Inspirational stories exist in abundance across this nation and in its history regarding self-made success and how the everyday man can triumph with hard work and determination. Some might say that it is the quintessential “American Dream,” building a business from scratch and then reaping the rewards of success. One such success story exists here in Hempstead County and involves one of Hope’s newest business owners, Katy Hiscott. Katy is the proprietor of OzKraft Custom Printing, a sublimation textile printing business, which means they will custom print any design of one’s choice on any selected fabric, and a one-stop shop for various odds and ends found in many boutiques. What started out as just a gift idea for her newborn baby around a year ago has grown quickly into a full-fledged business which now ships around the world. While Katy is humble and generous in nature and would never claim to be living the “American Dream,” she will say, however, “I’m living my dream.”
OzKraft Custom Printing’s predominant operation is sublimation textile printing. Sublimation is a type of printing where ink prints out onto transfer paper and then is transferred to fabric via heat, so when the heat presses the ink onto the fabric it turns into a gas and permanently colors the fabric. In short, customers can send a design of their choice to OzKraft, and by using sublimation that design will be put onto a fabric of their choice. (See pics below for examples.) Right now, OzKraft has 17 different fabrics to choose from including techno scuba, satin, and velvet, to name a few. These fabrics are printed by the yard on industrial-sized machines so big orders are the typical fare. OzKraft also offers sublimation printing on canvas which can be used for large signs. This crafty establishment can also offer small printing for patrons to have custom-designed masks, hair bows and bands, tumblers, plus much more. Katy and her crew at OzKraft are always coming up with new ideas for custom printing, some of which are already printed and for sale. All of these items, her inventory, and the ordering process can be found on the OzKraft website or the Facebook page. Local pick-up is available.
The other aspect of OzKraft’s operations include a wide variety of wholesale items. They have girls’ accessories like tights, knee highs, clips for hair bows, hats, and sunglasses. They also sell adult hats (even pony hats for the long hair) and sunglasses. Packing supplies is another item that can be found at OzKraft. Probably the most popular product they sell on the local level is the Poppit, one of the current fidget trends for kids and teens. All items can be found on the website and Facebook page, as well.
How did a 29 year old woman from Hope, Arkansas come to own a successful business with global clients, the kind of accomplishment some spend a lifetime hoping to achieve? About a year ago, she was at home with her newbown baby and decided she wanted to make some bows. Katy said it had been awhile since she had a little one so she was researching the latest in baby fashion trends and came across the fabric bows. One thing led to another and soon she was reading about sublimation printing. Not long after, she was creating her own designs and had begun to make files for others while at home on maternity leave. As she got more in depth with learning about this process, the printing really caught her attention. In her words, “The printing is what brings the design to life on the fabric.” Katy quickly realized this was not only something she could do for her daughter, but she could have a potential business of her own printing these fabrics for others, as well. “I took a shot,” says Katy. She and her husband got their first printing machine and the risk quickly paid off. They began OzKraft Custom Printing in August, and by February Katy was quitting her full-time job to focus solely on OzKraft. Now the business has 1500 clients on the website, 5.6k members of the Facebook page, and they ship custom-designed printed fabrics all over the world. “I’ve worked in retail since I was 15,” says Katy. “I’ve always been a hard-worker with goals and I’m an overachiever. It is such a relief to finally put all that time and effort into my own business instead of Corporate America.” The business is still growing, too. They’ve had to get more machines, hire more employees, and are looking to expand into vinyl printing, as well as some locally-focused ventures.
Katy has already secured one avenue of projecting more of OzKraft’s unique talents locally. She has signed up to be a vendor at the Watermelon Festival this year. She will not only have a large variety of watermelon items on hand, in addition to many of their wholesale pieces, but she and the OzKraft crew will have a machine on site to print custom items! Look for the OzKraft sign at the Watermelon Festival to check out, in person, what OzKraft Custom Printing has to offer.
This new, up-and-coming business in Hope provides more that what can be seen tangibly. It also has an inspirational message for those who have that little something in the back of their minds they’ve always hoped to achieve. “I think everyone dreams of owning their own business and not having to work for somebody else,” says Katy. While some might share that specific dream, that isn’t the important part of her message. Really, it’s not what one dreams, but that one does dream, and with grit and perserverance, anyone could be living their dream, just like Katy.
OzKraft Custom Printing is located at 218 West 3rd (the old J.B. Cook building) in Hope. Katy and the crew invite anyone to drop in and check out the inventory and learn about what they do.