Our Story

Kathy Phillips, CEOKathy Phillips, CEO
Kathy’s Incredible Journey
Like all great ideas, Kathy’s started with a challenge – trying to find unique products for her paint studio and retail store in Lancaster, PA she owned with her Mother for over 10 years.

Inspired by her desire for unique and creative items to fill her own shelves, Kathy took matters into her own hands, literally. She handmade the first “primitive candle box” in 1997. Crafting the box by hand, taking care into each detail from the sanded edges to the type of ribbon tied on the wire handles, each was a work of passion.

Driven by her innate creativity and entrepreneurial spirit – the product that started it all was born.

Demand grew quickly for the growing line of handmade products, and Kathy enjoyed great success, it was then that she enlisted the help of the wonderful people at Goodwill Services to aid in fulfilling the increasing demand. It was at this moment that one of the most valuable philanthropic partnerships was formed and still exists to this day.

Because of Kathy’s passion for creativity, her experience in strategic product mix, the addition of a talented team creating product with ahead of market styling and WOW customer service from sales and operations, Primitives by Kathy experienced record-breaking growth year after year.

Within 20 years, Primitives by Kathy grew from 1 product to over 8,000 with a team of over 150 talented and passionate industry experts – and is ranked as one of the top 25 fastest-growing women owned businesses in the world. 

Primitives by Kathy has been named to Central Penn Business Journal's Fastest Growing Companies 10 years in a row and received the Retailer's Excellence Award for Vendor of the Year, Inc. 5000 recognition.

Kathy’s expertise is frequently sought after for trends and new products by publications and media in the industry with a secured position as a thought leader and innovator for the gift & home industry. The industry is always waiting for what Kathy will come up with next – the constant product development is unlike any other company in the industry and sets Primitives by Kathy apart.

To this day, Kathy Phillips remains at the helm, driving the company with her innovative thinking, entrepreneurial spirit and artistic vision.

True success for Kathy is giving back – and remembering the organizations who had supported her in the beginning. Kathy makes giving part of the corporate strategy, creating products that not only look good, but do good in our “Benefit” collection or encouraging donation of time and talent by the team at Primitives by Kathy through a number of charitable opportunities and outreach.

It might seem like quite the story – but we can assure you, it is only the beginning.

Kathy and Annie Main Building Awards Ceremony
Kathy and Annie Main Building Awards Ceremony

Our Inspiration
We’re constantly inspired by the people, places and things around us. Kathy travels the world to pull inspiration first hand from cultures around the globe.

We create product that is ahead-of-the trend, uniquely designed and constantly evolving. We embrace the unexpected, set the trends and challenge ourselves to create décor and gifts that are memorable and one-of-a-kind.

We believe that a combination of the perfect sentiment and fresh design never goes out of style. Our promise is to create the designs that you love – with the expertise and product mix you desire.

We’re inspired by you, our loyal customers, to bring the best products to market for you to enjoy.

Our Care
Kathy has worked tirelessly to give back to the community where she lives and works. In the past 20 years, Primitives by Kathy donated tens of thousands of dollars through our charitable contributions and benefit box sign program to organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Fisher House Foundation, The United Disabilities Services Foundation, and more. 

In addition to charitable partnerships, Kathy is an active participant in mentor programs where she instills the values of leadership, creativity and drive into young women across Lancaster County to inspire them by all she has accomplished.   

Kathy’s passion for quality doesn’t end with the product – she prides herself on a team of equally passionate people who serve customers with exceptional ‘WOW’ service. The care for excellent customer service has remained constant through the explosive growth – and is a reflection of Kathy’s unwavering dedication to her product and customers experience.