Sandra Huss, creator of Heart Warrior Pets and It’s All About Me Monogramming & Embroidery is a superhero with the power of embroidery. She brings hope, inspiration, and comfort to young children suffering from congenital heart defects and other illnesses with her Warrior Pets. We recently connected with Sandra to find out more about how it all got started.
Donna: How old were you when you learned to sew? Do you remember your first project?
Sandra: I started sewing and knitting at a very early age, probably 7 or 8 years old. I used to sew doll clothes by hand and learned how to knit in school. My first embroidery project was a quilt for my grandson with embroidered animals on squares.
Donna: Why did you decide to start your own company?
Sandra: Embroidery started as a hobby for me. I started on a single needle embroidery machine – one of the first machines they sold was a Bernette with a 4 x 4 hoop. I started making embellished baby items, amongst other things. My embroidery company, It’s All About Me Monogramming & Embroidery, began after the birth of my “grandtwins” in 2007. They were preemies, born at 31 weeks. At the time, I had held the role of administrator at a dermatology practice for 23 years. I resigned my position so that I could help my daughter take care of the twins once she returned to work.
Donna: Where did you get the idea for Heart Warrior Pets?
Sandra: One of my customers saw an animal I had embroidered with subway art on Facebook and asked if I could modify the design for her one-week-old baby that had just undergone open-heart surgery. This was the beginning of the Heart Warrior Pets.
Donna: How would someone go about ordering a Heart Warrior Pets?
Donna: Who is your mentor (or who inspires you most) and why?
Sandra: Kerry Henry is my mentor. Long before I started Heart Warrior Pets, I looked at her embroidery and fell in love with what she was creating. Kerry has always been there for me if I had a question, a problem, or needed advice.
Donna: What tools and equipment would you recommend for someone wanting to become a home embroiderer?
Sandra: For the beginner or hobbyist I would recommend a home embroidery starter machine with 5″ x 7″ hoop. If embroidery is going to be more than a hobby, purchase the best machine you can afford. A multi-needle machine is the only way to go.
Donna: Please share a few tips you’ve used to help market your business.
Sandra: The word has spread through word of mouth. I’ve done giveaways on Facebook, but really haven’t done any advertising.
Donna: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give other aspiring entrepreneurs in the embroidery field?
Sandra: Always make sure the work you sell or give as gifts is something that you are proud of and would want to receive. We are our own worst critics. If I am not happy with something, then my customer is not going to be happy either.
Donna: What would surprise people most about you?
Sandra: I am from England! I lost my accent many years ago, but I am often asked where I’m from as people can’t place my accent!
Donna: What else do you do when you’re not working or embroidering?
Sandra: If I’m not embroidering, I’m probably sleeping! I love to sew and always seem to find something I want to make, whether it is a quilt or clothes for my grandchildren. I used to knit and crochet a lot, and occasionally I like to read a book.
Sandra Huss was born and raised in England until the age of 15 when she immigrated to the United States with her mother. Sandra loves spending time with her big family: husband of 30 years Christopher; grown daughters Melissa and Kristi; grandchildren Xavier (18), Colby (16), Lucas (7), and the twins Ryan and Chelsea (7); Chihuahuas Molly and Maggie and (last but not least), Gracie the Beagle. You can find Sandra on Facebook, Etsy, and her website.