Oakmont Embroidery fills unique niche


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Aug 02, 2023

Oakmont Embroidery fills unique niche

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There's a new addition to Oakmont's creative community with the recent opening of Oakmont Embroidery, which is owned and operated by Oakmont resident and long-time artistic professional Courtney Hall-Powell.

Oakmont Embroidery, which is headquartered in town, got its start in 2021 and is offering a full slate of both embroidery and creative services, including design creation, graphics digitizing and hands-on embroidery that offers individual piece-by-piece personal service with a focus on quality and accessible, affordable products.

"Every single thing I produce, I touch and create with my own hands. I help with designs. I personally run the machine. I clip the threads by hand," she said. "I help create the art, digitize it myself, make sure there's no trademark or licensing issues and make sure quality materials are being used."

Hall-Powell's service is equipped to handle orders of up to 500 pieces, though around 60 is the sweet spot for optimizing a combination of turn-around time, cost and quality. Oakmont Embroidery handles uniforms, aprons, vests, totes, towels, baby clothes, onesies, bibs, T-shirts and hats but can tackle an array of professional and personal projects.

For instance, one of her clients operates a pierogi business in Columbus, Ohio, and hired Oakmont Embroidery to revamp and digitize their logo and print it on various company items.

"Part of that was digitizing all these little pierogis," she said.

Hall-Powell said being a pro at both the artistic aspects and the technical aspects of her business is the key to offering top-notch service and allows her to be so hands-on in everything that she does.

"My art tends to be neat and clean. The lines are all tight and finished. Nothing is ever sloppy. And you have to be a master of your machine so that you can manipulate art that's not typically meant to be manipulated past the digitizing process," she said.

Hall-Powell utilizes a 15-color, single-head, in-house, commercial embroidery machine to produce all of her work and became well-versed in its operation during five years spent with a large, commercial embroidery company. Three of those years were spent training other employees on the machinery.

"I just really enjoy working with machines," she said.

But the arrival of the covid-19 pandemic changed her outlook on her career and the direction she wanted it to take, so she decided it was the right time to make a move.

"I was forced by the pandemic to re-evaluate my situation, and I was feeling like on a regular basis that I could create just as good or better quality product as all of the big commercial places. I have a passion. This isn't just a job for me."

She was then able to utilize her time spent at Duquesne University studying business management and parlay that education and her job experience into starting her own business. Headquartering it in Oakmont seemed natural, as Hall-Powell lives in town with her husband, Michael.

"I just enjoy this community so much," she said. "There's hustle and bustle, and on the flip side, you also have a charming sense of small community and how important it is to be unified in helping each other and to create a good situation for everyone in the community."

Eventually, Oakmont Embroidery has plans for expansion into gifts and decorations — all personally designed, of course — but for now, a brisk schedule of in-town and out of town clients has the new business moving along.

"I want to make sure that as I move forward, I can continue to handle everything in the same high-quality manner, because that's what's important to me," Hall-Powell said. "So I want to be purposeful as I continue to expand, and hopefully continue to be embraced by the community."

Darren Yuvan is a Trib Total Media contributing writer.

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