Kathy Tragesser literally had a dream that encouraged her to start her business, “I Care Stickpins.” It’s been a long journey as she works a regular job while also running her business. With a developed jewelry product; dedicated to raise awareness and pay tribute to numerous causes, afflictions and their affiliated support organizations; she struggled to find a way to get into the retail market. She turned to the staff at the Hoosier Heartland Indiana Small Business Development Center (HHISBDC) in Kokomo (located in Inventrek) for help in establishing her product with a mega retailer to reach the masses. In October 2017, she was approved to sell her stickpins on Walmart.com and is close to being on the shelves at her local Wal-Mart with an eye on expanding to additional locations. She has already obtained approval from the local and regional store managers.
She states that the HHISBDC has been integral to her business by connecting her with patent professionals, prototype creators, manufacturers, packagers, web designers, Wal-Mart managers, the ISBDC / IU Kokomo Collegiate Management program and an Inventrek business plan competition. Tragesser says “The HHISBDC team has been with me every step of the way.” She continues to work with business advisor Lita Rouser on that next big step – getting her I Care Stick Pins on the shelves of Wal-Mart.
For more information about I Care Stickpins: www.icarestickpins.com