Twenty three years ago I wanted to learn to sew. I was tired of paying the crazy prices at the stores for dresses and what not. I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine, bought a pattern for a dress and the necessary notions. I then asked a friend’s mother, Mrs. Brow, to show me how to thread the machine and read a pattern. I made a dress that day, and I took it to Mrs. Brow for approval. She went over it with a fine tooth comb, told me it was perfect, and that I had a talent. I thought it was easy and told her I wanted to make roman shades for my back doors. Mrs. Brow said,” Oh no, you need to leave that up to the professionals.” I don’t take “no” to kindly, and I will do it just to prove you wrong. Believe me, that attitude has cost me a lot of money in the past. I once built a 5800 square foot house because three men told me I couldn’t do it! (I won’t do it again, trust me!)
I purchased a pattern for the roman shades, found the fabric I wanted and bought all the “hardware”. They did take me a couple of days to get them done because I didn’t understand a single thing the directions were telling me. When I was in high school in Germany, I took an auto class, so I wouldn’t have to take Home Economics. I didn’t want to do that “girly stuff”. Now, I make homes pretty for a living and cooking is my passion. Go figure! Ok, back to the roman shades. After I installed them, I called Mrs. Brow and asked her to come over; I told her that I had something I wanted to show her. After she saw what I had done, and she had gone over every inch of stitching, she told me I had a gift from God. I chuckled because it wasn’t THAT hard once I got the hang of it. She told me I had a talent, and I needed to use it. I asked her, “Who would pay you for this?”
At that time, I was a computer programmer for an insurance company, and I worked part-time. I started to make shower curtains, pillows, and table covers for my friends and then someone introduced me to a decorator. She hired me to make a couple of window treatments for her client. I remember being so nervous after she told me the fabric cost $48.00 a yard. I completed the job in a couple of days with a total of MAYBE six hours invested in the job. She came to pick up the window treatments and handed me a check.
I then had to pick up my lower jaw from the floor! I couldn’t believe I just made that much money! I then went to my programming job, walked into the HR director’s office and gave my two weeks notice. I made more money in a couple of hours fabricating window treatments than I did in two weeks (part-time) programming computers! I never regretted that decision. My husband was of course a little shocked..
In 1998 I bought a fabric store thinking,” This will be the gravy for the potatoes!” If I knew then what I know now; I never would have bought the fabric store. Retail was NOT for me. I needed to design, not sell. I now had a fabric store, a workroom and lots of employees. I no longer enjoyed it. The retail side was just not what I wanted. 12 years to the day after I purchased the store, I got rid of the retail side of my business. All the fabric was sold off, and I moved the workroom. I am back to designing and I am happy again.
I was fortunate to find my talent and be able to make a living using it. I am also fortunate to be able to say once again that I love what I do. The joy of my job comes when the client sees the finished product, whether it is a shower curtain or their entire house, and they say,” WOW!” I always go for the WOW factor; I like to see people smile.