With the business location in hand, and the store on its way to getting the interior work done that it needed, I needed to turn my attention upwards, specifically to the roof, which I learned throughout the buying process had it’s own issues to tend to. I was very set on this exact location for my business as I had my eye on it for quite some time, so managed to add the repairs into the buying price which was fortunate for me. I found a local company called Citadel Roof to come in and do the work I needed, and it was more than a small favor, as they managed to come in under quote and save me some money in the meantime.

While the work was being done, I was busy trying to sort out the rest of the details when it came to my offerings. I had been making clothes of all types and sizes since I was in high school, and had to get busy on cataloguing it all, arranging by size, style, weather, and more to ensure that when customers came in, that they had their choices laid out for them. I also started a catalogue of all the things that I could create uniquely for those who wanted something tailored for them. I figured this gave me a different edge when it came to clothing design as my customers could be sure that they were wearing an article of clothing that no one else in the area had.

When I finally opened my doors to the public, it took a little bit for the real customer flow to start coming in. My friends and those who had known me most of my life all made their rounds and bought their items, but word of mouth travelled a little slower, within the first couple months I began to worry, but as the holiday season hit, my sales started to explode. Bringing an internet edge to my store saw orders coming in from across the country, and it seemed that every local in my home town wanted something done for a friend or relative for the holidays. I wound up having to bring my mother in to help with some of the orders just to make sure I got them all out on time.

Things slowed down after the holiday rush as they tend to do, but I never really hit another point of worry since then. Which has been great, being able to follow my dream and passion since childhood into something that I managed to formulate a career out of. I have sent out orders across the state, the country and even to neighboring countries, I have been featured in the newspaper, and a few different magazines, and managed to carve a pretty nice niche out for myself. Hopefully it’s something that I can pass on to my kids as time goes by, and may to theirs, as my grandmother did to me, and I will be ever thankful for.

Self Labelling            

By the time I hit high school, my aptitude with a sewing machine had already started to garner some notice. My friends would ask where a lot of my clothes came from, and I would respond by telling them I made them myself. This type of approach to high school fashion was definitely out of touch with most kids, and kind of set me apart, but not in a bad way. I had the ability to truly stand out, and it was through something creative and artistic that I did on my own.

There was a few big box stores in my home town, and those who had the money to do so normally bought their clothes in the next big city over where there was more unique selection. This of course could lead to our hallways looking like they were filled with hundreds of tiny clones, all in the same outfits. I never wanted to fit that mould, and where some of my classmates would drop a hundred dollars on an outfit, I could use the same amount to buy the supplies to make myself five. I’m sure this was also a source of relief for my parents, not having to drop that much money for me to be clothed throughout the school year, especially with growth spurts and the like rendering investment useless.

After high school it was sort of a given that I would follow my passion into fashion design. I applied to all the nearby schools that offered the course I was looking for, and was fortunate enough to get into one that was only a short drive from my hometown, leaving me able to save more money then having to move out and across the state, paying for rent, food, and more as I pursued my studies. I managed to learn a great deal about fashion design and creation, and was fortunate enough to have a highly knowledgeable teaching staff that took the time the students needed of them. I know that my skill in the matter grew exponentially, and allowed me to broaden my scope of creation to more than just clothes for myself.

When I graduated, with an undergrad in business management, you can probably guess where the next portion of my journey went. I wound up still within my hometown, and my eye on a small business space that I would turn into my dream. After securing the finances I needed, I signed some papers, and got some keys, and remember walking into the space for the first time as a store owner, and thinking what do I do now? I had a contractor come in and look at the space, and the changes that I wanted to make, got all my estimates lined up, and took my first steps to getting it all done. The design of the business, like that of a garment, was coming along, and all I had to do now was form the space to it’s needs.

Sew Chic            

I don’t know what it is about the look, form and feel of fashion, but it is something that has had my attention since my teens. I would look at the clothes people were wearing, how I could make changes to it, and how it seemed kind of ludicrous for people to spend hundreds of dollars on something that I knew I could make myself at home. This is what began my journey into the world of fashion, and though that statement generally conjures up images of runways and catwalks across the Parisian scenery, my little shop on a side street in my home town is where I apply my trade.

I may not be gracing the covers of high fashion magazines, or having high profile celebrities wearing my creations on the red carpet of some swanky awards ceremony, but there is a sense of satisfaction when I’m grocery shopping and see a mother of two walking around in one of the blouses I made, or seeing a student heading to their prom in one of my dresses. These are the reasons I got into fashion. To bring an alternative for those who want to look their best without having to fork over hundreds of dollars. I may not produce the name designs that the biggest players in the industry do, but I know there is an intimate sense of quality to everything I put out, and that I have a loyal fan base here in my hometown that keeps the lights on.

I think my sense of style was originally influenced by my grandmother. She was a short, quiet lady who allowed her outside look do most of the talking for her. She was amazing at accessorising with all forms of brooches, pendants, earrings, and other costume jewellery, and though our family wasn’t well off my any means, she carried herself with the grace of a woman who had been in high society her entire life. She was also a wizard with a needle and thread, able to take care of any clothing that had outlived it’s expiration date, with never an obvious patch to be seen. When you’re coming from a background of making the most out of the little you have, these skills were a necessity.

I was really the only one who took after her in this regard, I would spend time watching her either sew, or knit, or even crochet on occasion. Watching her hands at work was kind of mesmerizing, and seeing her take a patch of cloth, or a ball of yarn, and turn it into something completely new was nothing short of miraculous in my young eyes. By the time I was reaching middle school I was already learning how to do some of it myself, with her guidance, and from that point I never really looked back, just continually trying to get better at it, and to see what I could create out of my own visions when it came to fabrics.