Humble Beginnings (and many tears and sweat later)
I have to admit, I am only human, and some days are just plain hard. In fact, I think this past week was just rough. I can't explain why it was especially so. I was just fatigued, burned out. I seemed to have lost sight of why I quit my full time job to do this--to pursue this dream called "Ele Story". I missed my mom. I cried a lot. Crying is good though--I always felt a little bit better after shedding some tears. Even June bug has been very sweet and understanding, telling me "Mommy it's ok. I'm here". My sweet little girl! Well, why am I spending time writing this when I really ought to be in bed? heh. There's a tendency for me to wallow in all the "to-do's" and the "what-to-do's" and just crumble under the pressure.
But, last week, as we released our new pinafore dress designs for this year, I am reminded of our humble beginnings, and know that God has been faithful to us (and I merely held on by a thread onto Him). April 13, 2013 marked the first ever Facebook post that I put up, and it was just a very grainy, unphotoshopped picture of my first design (ok, concurrent with the jacket, which demands a whole other post devoted to just that)--the pinafore dress: (see I told you it was unglamorous). This deceptively " simple" garment is actually by far the most difficult to sew dress that we have. The yoke is all clean finished on the inside, but the body and sleeves have to be gathered. The sewing team almost dreads sewing this one, but customers love the design!
A lot of hard work cutting, re-cutting, patterning, re-patterning, then sewn and re-sewn. Then samples made and re-made, and the fit had to be just right. A lot of sweat and tears went into this first design. I insisted on having clean finishes everywhere too, and our sewers did not like that. haha. Also finding sewers was another challenge. I think I resewed about 50% of the buttons on our first batch of pinafore dresses because the buttons were not perfectly aligne! (It was kind of a secret, but now that it's all done with, I feel like I can spill the beans a little). : p
Here's my very first concept design that I sewed, and very professionally put it on a bed to shoot a flat of it to put on facebook. : ) Ahhh...humble beginnings. Then, working with the pattern was a whole other thing I hadn't experienced before.
After days of reworking the pattern, I sent it off to be "fixed", or "finessed" by a professional pattern-maker, since I was not super confident of my pattern making skills. It wasn't her fault how it turned out, it was just our first time working together and perhaps the communication could have been better. Still, not to exaggerate, I literally broke into tears when I got this pattern and sample back and tried it on our eager beaver daughter...this Facebook post was titled "love the model, but not the dress". True statement. My encouraging and very sweet friends wrote very nice comments on this post to keep me going...glad to say, almost 2 years later, I'm still standing, and have not let this initial set back knock me down. I kind of think it's funny now, actually, looking at it. Ok, maybe I just think our sweet little girl looks super funny and cute in it. She was just happy to be a first-time model for mommy...or maybe it's that she just discovered she can spill the buttons everywhere and mommy wouldn't get mad. heehee.
Anyway, all that to say, almost 2 years come April, I am thankful that although times can be and have been hard, and running a small business is extremely challenging and overwhelming at times (ok, most of the time), that bit by bit, I can see how far we have come. Just wanted to post how our actual pinafores turned out after weeks and months of perfecting the fit--and they were very well loved! :)
(photo courtesy of Melissa Fuller photography)
(photo courtesy of a fellow mommy/customer who makes beautiful matching head pieces fashionably-L8)
(photo courtesy of Livie & Luca)
Has life been full of challenges lately? Hope this little anecdote has inspired you, and that you can trace back to a time not so long ago when you felt the wind in your sail after overcoming some obstacles. Little by little, let's stay strong know how far you have come!
Ele Story - Classic Children's Clothing Reimagined
Sally Feldman — March 18 2015
Judy. I love all your designs! Very versatile clothes. I think we all miss our Moms! Me especially. I think we all lose track time to time, or day to day!
You are doing what you dreamed of doing and some days or all are hard. Look at where you started and have grown! Prayers for you. You are doing great! Sally
Eileen Keran — March 16 2015
Judy I love watching your little company grow. I purchased this darling yellow pinafore (order #00001) for Lily almost 2 years ago. We LOVE it!
Love & best wishes for many more successful years to come.
oxox from cousin Lily’s Mimi.