“Let every knee bend before Thee, O greatness of my God,
so supremely humbled in the Sacred Host. May every heart love Thee,
every spirit adore Thee and every will be subject to Thee!”
— St. Margaret Mary
Happy Tuesday All.
When we started our veiling series, we decided we’d give the Veil Companies the chance to tell their personal veiling stories as well as how they came to start a veiling company. The Holy Spirit is so deeply interwoven into this story, I’m skipping my intro so that you can get right to reading it. What a fantastic story.
Our guest author today is Karen Zenti, Owner and Founder of Silver Hill Treasures. Karen previously shared her veiling story in March. Here is the story of Silver Hill Treasures…
It was January 2010. I had finally decided to go with it, for my birthday. So I tentatively approached my husband – “I’ve been thinking about wearing a veil to Mass.” “Cool. Did you buy one yet?” he said. “Nope”, I replied “any ideas where I can find one?” He had none.
I looked online and didn’t find much. Most of what I saw looked like stiff doilies. So I decided to try my hand at making a veil. How hard could it be, really?
The first decision was pretty easy – what shape? I went with a triangle because it seemed like that was the most common shape. What color? Black seemed a natural decision – it’s neutral and formal. What lace to use? The fabric store had some laces, but I was too concerned about what the ladies who work there would think about my chapel veil idea, so I just grabbed the one with the smallest flower pattern.
Making the veil itself wasn’t hard, I had extensive sewing experience. The hard part was making it proportionate so that it would lay right on the head. Having had zero experience with veils, I wasn’t sure what size to make it.
So I did what I dreaded most – I called my mom. I expected her to ridicule me for wanting to wear a veil. After all, her generation was the one that did away with veiling. I figured she thought it was antiquated.
I asked if she remembered what size a veil should be. She decided to come over and show me. So I pulled out the veil I had started to make and she said it was too small. Too small? I didn’t think it needed to hang past your ears! She recommended I look for Spanish and French veils – and went into a long conversation about the different colors, styles of lace, veil shapes…
The 30 Veils
In late January I finally found someone who sold Spanish veils – they were $96 each! So I kept looking and finally found a Spanish lace maker who had veils at reasonable prices. The catch? The minimum order was 30 veils.
I sat in bed that night, thinking that maybe veiling just wasn’t in the cards. But I’d thought about it for over a year, and had finally decided to take the plunge. I said to the Virgin Mary, “I’m sorry, but it doesn’t look like I can do this right now. I can’t find a veil. Thirty veils is ridiculous, it really is.”
Then a thought came to me – if I couldn’t find a veil, there were probably many other women in the same boat. I couldn’t possibly be the only one thinking about veiling and having trouble finding a veil. But, 30 women? Were there really that many wanting a veil?
On my way home from work the next day, I stopped in at our church. I wanted to sit in silence with Jesus, to clear my mind. As I talked to him about the 30 veils, I felt at peace. I had no idea how I’d pull it off, but somehow knew that’s what I needed to do.
I called my mom again – this time to borrow money to order 30 Spanish veils. We had a good conversation, and at the end she told me she fully supported me!
A New Endeavor
Four weeks later, the Spanish veils arrived! It was then I realized what my mom had said about them. They were gorgeous! No store-bought lace could equate to these, they were a work of art! I picked out a black one and put it on, then tried a beige one. Which to choose? I ended up with black!
Now to sell them: eBay was a natural choice since I was still testing the waters. To my surprise, I sold out quickly and placed another Spanish veil order. Meanwhile, I had started making hand-crafted veils using the Spanish veils as a pattern. Again to my surprise, those sold very well too!
As the veil business picked up, my full-time job was becoming less suited to me. In July 2010, the subsidiary I worked for was closed down and I was left with trying to find a position with one of the sister companies, none of which had ever impressed me. I ended up making a lateral move, but struggled for the next 2 years trying to strike a work-life balance – something that had never been an issue before.
Meanwhile, in 2011, my veil business doubled. Then, by the time I was due with our 5th in June 2012, I realized that business in 2012 was again doubling. Crazy, you say? I say it was Our Lady’s plan all along! So rather than return to my job outside the home, we decided that I would stay home and run the veil business full time.
It wasn’t a decision we made lightly because many things depended on my outside job: health insurance and disposable income, to name a couple! But we also had our oldest child entering High School, number two starting Middle School, and our third starting Kindergarten – all in the fall of 2012. Add to that a 3-year-old and a newborn baby in daycare and it was simply too crazy a schedule for me to continue working full time.
Yes, I’m Quitting My Job to Sell Veils
Many, many people thought I was crazy for leaving a good job with ample benefits to stay home and sell veils. At least, that’s how they saw it. Me? I saw it as doing God’s will – come what may. Was it daunting? You bet. Was it scary? Absolutely. Am I sorry I ever did it? Not one bit!
Business hasn’t slowed at all – quite the opposite. It’s growing faster every month. Since 2013, Silver Hill Treasures imports French veils too. We started our own website in January 2013: www.silverhilltreasures.com
Recently I’ve started getting questions about “competition” in the veil field. I chuckle, because I honestly don’t think competition is a factor. Sure, there are several others who make and sell veils, but the “market” is in its baby stage. On the practical side, when we look at the number of Catholic women in the US alone (approximately 39 million) it becomes obvious that there is lots of room for growth. Perhaps more importantly, though, is the question: where is the growth coming from?
Why the growth?
It’s an interesting question, really. Veiling isn’t required any more, yet every day more women are buying their first veil. Over 85% of my sales are to first-time veilers. You know what I think? I think that we live in a time where we’ve lost the sense of the sacred. We are surrounded by apathy towards Jesus and His sacrifice for us. We are threatened by ideologies and religions that attack not only Catholics, but all other Christians too. People around us are “spiritual but not religious”. What does that even mean?
I think that the natural law that is written in our hearts is drawing us toward Jesus. Amid the disorder that threatens our world, our souls are thirsting for Him, and when we discover that He really is present in the Eucharist, we can’t help but want to show reverence and gratitude to Him.
I also think that Our Lady is leading women to Christ like never before – and that they are listening like never before. Very few women make a snap decision to veil; for many, it takes months of prayer and pondering before they even tell someone they are considering veiling. That’s Mary, working from within. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand explains better than I can why this is important:
“The mission of women today is of crucial importance. In some way, they have the key to sanity — the first step toward a conversion. For supernature is based on nature, and unless we go back to a natural soundness, the sublimity of the supernatural message will be lost to most of us.
Why do they have the key? Because their influence on men is enormous when they truly understand their role and mission. Again and again I hear priests say that they owe their vocation to their grandmother or mother.
St. Monica, in collaboration with God, brought back her wayward son to God. St. Bernard’s mother, St. Francis de Sales’ mother — who was only 15 years older than he — and St. John Bosco’s mother were key factors in their spiritual way to holiness.”
So What Now?
This year alone, we’ve added several new colors in the Spanish veils, and mini snap clips to keep them in place. We offer a free pamphlet explaining why women are again veiling, which can be ordered in bulk to share with family, friends, and parishes.
What’s on the horizon? More options in the accessory department, and a mid-level line of veils – an affordable variety, for those who don’t want to spend too much on a first veil – or need a spare to keep in their car or purse – or want to have several styles/colors on hand. We also have several surprises in the works, which we’ll be announcing once we have all the details!
Karen is a cradle Catholic from Tegucigalpa, Honduras who lives in Des Moines, Iowa with her husband and 5 children. She has a Business degree in Finance and a minor in French from Iowa State University. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and French – though her preferred language is Spanglish! After 20 years working full time outside the home, Karen is now a stay-home mom who runs a veil company, Silver Hill Treasures. She wears a veil any time she is in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. You can find her on Facebook,Blogger, Twitter, Pinterest and outside gardening when the weather is nice!