By Hanna Schmitt, 4-H State Council Marketing Committee
AMES, Iowa – Laura Ann Pautsch, former Mapleton Starspinner from Monona County 4-H, recently began her dream career with the opening of her online boutique, Laura Ann’s. Coming from a small Iowa town did not stop Pautsch from dreaming big and striving to reach her goals.
Pautsch joined 4-H in middle school. Through 4-H and with the support of her parents, she was able to explore and grow her love for sewing. By the time Pautsch was 11, she was a self-taught seamstress with her own sewing machine. Although she participated in many 4-H project areas, her favorites were the clothing events. Each year, Pautsch would strive to improve her fashion and sewing skills. Her diligent, hard work was rewarded when she received top honors in Fashion Revue at the State 4-H Clothing Event with a dress she created for her high school graduation. The self-made entrepreneur says that her experiences at 4-H Clothing Events pushed her to refine her sense of style and skills.
Fashion and sewing, two of Pautsch’s passions, are crucial to her business’ success, but she also recognizes the importance of communication and marketing skills that she developed through 4-H. Every day, Pautsch’s business requires that she communicate in a professional way. While today a confident entrepreneur, Pautsch says that she was shy as a child. Her experience with 4-H Communications Events, especially her favorite, Share the Fun, helped her gain confidence in speaking with others.
When marketing her boutique, Pautsch applies lessons learned from her 4-H experiences to make the job easier. All of Laura Ann’s online products are shown on models with stock photographs that she takes herself. She recognizes that modern, online marketing is visually-oriented. By participating in the 4-H photography project area, Pautsch learned many of the photography techniques that she uses today.
As Pautsch builds up her clientele, she is enjoying the perks of entrepreneurship. Pautsch loves that she is able to work independently and make her own decisions to bring her dreams to reality. At age 20, she is proving the value of having strong leadership skills. Laura Ann’s operates mostly online as of right now, selling classy, quality clothing for women.
An important aspect of the 4-H program is setting goals. Pautsch reports setting and accomplishing small goals daily to eventually reach her bigger goals. In the short-term, she plans to add more brands to her selection and to manufacture her own designs. Pautsch’s long-term goals include carrying children’s clothing and a bridal line. With research and solid marketing, Laura Ann’s has the potential to grow into a thriving business.
Pautsch’s 4-H experience was much more than her projects and exhibits. 4-H taught her life skills, granted her unique opportunities, and encouraged her to explore her passions. Now, she is equipped with skills and experiences that empower her to follow her dreams.
Do you know talented youth who love fashion? Inspire them to pursue their passion by joining 4-H. For more information on the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program, please contact your Iowa State University Extension and Outreach county office or visit the Iowa 4-H website at www.extension.iastate.edu/4h.
Photo caption: Laura Ann Pautsch shows her goals board for her online boutique, Laura Ann’s.
4-H Youth Program Specialist