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Meet Hilary J. Corts of Rowdy Cowlick

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hilary J. Corts.

Hilary, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am the daughter of a contemporary quilt designer and the sister of a painter. I grew up in a very creative household and was encouraged to pursue all different mediums. I received a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, then spent years traveling with bands and working within the music industry. A friend in Chicago introduced me to embroidery in 2014, and after working by hand for a while, I learned of chain stitch embroidery on Instagram. I found and purchased my first vintage chain stitch embroidery machine (a Cornely) in the summer of 2016.

As I was just starting to learn how to use the machine, I was also learning that my risk of developing breast cancer was 85% due to my BRCA2 genetic mutation. I’d watch my mother battle (and beat!) breast cancer when I was a child, so I chose to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy as soon as humanly possible. In a couple of months leading up to my surgery, I used my new machine to make simple patches with boobs on them and sold them to help with my medical bills. Due to complications, I ended up having four surgeries over the course of six months, followed by more recovery time.

By the time my body was healed enough to work on my chain stitch machine again, I was overflowing with ideas and just wanted to work! I began practicing again, then jumped at an opportunity to spend the winter in Mexico. In a “make your own residency” fashion, I packed up my machine and my dog and headed south to hone my skills. I created Rowdy Cowlick while I was there and brought it to Los Angeles in April of this year. I hit the ground running and have been fortunate to work on some very cool projects since I’ve been here!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The greatest challenge I faced, outside of the obvious physical limitations, was the decision to really go for it. Moves are difficult, both mentally and financially, and to start a freelance creative business at the same time could be considered insane.

As I started to doubt myself and went online looking for jobs, just for a steady paycheck, just for some sense of stability… I was faced with a real “which road?” choice: I could get a job, just something to pay the bills, and practice my art in my free time (the safest option) OR I could really go for it, work super hard all of the time with no boundaries, and hope for the best. I jumped off the cliff.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Rowdy Cowlick – what should we know? What are you most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others?
Rowdy Cowlick offers a totally customized chain stitch embroidery service, providing product design for brands and on-site customization for any type of event. I also collaborate with other artists and clients to make one-of-a-kind pieces.

Each piece is created on a hand-operated, non-digitized vintage chain stitch embroidery machine. Focusing on one project at a time allows for the creation of truly unique heirloom-quality treasures.

I am most proud of the fact that my company’s end goal is to put smiles on faces. I’ve worked a lot of jobs in my life where that simply was not the case! I absolutely love what I do, and that shows in the way I work with clients and the work that I produce.

My personality sets me apart from others, ha!

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Loving what I do.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Courtney Coles

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