Hollyhocks personalizes apparel, gifts and household goods
Clusters of white pins dot a map on the wall of Hollyhocks’ workspace, where Tammy Moore designs and embroiders sympathy throws sent around the United States.
Each pin represents a throw purchased from her designs that are embroidered on quilted throws from a business she is growing through sales from her website.
States such as Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania are her “honey hole,” though throws have gone to countries as far away as Peru and Australia. One customer from Chicago ordered a sympathy throw for his grandmother’s funeral in Africa.
The throws are a logical progression for Moore. The business began in 2002 with a gift shop in an older storefront in downtown Campton.
Moore was a sales rep for gift companies for many years. “But, I really wanted to be home for my children,” she says. “I have a knack for merchandising and design, so I started my own gift shop.”
Moore knew she needed to diversify by moving beyond selling products to offering some form of service to her customers. “One day, Kaye Holbrook, former Wolfe County agent for the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, suggested I do some embroidery, and she loaned me her home machine,” Moore says.
And the business took off. “We were making things ourselves and putting them in the gift shop,” she says. “They started selling.”
Then, she bought her own home embroidery machine, which her demand quickly outgrew. In 2008, a new retail space opened off Kentucky Highway 15, and she moved in a new commercial-grade, computer-controlled embroidery machine.
In the new store, she thrived. “The goal was that as the embroidery picked up commercially and domestically, I’d drop more and more gift lines over time, only to pick up lines that were compatible with embroidery, and keep a few exceptions.”
The shop now sells costume jewelry, flags, bags and purses to name a few. Most of these items may be personalized with embroidery. “As a full-service embroidery business, we service other businesses with digitizing logos for their company’s embroidered caps, jackets and T-shirts,” Moore says.
BUSINESS OF HONOR
Moore, though, continued to search for ways to help differentiate her business.
Once, the shop sold throws bearing reproductions of Thomas Kinkaid paintings.
When the supplier stopped carrying the line of sympathy goods, Moore saw an opportunity. “We started with a woven throw embroidered ‘In Loving Memory’ and other information to honor a deceased life,” she says.
Moore realized she had a product — throws are now quilted — with an appeal beyond the boundaries of her community. Working with website developer Ken Bush, they created sympathythrowblanket.com. Each throw on the website is artfully designed by Moore, with a heartfelt sentiment that honors one’s life. The site goes beyond sympathy throws by featuring other categories such as weddings, family, occupational and custom designs.