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I grew up wanting to be one thing, a doctor. I think the Barney movie with the pretend center is what sold it for me. For Christmas I begged for a pretend center filled with things that I believed made me a real doctor. My mom and dad even had a baby doll made for me that had “medical problems” with a trachea and a g-tube. I thought it was the coolest thing being able to hook up oxygen tubes, heart monitors, and pretending to take it’s pulse. When I was 16 years-old I pleaded with my parents (yet again) to allow me to go on a medical mission trip. To much apprehension, they connected me with a group of doctors from Hershey Medical Center and I was able to go to Honduras for my first ever mission trip. I don’t think I had a clue as to what I had actually signed up for. While my friends were stuck in class during Sophomore year of High School, I was trekking through a river with a suitcase above my head filled with medical supplies trying to reach a remote village that suffered from poverty like I had never imagined. You think you get an idea of what poverty is like from seeing those 60-second infomercials encouraging you for monthly donations, but it all truly clicks when you see starvation and death first hand. After that trip, I was completely sold on being a doctor.
Two years later I was a Freshman at Penn State University as a pre-med student. I quickly realized that college took a lot more work than high school. I was always a hands-on learner so the mass amounts of reading and note-taking was never my forte. I pushed through the next three years until the summer before my senior year. During those years it was a struggle to find out who I was. I wanted to be the girl that had nice clothing, a nice car, and travel on cool vacations, but I also wanted to be the girl that cared more about other people and wanted to change the world. I enjoyed fashion, but I also enjoyed knowing I was helping someone else. I grew to love clothing that helped others and I enjoyed sharing the stories behind the clothing and things I bought. The summer before my senior year, I went on another medical mission trip to Zambia, Africa. I absolutely loved my experience there, but it brought me to a crossroads where I had to decide if I was going to apply to medical schools or not. I decided to not apply and I changed my major my senior year to Kinesiology. Since all my science classes were completed, I was able to take sports classes my entire senior year…not too bad of a gig! After college I had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do. I would mention to others that I had a dream of having a clothing store that helped others, but I didn’t know what that looked like exactly. I decided to go back to school to get my teaching certification for Biology at a local college, Susquehanna University. I loved doing my student teaching, but I still did not feel like it was my true calling. While being at Susquehanna, I worked at Planet Fitness where I met and fell in love with my husband, Ryan.
Ryan and I were both at a weird spot in life and weren’t quite sure where God was leading either of us. I was 23 years-old and still had no idea what I wanted to do with life…so I became a nanny in Florida and Ryan followed me there! This experience was an unforgettable time where I got to truly discover who I was. I grew to love the family I worked for and loved the area we lived at, but the girls weren’t going to need a nanny for long and I knew there was something else out there that I was born to do. During this time, I always jotted down ideas for this dream of having a clothing store that helped others. While I was there I came up with the name “Threading Love” and bought the website for $9. That was my first investment in circling my dream…if you have ever read “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson you will probably know what I am talking about : )
My time as a nanny had come to an end and I moved back to Pennsylvania to start planning our wedding that Fall. I was having breakfast with my mom at Country Cupboard, a local restaurant, and randomly asked her to go to a realtor with me quick to see if any places were available just for fun. The realtor probably didn’t take me and my 25 year-old self too seriously, but he entertained my craziness anyway and jotted down a few places that were available. One of the places he wrote down was “214 Market Street in Lewisburg” which happened to be a block away. We walked down and there were no “For Rent” signs, but I decided to go in and talk to the owners of the store to see if they had any information. The owners had just decided that morning they were going to be notifying the landlord they would be leaving, but hadn’t actually discussed it with anyone other than themselves. It ended up the realtor accidentally wrote “214 Market Street” instead of “114 Market Street”. So God had just opened up door number one. The space was perfect, the rent was doable, and the location was in Downtown Lewisburg…a dream spot for retail stores! I still remember calling my fiance (now husband) on the phone freaking out…he was probably freaking out way more than me considering we had no money and were just a few months shy of getting married. He was always the first to believe in me though. A few days later I received a Giving Key necklace from him with the word “BELIEVE” along with a series of letters encouraging me to believe in myself and believe in this dream.
I didn’t have an ounce of business knowledge and I had two weeks to put everything together or the location was going to someone else. After two weeks of not sleeping, I quickly learned that businesses probably take longer than two weeks to come together….especially when you don’t have a clue what you are doing. I think God just wanted to watch a comedy so He picked me to do this thing…I would have been okay with just being a loyal customer for Threading Love! There were no Threading Loves out there though, which created a gap in the market place and a need for a place like this. There are so many amazing brands out there that are already changing lives daily, so I wanted to help create awareness for those brands and give them a platform to be able to tell their story.
The doors to Threading Love opened on August 1, 2014 at 214 Market Street. After growing much faster than anticipated, we decided to move locations and we opened the doors to 419 Market Street in Downtown Lewisburg on March 4, 2016. This dream has been long days, late nights, and stressful situations, but it also has been rewarding in unsurmountable ways…to see joy on customer’s faces and to know we are making a long-lasting change in this world is worth thousands of sleepless nights. None of this would be possible without so many people coming along side of us to join us on our movement to change the way people shop! Together we can change the world in style!
Kaitlin Schuck (Founder and CEO of Threading Love)