Katie Woodard started designing invitations less than a year ago.
As a military spouse, she wanted to develop a career that would complement the military lifestyle of potentially moving around the country every three years or so.
Though Woodard, 25, currently lives in Smiths, Ala., she and her husband are originally from South Dakota and she says they'll probably only be in the area until the spring.
Most of her stationary business, Twig Print Studio, is conducted through online marketplace Etsy, though she also works with some local event and wedding planners.
But she's hoping to grow her business, which is why she needs your help.
Woodard is currently a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards, a contest through the Martha Stewart website that is "searching for the rising stars in a new generation of small-business owners."
There are 100 finalists and 10 American Makers will be selected. But only the one with the most audience votes will be awarded the Audience Choice Award, netting the winner a trip to New York City to be honored at the American Made event, an appearance in Martha Stewart Living magazine and $10,000 to go towards his or her business.
Voting is currently open at http://americanmade.marthastewart.com through Sept. 24 and Woodard hopes that plenty of people in the tri-city area will vote for her.
"They're not only helping out a local business, but also encouraging military spouses to think outside the box in terms of establishing a career," she said.
Woodard said what makes her stand out as representing American Made is that her husband is in the military and she's found a way to start a business that can travel with them as they get reassigned.
While she found that having a specific line of products (invitations) is the best way to run her Etsy store, she's also open to other options, including graphic design for businesses.
She also said she's open to working with customers to come up with a design that may not be offered in her store, often having local event planners contact her if they have a customer who wants something customized.
In terms of advice to other military spouses, Woodard stressed the importance of an education.
"One thing important to me in particular was I decided to stay and finish my four-year degree in my hometown," she said, even though that meant spending time away from her husband even when he wasn't deployed.
She also spoke to how the internet has broadened career horizons.
"The possibilities are endless," Woodard said. "You're not stuck with the standard job these days."
Katie McCarthy, features writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515. Visit her blog at ledger-enquirer.com/junkfood for more commentary.