The Pittsburgh/Greater Allegheny LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce

Advancing Diversity, Inclusion & Growth

Member Spotlight: Cautionary Tale by Dean

July 14, 2019 5:19 PM | Stephen Donaldson (Administrator)

Our first member spotlight is on Cautionary Tale by Dean.  Dean and his company were one of our first members to successfully complete the LGBTE certification process.  We sat down with Dean to find out more about his business!!

1. Tell me about your business? 

I call it custom art embroidery. It’s not just machine embroidery. I can create custom art for a customer, digitize it for embroidery and then stitch it out for them. I have specialized software that allows me to create the files for the embroidery machine. I have access to thousands of apparel and other items. You can put embroidery on just about any item. 

2. What made you interested in your industry? 

Ever since I was a kid, I liked art and creating new things. I have a degree in graphic design and Information Science. I thought what a great way to combine the two. I enjoy taking my drawings and sketches and turning them into something to embroider. I see embroidery as painting with thread. Each stich is a brush stroke. I am very into a technique called watercolor. It’s where you have open stich patterns that overlap and blend to create new colors and textures. It’s very much like pointillism regarding putting colors next to each other to get a new color. 

3. How did you get your start? 

I bought a used high-end home machine and was off and running! I studied many videos, books and tv shows about embroidery to get a good grasp of the process and other materials needed. 

4. Why did you join the 3RBA? 

I joined 3RBA to learn how to run a business, get access to resources and to network/socialize. I knew many businesses and corporations have embroidered products like polo shirts or jackets. I thought why shouldn’t they give me their business? I thought this organization will be a great way to network within the LBGT and Pittsburgh business communities. 

5. How has the 3RBA helped you in growing your business and advancement? 

Getting certified to NGLCC and attending the conference was a huge boost. I’ve met people from various careers. There are people who know about finance, legal, running a small business and logistics/supply chain. Ron helped me by getting my company turned into a corporation and getting all the paperwork done with the state. My next step is to find an expert who can help with putting copyrights on my designs to protect them. 

6. What would you tell others that are thinking about starting their own business or joining the chamber? 

I would encourage anyone with a small business to join. The wealth or knowledge and access to resources is invaluable. If you’re starting a business write up a business plan. That will help with getting all the legal documents done. Have a specific goal for your business. Members helped me by sharing templates for many of these start up documents. Every member of the organization has something to contribute and is so willing to help. It’s a great place to feel you are going for your dream and having a community to help you. 

7. Why did decide to get certified as an NGLCC LGBTBE? 

This was the next step in going from thinking about my business locally to thinking about it globally. That might sound scary but it’s not. You are not making a global conglomerate but you are tapping into global businesses. Being certified to NGLCC allows me access to their database of corporate members and sponsors. I can find contact information and ways to get into corporate supply chains. My next goal is to get with some boutique hotels to monogram embroidery for their pillow cases. Some hotels do that for each guest with the guest's initials for them to keep. With NGLCC I’ll be able to access people that can make that happen. Not something I could do on my own. 

Three Rivers Business Alliance

1735 E. Carson St. #403
Pittsburgh, PA 15203-1705

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