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IAM1810 – How This CEO & Founder of an Embroidery Company Starts Her Day with the Word

Podcast Interview with Cathy H. Harkless

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode of the I AM CEO Podcast, host Gresham Harkless interviews Cathy H. Harkless, the CEO and founder of Yhtack in Stitches, an embroidery company that specializes in personalized, customized products for clients. Cathy shares her journey as an entrepreneur, and how she came to start a company that creates unique products for a variety of life events.

In the interview, Cathy shares insights into how she starts her day with scripture and the Daily Word to ground herself and stay focused on her mission. She also shares her favorite business book, “Called to Create,” which has helped her to sharpen her focus and build a successful business.

Throughout the interview, Cathy emphasizes the importance of staying persistent and never giving up on one's goals, even when the going gets tough. She also emphasizes the importance of having flexibility as a CEO to create one's own schedule and balance work and personal life.

Overall, this episode provides valuable insights and advice for entrepreneurs looking to build a successful business while staying grounded and true to their mission. Cathy's experience, perseverance, and dedication make this a must-listen episode for anyone looking to start their own business or grow an existing one.

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Cathy H. Harkless Teaser 00:00

Our orders are very unique. Our clients are very unique and they come with whatever they can imagine, and then we take that and we imagine the possibilities. That's our tagline. And that seems to have taken us over the last couple of years and it doesn't seem to stop. They get more unique and more specialized.

Intro 00:24

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkness values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:50

Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit over 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we are repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call a CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on the visibility game, a.k.a. Marketing, Advertising, PR and Sales. I would just say the name of the game is being found and these tools will help you to do that. We have heard the philosophical question, if the tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If there's a really, really great product or service and no one knows about it, how great is it really? What impact does it ultimately make?

This is where we will go into this month. Looking at visibility, branding, marketing, public relations, sales, being the lifeblood of businesses, building media companies, and so much more. This is probably one of the most exciting and probably the most excruciating topics, but we hope this month to demystify and maybe even vanquish the fear and help and arm you with the tools to be able to increase your visibility. So buckle up and sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

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Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast. And I have a very special guest on the show today. Cathy Harkless from YHtack in Stitches. Cathy, it's great to have you on the show.

Cathy H. Harkless 02:22

Thank you, Gresham. Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:25

No problem. No problem. And if you don't know, Cathy is my mom. So I wanted to make sure to kick off the show to have Cathy on or a.k.a. my mom on this show. What I wanted to do was just read a little bit about her and all the things that she's been able to accomplish.

Cathy H. Harkless is the founder of YhTack in Stitches. Yhtack in Stitches is an embroidery company offering embroidery and digitizing of logos, designs, and images. They personalize and individualize and customize.

Their talented team consists of needle art and have a passion for crochet, embroidery, personalizing gifts with bling and embellishment for gift giving for life events such as babies, birthdays, weddings, retirements, memorials, gift baskets, and their gorgeous line of realtor baskets.

The Yhtack team strives to exceed their clients expectations by imagining the possibilities and the amazing world of needle arts. So Cathy, are you ready to get started and speak to the I AM CEO community?

Cathy H. Harkless 03:25

I am. I'm very excited too.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 03:27

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. The first thing I wanted to do was just give you the floor to ask you if you could tell your CEO story. What has led you to this part of your life and in your business?

Cathy H. Harkless 03:37

I was in the corporate world for quite a few years. Actually started Yhtack in Stitches about 10 years ago as a part-time gig. Actually I started doing things for family actually, starting with you doing things when you went to college, personalizing things and doing things for your journey at college, college life, college logos and then also doing things that people loved.

You like basketball. People like pets. People have a different passion in life, and it's nice to capture that in embroidery and the needle arts.

Gresham Harkless 04:16

Awesome. Yeah, that's been very true that sometimes I'm wondering where I'm going throughout my life, I can look back and see what I have embroidered.

And that means that's probably the stage of life that I'm at. So it makes perfect sense. So I guess could you tell us a little bit more about the Products and services that you provide for your clients?

Cathy H. Harkless 04:32

The products that we actually provide are a line of products that could be logos for a business, could be designs that are personal, and could be images that people have. We actually digitize those and we actually then embroider them. We do any type of embroidery. We do logos, we do monograms. We do names. There are a lot of people now that have unique names, unique spelling, and sometimes it can be a family name and we can carry that from one generation to another.

We provide baby blankets. We provide prayer shawls. We provide everything for every life event that could happen in a person's life.

Gresham Harkless 05:17

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. And I know that obviously you're based in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas. I like to call it. So what do you think makes you and your organization unique from other embroidery businesses or businesses that might be in the area around the world?

Cathy H. Harkless 05:31

The personalization and customization that we do. We actually do unique things for our unique customers. Just the other day, one of our projects was actually a retirement gift, a retirement gift that we actually embroidered the speedo with patches for a marine who is retiring.

Then we personalized the back of the speedo with the retiree based on what the client requires or asks. We push the envelope.

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Gresham Harkless 06:00

That makes perfect sense. So it's funny because a lot of people have these ideas of all these great things that they want to do or they want to create. But a lot of times they don't know exactly how to create them.

But it sounds like you bridged that gap where you're able to see what somebody's vision might be, but actually able to execute them, execute that for their specific business or their specific vision, I should say.

Cathy H. Harkless 06:20

Very true.

Gresham Harkless 06:21

Awesome. One of the big things that we try to do on the I AM CEO podcast is really to get the opportunity to see what CEO hack or thing that you use in your business or in your life that kind of has helped you as a CEO or helped you as an entrepreneur or help you as a business owner.

Could you explain maybe one thing that you have used or continue to use that has been really great for your business?

Cathy H. Harkless 06:45

I do a lot of embroidery for the church and I'm led by scripture. I read daily Word each and every day. That kind of takes me as the business head in meeting a lot of different and unique people and somehow they're led to me. Actually, embroidering scripture is very exciting to me to see it in print based on when I was a little girl growing up, my grandfather and I used to talk about the scripture back and forth and it's unique that I get the opportunity now to embroider in and stitch it out.

Whether I put it on a t-shirt for someone or a prayer shawl for someone and to see their response and what it means to them. That inspires me actually, reading the scripture. I have this book that I also am reading Called To Create. I heard a lot about that and it's an exciting book and it talks about the things in your life. Sometimes we have a lot of clutter in our life to be directed and driven toward what makes you happy. And it makes me very happy when I get to embroider, when I get to crochet a prayer shawl or a baby blanket, that's the start of a life or at a point in life.

A point in a person's life when they may need something to inspire them, something that they can read, a scripture that they can wrap themselves in a prayer shawl, or that a baby can be wrapped in a baby blanket. I think that's just an awesome way to document and documenting things with embroidery is just what we do.

Gresham Harkless 08:23

That makes perfect sense. Yeah, it's funny because a lot of times when you talk with CEOs or entrepreneurs and business owners, you always hear about that higher calling like this is the path that I should be taking. But it's awesome that you're able to take time on a daily basis to review the scripture, but also be able to understand how that aligns with what it is that you're creating and what it is that you're doing. So that's pretty awesome.

Now, the next question that I had is really like a word of wisdom or like what I call a CEO nugget that you would give to another entrepreneur or business owner that you've learned from being in business for the last 10 years. What CEO nugget do you have that can help us be maybe better entrepreneurs or business owners?

Cathy H. Harkless 09:00

I like two things. Just do it because a lot of times you delay or you procrastinate or you put things on hold. I like just doing it. I just like being put out in a sense, just being placed on the ledge and jumping because there is no perfect time. There is no better time.

Then something else is to never give up because when you take the leap of faith and you jump, sometimes things might look a little different than what you thought. And so when you never give up, you always look at what options you can take, or maybe it's a different route in the journey than you thought, or that you feel like you have to take when you do jump.

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But those two things, I think, drive me.

Gresham Harkless 09:51

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I know we are going to have a lot of different types of CEOs in this business, whether it be, part-time CEOs or people that are running, big, huge companies that have thousands and thousands of employees or people that are running their business, maybe out of their parent's garage.

So what I wanted to ask is just for you specifically, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Cathy H. Harkless 10:15

I think it's an awesome opportunity because in the last three years since I left the corporate world and have been devoting full time to Yhtack and Stitches, the flexibility in meeting new people, the flexibility in being allowed to get up every morning, read my daily word and take my walk of seven miles a day. That devotion to my time with reading the daily word listening to what God is telling me and leading me in my life, and then also taking the journey of owning my business and doing my business.

And again, the flexibility has been amazing, and having the time to be inspired, to be creative to actually have your own schedule is just the most amazing part of this journey that I've had.

Gresham Harkless 11:11

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Cathy, Mom, I truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule. I just wanted to give you the floor to see if there was anything additional that you wanted to tell our readers or our listeners and just to see also to how people can get ahold of you.

Cathy H. Harkless 11:26

The thing that I'll say again is to get something that works for you. The daily Word works for me, reading that each and every day. There are days that I really can identify with it.

Another thing I'll say again is to never give up doing your business and being able to share that passion. When I do logos for business clients to see the glimmer in their eyes, when they see their logo, to see their excitement, excites me and that keeps me going. But something that I'll say is to always focus on what you want to do and always find a way to make sure that you do it because you sometimes can miss an opportunity. But if you try, you can always look back, you don't have to say could have, would have, should have. You can say I did and this is what happened. And that's a different story.

So I ask people to look at my business, to visit my website or call at 703 680 3416. That is where you can reach us and check out our website because it has been a great journey, more so in the last three years of what we've done and how we've done it. And I can only see that we're going to get better.

Gresham Harkless 12:54

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. That's a phenomenal word. Words of wisdom. And again, I just truly appreciate you for taking some time out of your schedule to speak with us, letting us know a little bit about you, your background, and the organization that you're leading.

So, again, thank you so much.

Cathy H. Harkless 13:08

Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 13:11

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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