By Jodi Wile
I started my business for two reasons… one to be home for my daughter and two, I hated working in the corporate world. After growing tired of my complaining, a friend suggested I discover my calling and profit from it. Well I already knew what my calling was - sewing. I have been sewing since childhood and love everything about sewing and fashion.
My entrance into business ownership was more like a push, I was fired from my secretarial job because my daughter had the chicken pox and the supervisor felt I did not need five days off, so on the 3rd day, she called and suggested I not return. I was a single parent with a small saving account, so to earn a living I worked temp and started doing alterations to supplement my income. I told one person about my side-line business and the word spread. It seemed every other day I was taking someone's clothes home for repair or they would come by on weekends for alterations. One of my customers suggested I enter her church's fashion show and a light bulb went off in my head - this could be my entrance into the field of fashion.
I am true believer that when you are true to yourself and seek out your purpose in life, all sorts of doors will begin to open. My first fashion show was an tremendous success. I assumed it would be a small show in the basement of a church, but I was wrong. It was an huge affair held in the grand ballroom of a major upscale hotel, complete with some of the area's top designers. I was excited and nervous at the same time, but ready. I designed some of the most creative garments I could conceive and received a host of compliments. This lead to a short stint on the fashion show circuit in Houston which I ended because I was spending more money than I was making.
From there, I opened my own custom clothing boutique. In the beginning things were not so good because I had much to learn about business and consumers. I opened my store in a small trading center, but later closed and relocated to my home. I turned a spare bedroom into my fashion showroom / work room and began soliciting work.
Word-of-mouth has always been my main source of advertising and I am proud to say while I may have had some difficult customers, I have never had an complaint about my work.
Writing is my second love. I have written since childhood. I love writing how-to books with lists, tips and suggestions. To learn more about business, I enrolled in a entrepreneurial class at a local college. One of our class projects was to start a biz from start to finish. My instruction gave me an A+ and suggested I share my knowledge with others. I was looking for another business to start along with the clothing business, so I decided to give it a try.
I wrote my first publication, sew and profit and gave it away to a sewing friend. She called me a month later saying it was invaluable. I then starting selling this publication through sewing magazine classified ads and direct mail. So far I have written 5 books, Sew and Profit, Sew w/Style, The Wardrobe Consultant, Wedding Consultant and my latest, Clothing Design, plus I write a newsletter for custom clothiers.
I also run a custom bridal biz from my home. I design fashions for flower girls, bridesmaids and offer custom-made bridal accessories and veils.