Kathryn Tiedemann sat quietly at her little dealer’s table during last month’s Joelanta GIjOE show. She smiled politely and somewhat demurely to the endless parade of fans and collectors passing by. With only two GIjOEs and a small pile of business cards, hers was clearly the simplest, most unassuming dealer display at the entire event.
Curious about this stark, “bare-bones” business approach, I stopped to say hello and find out exactly what was going on. Turns out, Kathryn is married with children, works in a department store selling sporting goods, had recently started a new business called “Quartermaster’s Depot” and flew in from Nebraska to sell some of her new custom GIjOE uniforms. She went on to say:
“I first learned how to sew on my Grandmother’s 1950’s sewing machine, by sewing those little merit badge patches onto Girl Scout sashes and uniforms. Years later, I met Buddy Finethy. We had gone to school together and he remembered that I could sew. He asked if I could make some custom uniforms for his GIjOEs and I did. He liked them and thought I could make money doing this. So here I am!”
The two figures she had on display were wearing the most recent examples of her craft. The first was an olive drab “Custom Commander’s Uniform.” Its two pointy front pockets gave it a unique, foreign look, sort of like something you’d see on an Action Man or Geyperman army officer figure. But the other figure REALLY made my eyes pop. It was a perfect replica of a vintage, 1960s “Fight for Survival” arctic uniform. Complete with parka, fur collar, drawstring, pants, gloves and even a tiny U.S. flag patch, it had all the correct details and was superb! Kathryn could tell how much I liked it and proudly announced:
“I’ve already sold 12 of these and have orders for many more.”
Bottom Line: I told Kathryn how impressed I was by her work and her gutsy, “no-frills” business approach. If someone’s work is of such top quality, they really don’t need any fancy promotional “bells and whistles” to sell it. Kathryn agreed, but promised nonetheless, that she would soon have a website and Facebook page for her budding business. Until that time, if you’re interested in reaching her at the Quartermaster’s Depot, Kathryn asked that you please email her directly HERE. Our best wishes Kathryn, in all your future endeavors!