Guam military spouses take a leap on entrepreneurship: Katherine Hovey

Stripes Guam

KATHERINE HOVEY 
Micronesian Macramé

Age: 21
Years as a military spouse: 4 years
Service: Navy
Type of business: I make and sell macramé wall hangings, plant holders, clutch/purses, bags, dog accessories and jewelry. I also offer workshops and classes for those who like to be hands-on or love to get creative on a night out!

How long have you owned your business?

I started my business in March of 2017 and became official with my business license in August! It began as a hobby I did nightly to relax until I turned a “What if” into a “Let’s do this.”

Is Guam where you started your business?

Yes! I’ve been living on Guam since 2016 and began my business on the island in 2017. 

What was your previous occupation?

Prior to living on Guam, I worked two jobs as a pharmacy technician and at a bakery in Massachusetts. I was pregnant when I moved here and spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital due to complications with the pregnancy. Since I couldn’t work, my illness was the beginning of my drive to try and find a job I could do from home.

Why did you decide to open your own business?

Macramé became something I did in my free time to relieve stress... It wasn’t until my friends started requesting pieces from me that I realized I could do what I loved AND make a living from it! Starting my business was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made. Macramé plays such a large part in my well-being that I never imagined it would also provide for my family as well.

What are some of the difficulties military spouses face finding a job or starting a business?

As a military spouse I’ve learned and seen fellow spouses struggle with finding employment. I’ve seen a number of friends turned down for positions they were more than qualified for once the employer found out their rotation date or simply learned they were a military spouse. It’s a little frustrating to see military spouses’ resumes go out the window no matter how qualified they may be... Moving also affects owning a business as well. I haven’t yet had to uproot my business, but I will say I am nervous to experience that process! I am very lucky because my art can be made from anywhere… Picking up and moving is a daunting task for families in itself but adding in the risk for business failure just intensifies any stress that’s present.

What are some of challenges you’ve encountered in going out on your own and starting a business?

Personally, I haven’t encountered any challenges yet specific to being a military spouse when launching my business rather I think PCS’ing gives business owners the chance to branch out across the country and the globe to build local support groups with every new duty station. For most business owners, outreach is a challenging task, however, if you’re willing to immerse yourself wherever the military takes you then transitioning and growing is within reach!

What advice would you give other military spouses looking to start their own businesses?

My biggest piece of advice would not to rush it. Take your time finding your passion and mastering your craft. Reach out to fellow business owners in your local community and gauge their experiences. It takes a lot of time and energy to run a business on your own and it takes self-discipline, all of which is impossible if you try to start a business centered around something you’re not in love with. …Making money and being your own boss are two very enticing things however it’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy of it all, but behind the scenes are countless late nights... Don’t let the hectic craze of military life hold you back from chasing your dreams, the beauty of this lifestyle is that we’re all in this together and the support of fellow spouses/families is relentless. Make small goals and dream big, be realistic, but think outside the box and you will go far!

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