Vestment Maker Finds Value in Entrepreneurial Course

August 31st, 2015 by Gwen Green

Mary Schultz, owner of Exodus39 Custom Church VestmentsMary Schultz of Little Rock has been making church vestments for 30 years and turned her needlework into a small business, Exodus39 Custom Church Vestments.

She restarted the home-based enterprise when her family moved to Arkansas from Wisconsin in 2014.

Schultz believes that vestments, through their colors and symbols, bring alive the story being told in worship. A church organist since age 12, she says that creating vestments is like making music.

She recognized a need for custom-made vestments because “God did not make us all the same size.” Schultz often uses repurposed materials such as antique embroideries because of her commitment to stewardship. “Perfectly Proportioned” and “Positively Repurposed” are two principles of her business.

Although skilled in the art of vestment-making, Schultz realized earlier this year she needed to learn more about running a business, including requirements for operating a business in Arkansas and how to market her products in a new location. She read about the City of Little Rock’s Entrepreneurial Training Course in the newspaper and enrolled in February.

In partnership with the city, the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock facilitates the 10-week program twice a year. In addition to participating in weekly three-hour class sessions, Schultz received one-on-one guidance from her ASBTDC business consultant, Heather Robinette.

Schultz completed the course in May and would highly recommend it to others.

“Taking this class was challenging but has opened up an entire world of possibilities,” said Schultz, who continues to consult with Robinette on ways to grow her business.

Exodus39 Custom Church Vestments’ product line includes stoles, copes, chasubles with understoles, dalmatics, tunicles, burse and veil sets, palls, and altar paraments. Schultz designs each piece with her customers’ specific tastes, needs, and budgets in mind. See examples on the business’s Facebook page.


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