Local woman opens shop near Reddington

With her parents owning The Locker Room in downtown Seymour when she was growing up, Heather Chase-Galbraith said her dad taught her everything she needed to know about printing T-shirts.

Over the next 25 years, she continued doing that off and on.

“I started printing T-shirts with them and never really looked back,” she said. “It’s just something that I keep going back to. It’s fun. I think the most rewarding thing is to be out in public and look at somebody’s shirt and know I printed that two months ago or I printed that 20 years ago.”

Early on, the shirts were predesigned. Later on, Chase-Galbraith learned how to design her own.

“It erupted into anything I could design after that,” she said. “I designed custom logos, billboards, tons of things over the years.”

In 2020, as everyone’s lives changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chase-Galbraith’s life changed as corporate America went to working from home.

“I wasn’t seeing people. I wasn’t having that,” she said. “I’m very customer service-oriented. I like dealing with people. I like talking to people. I like seeing people.”

At the time, she had begun a relationship with her now-husband, Andrew Galbraith, and she told him she was going back to printing T-shirts.

“He said, ‘I never knew you did that.’ I said, ‘What?’” Heather said.

A co-worker had purchased a Cricut, and Heather told Andrew she would like to have one, so he got it for her birthday present. Then she told him she used to make shirts for a living.

“I had no idea,” Andrew said.

Heather used the machine to print a few shirts and posted them on Facebook, and people began asking if she was printing shirts again and wanted to order. That turned into a new business, Cottontwine Tees.

She went from making the shirts in her bedroom to moving operations to the garage and adding round wooden door hangers. The business name changed to Cottontwine Design.

This year, Andrew and Heather moved into their new home just south of Reddington on Jan. 31, got married Feb. 18 and opened a shop for Cottontwine Design on March 1. They designed and finished the interior of the shop near their home themselves.

The latter accomplishment was celebrated April 25 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Jackson County Chamber. Several family members and friends were there for the occasion, and as a bonus, many of them made purchases.

“The turnout today, absolutely it blows my mind,” Heather said.

While checking out, one customer told her “This is something that I can see on the porch.”

“I said, ‘That’s why I do this,’” Heather said. “I want it to be something you see. I want it to be something you can enjoy. I want it to be a gift you feel good about giving. … I like the folks who come in and they are like, ‘Oh, that would look beautiful on my porch,’ and I think to myself, ‘I hand painted all of that, hand drew it, hand cut it.’”

In the shop, people can find custom T-shirts and a variety of handcrafted signs, including farmhouse signs, round door hangers, room signs for kids and tall vertical wooden signs.

Still today, 25 years later, Heather likes printing shirts.

“If you would have asked me then if I would still be printing T-shirts at 42, I would have told you you were crazy, but here I am still printing T-shirts at 42,” she said, smiling.

She enjoys customizing shirts and signs for people. For the signs, she cuts the wood and does all of the painting, writing and staining by hand.

“I absolutely love creating things. I love making things,” she said. “I love the end result.”

Just like seeing people wear shirts she made, Heather likes driving around and seeing signs she made outside people’s homes.

“I enjoy being able to create things that are lasting memories in people’s homes,” she said.

Heather and Andrew also build wooden dining room tables, rustic farmhouse tables and outdoor furniture, and right now, they have wooden raised planters and hanging basket stands.

“We stay busy,” she said. “It’s constantly turning, ‘What can I do next?’ It’s an ever-changing world.”

While running her own business is nice because she’s her own boss, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Besides making what she sells, she has to handle pricing, come up with hours for the storefront, advertise and market the items, take orders, answer questions and take care of other business-related duties.

“It’s a very common misconception of you own your own business, you’re rich,” Heather said. “I promise you I work harder than anybody could ever imagine trying to turn a dollar and hustle for ‘What am I going to sell next? How am I going to keep it going?’”

She said she feels a sense of pride knowing she gets out of bed every morning and her feet hit the ground for herself and her family, not for somebody else.

“I don’t ever start any day with ‘Ugh, I don’t want to go to work today. Oh, I don’t want to do this today,’” she said. “I start today with ‘OK, this is what I’m going to get done today. You know what? I’ve worked hard all week long, so I’m going to take off a few hours and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.’ Those few hours are cleaning house or running errands or chasing dogs.”

She enjoys what she’s doing, and that goes a long way.

“I truly do love it,” she said. “It doesn’t ever feel like work. Never does it ever feel like work. It’s like, ‘Oh, OK, I’ve got this to do. I’ve got that to do.’ It’s really nice. I’m all about people who want to do better for themselves, and that’s what I wanted to do. I just wanted to do better. I wanted to be the one that was going to work every day for me, not for somebody else, and I do that now.”

By owning her own business, she also can support local nonprofits and other groups in their fundraising efforts.

“To date, I have been asked 91 times to donate things to a silent auction, and I’ve never said no one time. I’ve donated all 91 times,” Heather said. “I don’t mind giving because I know what it’s like. I’ve been on plenty of fundraiser boards. I know what it’s like to get something to sell to make an extra dollar for an organization, so I don’t mind it at all.”

Andrew said Heather believes in “Kindness in, kindness out. It comes back to you.”

“Absolutely,” Heather said. “I believe what you give is what you get in return, so if you lead every day with kindness, you should get it back sevenfold.”

Heather also likes getting out and selling at vendor events in the area. On May 13, she will be set up at the Mother’s Day craft show at Stuckwish Farm Market in Vallonia for her first vendor event of the year. In August, she will be among the vendors at the Jackson County Watermelon Festival in Brownstown.

“I’m heavily rooted in my community. I always have been, so where I’m able to set up local, I usually have,” she said.

Her shop doesn’t have set hours at the moment, but she posts those on a weekly basis on the Cottontwine Design Facebook page. She also offers porch pickup, where people can get orders at their convenience.

Getting to where she is now, Heather said she couldn’t have done it without the support of Andrew and her son, Blayke Chase. They are a big help not only with the business but with things around the house.

Blayke, 15, was even inspired by his mother in starting his own business of mowing lawns and detailing vehicles.

“He said, ‘I learned how to do this from you, mom,’” Heather said. “He’s like, ‘You never quit. You always find a way to figure it out,’ and I was like, ‘Well, I try to. It’s not always easy, but I try to.’ I’d rather try and fail 100 times, but I would never not try.”

So far, it’s working, she said, smiling.

At a glance 

Cottontwine Design is at 9501 N. U.S. 31, Seymour, just south of Reddington.

The business is owned by Heather Chase-Galbraith, and she’s working on establishing set hours. Currently, she’s posting her hours weekly on the Cottontwine Design Facebook page, facebook.com/groups/cottontwinedesign.

She specializes in custom T-shirts, logos and handcrafted signs and also makes wooden dining room tables, rustic farmhouse tables, outdoor furniture, wooden raised planters and hanging basket stands.

For information, call 812-569-0112 or email [email protected].