Left to right, Halle Schindler and Cassidy Cage
Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Cassidy Cage, Halle Schindler – C&H Designs
May 26, 2021
By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University
“Home is where the Herd is.” Wait, that’s supposed to say, “Home is where the ‘Heart’ is,” right? For two creative young women who grew up working in agriculture, both of those statements could apply. These women have used their creative talents to develop a business that is marketing products across Kansas and beyond.
Cassidy Cage and Halle Schindler are founders and business partners in the company named C&H Designs, after their first initials. Both are students at Kansas State University.
Cassidy Cage grew up at Muleshoe, Texas, and came to K-State where she is a student in animal aciences with a communications and marketing emphasis. She also joined the Sigma Kappa sorority.
Halle Schindler is studying agribusiness at K-State and joined the Sigma Kappa sorority at K-State as well. In fact, the two were paired together when Halle became Cassidy’s little sister within the sorority. The two became great friends and eventually roommates. Both of their families are involved in producing cattle.
One day Halle and Cassidy went for a visit to the Schindler family farm near the rural community of Paola, population 5,602 people. Now, that’s rural.
The girls were talking about something they could do together. “We had heard about Cricut,” Halle said. This is a machine used to cut designs out of paper, felt, vinyl, fabric and other materials. They learned how they could use the vinyl cutouts on shirts and other craft items and decided to try to sell them.
C&H Designs was born. The two bought a Cricut machine and went to work.
The Cricut machine made it possible to customize designs that could be transferred to shirts and other items using adhesive vinyl. The women also added other products to their portfolio of offerings.
Halle’s mom operates Mane 1 Salon and Spa in Paola, so they sold their products there. C&H Designs also markets products through social media and at craft shows.
Today, C&H Designs sells custom-designed shirts, sweatshirts, home décor items, scrunchies, earrings, dog bandannas, coasters, signs, and more. “The great thing about the Cricut machine is that we can alter the design to fit,” Cassidy said. She does the creative design work while Halle works on the business side of the operation. They both have an eye for flair and fashion.
“We look for things we like,” Halle said, and those things have proven popular with customers. Being young, they are tech-savvy when it comes to using social media, although they have found it is different from personal contact.
“Promoting on social media is a different world,” Halle said. However, the technology has enabled them to extend their reach in remarkable ways. For example, it led to a customer in New York purchasing a dog bandanna from C&H Designs in Kansas.
Many of their products have a theme of farm life and faith, reflecting the values that they experienced growing up. In April 2021, they exhibited their products at the Aggieville Showdown, which was a cattle show in the Manhattan, Kansas, nightlife district. They designed and produced a t-shirt with a message that was a play on words. It said, “Home is where the Herd is” and proved quite popular.
They also used creative techniques to grow the business. At their booth, customers could make a purchase and then draw a colored ball from a container. The different colors entitled the customers to various levels of discounts on their next purchase.
Most of all, these ladies seek to be responsive to customers. “This is a very customizable business,” Halle said. “We can make exactly what they want.”
What have been the keys to growing their business? “Being personable with the customer and learning what they want,” Halle said. “We want to do more than just sell a shirt.”
“It’s important to make that personal connection with the customer,” Cassidy said. For more information, search for C&H Designs on Instagram.
We salute Halle Schindler and Cassidy Cage for making a difference with their creativity and homegrown entrepreneurship. For these young women, home is where the herd is – and also a lot of heart.
Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are available at http://www.kansasprofile.com. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit http://www.huckboydinstitute.org.