BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY
Sandi Hendry had been working as a teacher for 30 years in Ogden when her adult daughter was hospitalized for serious liver problems.
She visited her daughter in her hospital bed often. As a gift, Sandi made her a blanket to make her feel more at home. But, as time went on, the blanket won some notoriety in the hospital. On Sandi’s visits to the hospital, she noticed someone new was wrapped up in the blanket. Eventually, she started receiving orders for blankets for other patients in the hospital. So, about 11 years ago, she started her own business: Minky Couture.
While that first blanket was made at home, and subsequent blankets were sold out of her trunk, Sandi grew the company to what it is today: selling approximately 50,000 blankets a month. Apart from her own ingenuity, she has her family to thank for their support.
“My kids all love giving a Minky as a gift,” she said. “There is no one that can’t receive a blanket. They can be confident that the receiver is going to love it.” Her clientele includes infants and elderly, male and female.
The printed fabrics that make up Minky Couture blankets are made exclusive for the company. You won’t find any of their designs in a fabric store. Every step of blanket construction is done in-house. Even the 70-odd seamstresses are local and sew from home. Sandi is sensitive to meeting the needs of her employees, who tend to be stay-at-home moms.
“We have talented seamstresses in Utah,” she said. “We’ve created a place to create an income and use the talent they have.”
Minky blankets aren’t just sold in Utah; Sandi has found markets nationwide. They have also done corporate orders for over 2,400 companies, among them Sinclair Oil and KSL. It’s not just blankets anymore, either. Now Sandi sells robes, scarves, and bags too.
In staying true to its roots, Minky Couture also has a charitable arm known as “The Heart of Minky.” The company donates 1,500 mini blankets every month to Newborn Intensive Care Units in hospitals all over the country. These mini blankets allow mothers to share their scent with their babies while incubated in the hospital. Sandi is proud to help these babies in a small way.
“People underestimate that a single product can become such a wonderful part of your day to bring you comfort,” she said.