AnnaLee Waite is the founder and principal designer for ANNALEE WAITE DESIGNS. Born in Pennsylvania, she spent time growing up in Virginia, New Hampshire and Indiana. The daughter of a school teacher she spent summers at her grand parents farm where she roamed the woods and explored the beautiful countryside with her sister, brother and cousins. Evenings were spent sewing, drawing and playing music. Creativity came naturally in the gene pool from a mother who is an accomplished seamstress, a father who was a carpenter, and grandparents who wrote poetry and painted. Large family get togethers were the norm and make up some of AnnaLee’s favorite childhood memories.
While living in Indiana, AnnaLee studied Textile Design along with business and received her bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. Following college she worked in retail management traveling and opening new stores for Linens ‘N Things. Operating “The Original Christmas Store” in downtown Chicago was AnnaLee’s favorite retail assignment. In order to expand her horizons, AnnaLee ventured in to property management and spent the next 15 years overseeing apartment properties from the Midwest to the East Coast. Throughout her management career AnnaLee’s favorite past times always revolved around art, sewing and needlework. She found herself completing needlepoint projects while traveling from city to city. In 1990, AnnaLee married Andrew Waite and they traveled with his job. New England, Great Britain, France, Russia and Norway are a few of the places they have traveled and lived. Traveling has afforded AnnaLee the opportunity to experience many styles of needlework, art and architecture, which have been incorporated in her work.
AnnaLee founded her design studio in 1997. “Several influences in my life led me to this point, including the fact that I have been a cross stitcher for more than 35 years and a strong desire to operate my own business. My entire family is entrepreneurial and design has always been a part of my life.” The bulk of her business is designing and publishing cross-stitch patterns for Independent Needlework Shops. In addition to design leaflets her product line includes cross-stitch kits for consumer catalogs as well as hand painted needlepoint canvases. AnnaLee’s main business goal is to offer highly creative needlework patterns backed up by exceptional customer service. In addition to her design work AnnaLee is an author and regular contributor to Needlework Retailer magazine.
Today AnnaLee and her family make their home in Houston, Texas. She feels lucky that her career involves mixing creativity with business on a daily basis. Her happiest moments are spent drawing in her sunny design studio and creating beautiful designs.
I was recently profiled in Create, Inc. Magazine. Click here to read the article.