most about my products is that just as each skyline had a different meaning behind it for me, every purse I sell as a different meaning for each customer. I love hearing the reason behind a sale.
What’s your favorite career moment?
Opening up my manufacturing studio has been my favorite career moment thus far. Scaling my business was a challenge that I did not know how to overcome – and then we did! We took our business from myself sewing purses in my dorm room to a wonderful team of seven women: cutting, sewing, and fulfilling products. Building our studio was a true blessing for our business. It has helped us grow in incredible ways and we are only just beginning.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be exactly what I am doing right now. As a thirteen year old with a sewing machine, I loved the idea of bringing a creative idea to life with my hands. Eleven years later, I am creating every day and bringing joy to customers through our meaningful products.
How do you unwind after a long workday?
Wine, Cheez-it’s, Shower, Netflix, Repeat!
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... take a deep breathe, make some tea, and tackle it!
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… be confident that you will overcome any challenge that arises!
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my boyfriend – he is my greatest support and the love of my life.
By this time next year, I will be… growing Anne Cate’s production and brand nationally – one purse at a time!
The best thing that happened to me last week was… I released a new product – our first men’s bag!
To get my creative juices flowing, I… go on Pinterest, experiment with my color pencils and look at trend reports!.
Anne Cate is a made in America accessories boutique and manufacturing firm specializing in skyline silhouette purses and pillows. Anne Cate’s skyline products are inspired by the excitement, passion and adventure felt when a city skyline comes into view. Founded in 2016, the Anne Cate skyline collection, which now features over 100 hand designed skylines, animates your adventures of cities around the word! All products are completely handmade in small batches at their manufacturing studio in Cleveland, Ohio. Each product is created using sustainable and quality materials, sourced in the U.S.