Pet Threads

  • SBDC - Small Business Development Center
  • August 11, 2015

Pet Threads Photo
"The SBDC can give you confidence, guidance, advice and education - important factors for success."

- Becky Henkes, Founder 
Pet Threads, Des Plaines, Illinois

Cats, rabbits and other small pets rest easy in Becky Henkes’ flounder pet beds. Her company, Des Plaines-based Pet Threads, is known for the fish-shaped beds that Henkes has hand-sewn for years. She offers a range of homemade pet accessories, including col-lar covers, through-the-collar bandanas, catnip toys and more.

Q: Why did you choose to open your pet accessories business?

A: My mom, sister and I have always made things. We used to have a wedding business, but we decided that making and selling things for animals was more fun. I’ve been making pet accessories for 15 years, but when I lost my full-time job, I thought the time was right to pursue it as a full-time business.

Q: To what do you attribute your success?

A: The SBDC has been huge for me. My advisor helped me with my business plan and loan application. Without that small business loan, I wouldn’t have been successful. Having that capital was a big deal. The SBDC was the biggest contributor to my moving forward.

Q: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

A: Use whatever free services you can find. If you’re a one-person show like me, you’re doing marketing, production and everything else, so it helps to find inexpensive resources like the SBDC’s classes or local library classes. There are a lot of people out there willing to help; you just have to find them. On the flip side, there are just as many people who only want to take your money, so you have to be careful and take baby steps.

Q: Would you recommend small business owners use the services of the SBDC?  

A: Yes, the SBDC is a great resource. They are always helpful for talking through ideas and next steps, and they really make you think. They also can give you recommendations on what to do and what not to do. Their social media classes have helped me a lot, and I’ve gotten involved in their networking groups. The SBDC can give you confidence, guidance, advice and education-and those are really important factors for success.