I'm Katie, owner and day to day operater of The Initialed Life.
How It All Started: Originally from West Virginia, I chose to go to The University of Kentucky for college to study fashion merchandising & business. Upon arriving in Lexington, I was immediately enthralled by how many women had their initials on almost everything they owned. We're talking purses, clothing, cars, laptops, keychains - you name it and it was monogrammed. It didn't take me long to realize that by personalizing an item, you can make the simplest of gifts that much sweeter. Fast forward three years, and I began dabbling with a personal embroidery machine, making gifts for friends, sorority sisters, and my family. Word spread quickly, and I started having strangers asking me to do embroidery work for them, that's really when I thought that I could turn this small hobby into a side hustle to make some extra money.
The week I graduated college, I started my part time business. First I began by embroidering people's personal items at night and on the weekends. The next step was developing an inventory and starting an Etsy shop. Once that I was complete, I launched my own website. Two years after starting the business, I was able to leave my day job and take it on full time.
My passion growing up was to ultimately own a women's clothing and gift boutique. In 2015 I launched a second e-commerce company, Virginia Lee. Named after my grandmothers, I was able to explore my passion for buying women's clothing, jewelry, and gifts. Things progressed quickly, and a few months later I was the proud owner of a boutique in the heart of downtown Charleston, West Virginia. During this time I was able to employ over twenty women, and grow immensely as a business women.
By 2017, both e-commerce businesses were growing faster than I could keep up with. Virginia Lee had gained a lot of national attention when we had a dress featured in Southern Living magazine, and between the boutique and online sales, I became spread way too thin and knew something had to give. I made the decision to close my boutique and put Virginia Lee's online sales on hold to solely focus on the growth of The Initialed Life.
I feel very lucky to have accomplished my biggest dream at a such a young age and feel even luckier to have realized some bigger dreams of mine, which I am now pursuing.
So here I am today, almost five years later working out of my colorful studio, and shipping my monogrammed and personalized products to customers nationwide. I am constantly seeking education and inspiration through reading, listening to podcasts, and networking with other creatives. Small business has captured my heart and I love helping other entrepreneurs in any ways that I can.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I love hearing from you all.
Any questions, just ask!