Davy and I had a wonderful time visiting with the Obenhaus’, the sweet family that comprises the home-based operation known as Heritage Arrows Embroidery and Design. Heritage Arrows LLC has only been official since October of 2016, but the family of seven, Mom and 6 kids, has dreamed of owning their own, family-run, business for years.
Leslie Obenhaus (Mom), shared how it had always been something her husband, Paul Obenhaus [1966 – 2014], had hoped for his family and kids. She said with a smile, “Paul always talked about wanting to start his own business; we talked about all sorts of things from delivery services to logging.” She went on to share how starting Heritage Arrows was not just about supporting their family, but it is also their way of creating a legacy for their kids; Grace (16), Sam (14), Josh (12), Sara (10), Hope (8) and Holly (6). This opportunity is giving them all hands-on experience with every aspect of running a business. It’s giving them skills they can use as a spring board into whatever they may want to do with their lives one day. She gave examples; “Like, Sam wants to get into farming. Sara wants to open an orphanage. And Josh wants to be a skydiver,” we all laughed, but Leslie continued, “We might tweak some of their ideas as time goes,” smiling at Josh, “but this is a way we can all work together now in a fun and creative way while learning basics about running a business so that hopefully, they won’t ‘have’ to work for someone else when they grow up”.
We talked more about their products and services at this point during our conversation and they have already had many projects that they have been excited to create. Some of their favorites so far have been the personalized handkerchiefs, each with an individual quote and name, used as bridesmaid gifts; or the towels embroidered with “Jersey Downs” that were going in a dairy barn. “It’s so neat to get to be a part of such a special day like a wedding. We don’t usually ever get to see how the gifts are received, but it is exciting to make some gifts that are so personal”, Leslie shared.
Everyone in the family has a hand in the creative process at Heritage Arrows. They showed us into the room that is the current workspace, which used to be Sara and Hope’s shared room. There are many different ways sacrifices are made while starting and running your own business. The time and work involved in their embroidery process surprised me but once they showed us a glimpse behind the scenes, we realized just how much care and attention really goes into each and every piece they design and create.
While everyone is involved in every part of the business, Grace is the one primarily in charge of design ideas and does all of their digitizing and creating logos for businesses from scratch then programs it all for the embroidery machine. Sam is the ‘director of the hooping department’, which, as funny as it sounds, is a very important and precise part of the process. For some projects, like personalized blankets, they need a ‘watcher’, someone needs to sit and make sure the blanket doesn’t get folded over itself and start sewing together wrong. Sara helps iron, and Josh helps package, while all the little hands [like Hope and Holly’s] are helpful to pull the ‘tear-away’ backing off the projects when they are completed. Leslie keeps the schedule and deadlines on track, keeps up with the customer communications, scheduling the order deliveries and is the bookkeeper; all while continuing to homeschool the 6 kids.
While most of their projects go smoothly, there are hiccups in the production now and then, as with anything. When running embroidery on hats, the design must be inverted on the computer to come out correctly. Recently while embroidering the word ‘blessed’ on a cap, it came out perfectly… just upside down! It was a gift, and though they redid the work, they gifted both hats to the family member it was intended for and it now makes for a great conversation piece! Some days are harder than others, but every day is a blessing, you just might be looking at it upside down.
What can you expect as a customer of Heritage Arrows? First, quality embroidery; it was easy to see that to the Obenhaus’ it is very important that each project is completed with care and is nothing less than the best that they can do. Second, timely delivery; although there are many variables from specifics of the design requested, type and quality of items to be worked on, obtaining the needed resources if they aren’t in the studio, and how many orders are ahead of them; they strive for the fastest turn around time possible [working late into the night if necessary!] and also offer local delivery of every completed order they process. And third, that God would be glorified in all they do. It is evident from each member of this tight-knit family that Christ is the central focus of the home. They rest in the hope they have in the Creator that they will see Paul, their husband, and father, again and know that he would want them to continue in faith fulfilling the life God still has for them and to share that faith, hope and love with anyone that crosses their path. The name of the business is a constant reminder of that, being inspired from Psalm 127, Paul’s favorite Bible passage.
Currently, Heritage Arrows is looking forward to working with more businesses and helping them create their logo, or digitize their existing logo, and bring that branding to life in promotional items like caps, shirts and more. They are excited about working with individuals as well, to create personal gift items, while also creating their own unique line of designs for home decor and other gift ideas.
Some of the dreams for the future of this business is to expand to a separate building, while still being home based, (so Sara and Hope can have their room back) and have more options for adding things like screen printing to their every widening list of skills and services. They are all anxious to see where this adventure will take them, their excitement and passion was contagious. We look forward to seeing them and their new business grow.
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