Ann Carmichael: From Higher Education to Entrepreneurship

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BY CINDY CROSBY

When Ann Carmichael retired in late December 2018 after a 35-year college career as dean of the USC Salkehatchie campus at the University of South Carolina’s Palmetto College, many people she knew best predicted their “retirement” would be a pure one Creation would be according to your own taste. It seems they were spot on.

Carmichael recently added a businesswoman to her already stellar and impressive résumé with the creation of a hat band design called Breezy Beach.

“We were out by boat a few years ago and my friend and I complained that they weren’t making a nice hat that would last and provide adequate sun protection,” said Carmichael. “Most wide-brimmed hats have a constricting inner band or an unsightly chinstrap. I told her that when I retired, I would add to my bucket list to ‘develop a device that will keep your hat on in the windiest conditions’.

If Carmichael gets something on her mind, little can stand in her way, and this case was certainly no different. “It took a lot of trial and error to get it perfect,” said Carmichael. “The band’s secret lies in the physics – that is, I had to give them enough weight to be effective, but distribute the weight so that it wouldn’t cause a headache. This is where my slogan “Blending Science with Beauty” comes from.

“After I created my design and ran several tests, the next logical step was to protect my invention,” said Carmichael. “I worked with a lawyer to apply for a patent and made a very detailed application. After making the assumption, they verified that while there were other devices that would hold a hat in place, none without an inner band or chin strap. This basically confirmed what I already knew – if such a product had existed, I would have bought it long ago. ”

“Although my main goal was to solve a problem, but since it’s something I think others might like, I thought I should share,” said Carmichael. “I needed someone to help me with production, so I reached out to Cobia Burris, the owner of Sweet Dreams, Sewn Seams and Jellybeans in downtown Walterboro. Your sister sews and makes these hatbands for me. Cobia offered to sell them in their shop, which I really liked because I wanted to make them available to the Walterboro people first. I’m a big advocate of local shopping whenever you can as it supports local businesses and helps us grow our economy. ”

Although Carmichael originally planned to start the summer of 2022, she was able to bring production forward earlier to serve a good cause. “A friend in Charleston who is a member of the Carolina Lady Anglers wanted to raffle off a hat band that will benefit cancer research as part of their“ Angling for a Cure ”fishing tournament from September 29th to October 2nd. This seemed like another way to promote my product while also helping a good cause, so I agreed. “

With the weather still warm and the football season in full swing, Carmichael is delighted that their soft launch comes at an opportune time. “Given the people attending soccer games and the weather is still warm, Cobia and I decided to do a soft launch and make it available now,” said Carmichael.

“My signature band color is Seabra, which is Irish Galic for Zebra,” said Carmichael. “My mother was an O’Shields, so a tip of the hat for her, pardon the pun, but we have other color options and lengths as some may want to tie a bow in the back or others a short tie.”

“This project was so much fun,” said Carmichael. “Although it seems to be going in a completely different direction than my previous job, it has some parallels. One reason I am such an advocate of education is that you learn to think, apply knowledge, and solve problems at the highest level. In that regard, this invention required me to use the same skills that I used every day when I was the Dean of USC Salkehatchie. The big difference was that there was absolutely no pressure as this is more of a hobby than a business. “

“I absolutely loved my career in higher education and I will forever be grateful that God took me to serve Him in this way, but I was also ready to complete this chapter in my life and spend more time with my family. ”said Carmichael. “I was curious to see what was on the horizon, because an educator never stops learning and my personality does not allow me to slow down. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Ephesians 3:20. He’s speaking to the church, but I think he’s speaking to all of us. Expect great things from the Lord when you allow him to work through you. ”

The Breezy Beach logo was a collaboration between Carmichael and former Salk student Alexis Jones. Jones, now a printmaker in Colombia, was hired by Carmichael to complete the artwork.

Breezy Beach is slated to be available for purchase this week at Sweet Dreams, Sewn Seams, and Jellybeans on Washington Street in downtown Walterboro, and will sell for $ 25.


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