I have found myself lately comparing what I do, my business, to big businesses. I went down the avenue of thinking that maybe custom design was not a sustainable business, even though it is what I love to do. I tossed around the idea of making a few designs that I could mass produce in various colors to sell because that is what the more established businesses do. That is what makes fast money. But then I had this thought, that being a small business is like being a whisper in the middle of a hurricane. A whisper that reaches out and pulls you in, in the commercial den of today's society. You will never find me on TV shouting about how wonderful my designs are and how you should buy them today! You will never see me in a pop up add on your computer screen. But you will still find me. I will be in the conversation you have with a friend, who just couldn't find what they were looking for in stores. I will grab your attention when you attend the wedding of a coworker and ask, "where did you get your dress?" and she says, "oh let me introduce you, she is right over here!" I will be the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, sketching out designs and striking up a conversation with you about Alabama football.
That is the beauty of a small business. We are so unlike our big business counter parts. I am my business, my business is me. When you buy from me, you are getting not only a product, you are getting a friend. If you walk into a department store, you may find someone to point you to what you are looking for, but it certainly wont be the designer of the clothing or the owner of the company. Chances are, the designer nor the owner, have even laid eyes on what they are selling you. But when you buy from a small business, like myself, you are buying a labor of love. You are buying the product of someone's passion. Most times, you are speaking personally to the owner and creator of the product you are buying. Most times, you are more than a client to them, you are a friend. When you buy from a small business, especially a creative business, you are saying "I see you, and I get it!" You are saying, "I connect with what you make and I find value in your passion." You are not just buying a product, you are validating someone's journey in life.
When all of these thoughts came to me, I knew I was on the right path. I am not out to get rich quick. I am not out to mass produce a line of clothing. That is not what I want. Honestly, I just want to make art you live your life in. I want to see your face light up when I get it right. I want to listen to your stories and understand your journey in life. I want to know your passion and I want to help you show your authentic self on your special day. I am invested in your journey, not just your pocket book. And buying from me means you are invested in me and my journey. There is more than just money involved in our transaction.
I love finding old pieces of fabric, that used to be beautiful, but are now in the bottom of the thrift store bin, and creating something beautiful with them. I feel fulfilled when I look at an old table cloth and the pieces in my brain just slide together to form a beautiful dress that someone will want. The process I go through when designing for someone is similar to finding that piece at the bottom of the bin. I listen the your stories, get to know your passions, taking all of you into account when I go to make something for you. I get to know you on a personal level, not just your measurements or your preferences. I design to fit the soul, not just the body.
Me, I design. I create. I sew. I touch every piece of fabric and stitch every seam myself. When I release a garment to someone, I release a little bit of myself out into the world. To be judged, to be found worthy or wanting. It is just as personal for me as it is for you. I may never get rich. I may never have a big factory of people producing my designs. I may not create things that can be mass produced, and I am ok with that. I am ok with finding the things that set me apart and relishing in them. Because that it what real beauty is! It is our differences that make us beautiful. Humans are not mass produced in the same shapes and sizes and styles and backgrounds. We are all different and beautiful. My designs are meant to reflect the soul, and no two souls are alike. So I concluded that, though the hurricane may get more attention, it is just more noise in an already noisy world. It is the whisper that draws people in. It is the whisper that makes people stop, be still and really take notice to what is being said. I choose to be the whisper, the intimate calm in a noisy world.