MIND YOUR P'S & FAQ'S / by Elizabeth Leese

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Lately I've been so overwhelmed by the love and support from brides and followers. I will hear stories every now and then how a friend of a friend has my work saved on their phone or a complete stranger has me at the top of list for when they get married. My heart you guys. So, I wanted to spend a little time with you answering your questions! I like to reach my brides on a personal level so it's only fair that I be an open book to you. 

DO YOU SEW EVERYTHING?

As of right now, yes! I usually always have an intern on hand and they help tremendously, but as for the process, I take it start to finish with designing, fitting, and sewing. Over the past year I've kept a log on each dress and found they take an average of 50 hours to make and one of those actually took over 100 hours to complete. Yeah, I had to scrape my jaw off the floor when I totaled that one- it's a labor of love!

Did you have to go to school for fashion?

Yes! I picked up sewing when I was younger, but I was winging it in a major way. I've seen fashion design on lists of degree-less careers which is like saying since I can use calculator, I'm basically a mathematician. There are so many working parts to fashion that it does take going to school to learn them all. In school, you start with basics of designing, sewing, and pattern making and you build upon those as you go. There's also a technical/computer side of the industry for the tech savvy, and the labor intensive beading/handwork side for the people (like me) that love monotony. 

I want to go to fashion school! DO they TEACH YOU ABOUT TRENDS?

Well.. not quite. Where I went to school, the fashion program is art-based so we begin with art classes before we can even take any fashion classes. They taught us more about how to think as an individual and an artist rather than follow trends. There are, however, degrees like fashion merchandising that explore trends and the business side of the industry. 

How many brides do you take per yer?

This year I took around 20 custom orders and I may be taking a few more in 2018! Wedding dresses take around 4-6 months to complete so calendar space is limited. Most brides book from now until spring, so if you're looking to get married in 2018, now is the time to secure your spot! 

DO I GET TO KEEP MY SKETCH?

Absolutely! I keep it until the dress is complete and then I wrap it up for you to take home with your gown. Pretty much a second Christmas. I even had someone ask if I would ever redraw a sketch in a bigger version or a painting and my answer to that was heck yes! 

How are brides finding you?

Word of mouth is my BEST form of advertisement. I have paid for several advertisements that haven't done anything compared to good ol' conversation. It is the best compliment to hear that people have been recommending me or showing my work to others so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

WHERE DO YOU FIND MOTIVATION to be your own boss?

I love work and I love talking about work. I believe we are hardwired to work whether that looks like rearing children, manual labor, or crunching numbers. I found it very challenging to be working toward someone else's dream after a certain point in my life, which is when I left and started my business. You will find that motivation comes easy when you love what you do. No bones about it, it's difficult working for yourself. It seems like a dream that I can do whatever I want because I only answer to me, but it comes at a price. There are a lot of pressures in the fashion industry that add to existing pressures of paying bills, staying relevant, you get it. Some days it is hard to get out of bed and be 100% self-motivated and enthusiastic. So I pray. A lot. I also try to exercise (as much as I'd like you to think gym- don't) healthy habits. I listen to my emotions and if I'm on a downhill slide I take time to get re-inspired. Not every day is a win but I don't have to treat it like a loss. 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO BRIDAL?

I suppose at the heart of it all, I just wanted to do good. I wanted to be able to give back, help people, and create with purpose. Wedding dresses are so personal and meaningful, especially when they are custom-made. To be able to design and sew gowns for the most important day of a couples life is truly dreamy. My job has me constantly starry-eyed!

DO YOU ALWAYS WEAR WHITE?

When I was 12 my mom let me paint my room 8 different colors and I think that was when my brain started to question whether I could handle color. (Yall, my ceiling was 2 shades of purple, all the trim was dark blue, the bottom half of my walls were green and the top half was sky blue and in the middle were pink, yellow and white daisies.) I have been through so many phases of colorful clothing and decorations and I've finally settled on one that makes sense to my brain. So now, I have to carry shout wipes and clorox pens everywhere, but it's worth it to be monochromatic. Creatives are continually making decisions and living with one less choice about what to wear is like taking a friggin vacation. So I wear whites! Trying to find something to wear to a wedding when your closet is one color is the major design flaw though. 

Where do you fall with all the comparison happening in social media?

We live in a show-off era and it's very weird when you think about it, but it's pretty easy to get sucked into wishing we had someone else's life. I like to think of it in terms of God's imagery for the church, "If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell?" 1 Corinthians 12:17. Our talents gather dust when we look at others and wish we had their abilities. "God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another." 1 Peter 4:10

More questions? Write them in the comments! 

-EL

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