Sometimes it only takes one person to recognize that you have a unique talent and to help you develop it. For me, that special person was my grandmother, Clyde Marion.
One summer while visiting Grandma Marion's house in the small town of Columbus Georgia I ended up having an unexpected extended stay, so I was unprepared with any books or ways to pass the time (before the age of ubiquitous electronics!) Searching for things to do, I managed to find a piece of pink felt and a thin silver wire from which I cut a circular shape. Then I gathered up the center hole excess material with the wire and fit it around the one toy I had brought: a Barbie doll. I was 11.
Seeing what I had accomplished with just the felt and wire, Grandma Marion immediately took me to the fabric store where she bought me a barbie doll clothes pattern and some fabrics. Back at her house, she taught me how to read the markings on the pattern, cut it, and attach the pieces together. We didn't use a machine; everything was by hand. She sent me home to Florida with a bag full of wonderful scraps of satin and lace, cotton batiste and organza.
I took it from there.
By age thirteen, I was selling custom designed barbie doll clothes at charity events and making my own cocktail dresses which I wore to Thanksgiving dinners and family parties.
That led to sewing Halloween costumes for neighbors' kids. By age 15, I had put together a gown portfolio and began marketing my dresses to local bridal stores in my home town. I ended up having three stores carry my creations by the time I was 16.
My first hourly rate job at 17 was actually in a fabric store. I was in the shop so often that the manager asked if I would like to work there! Discount!
As a senior in high school, I also worked in a bridal store doing their alterations and selling my gowns. By age 18, I had a full line of gowns ranging from pageant to prom and bridal.
College came and I got more involved in dance and pageants. I choreographed opening dance numbers, danced on my college dance team, and even taught ballroom dance for a short time. In 1998, I won the title of Miss Florida Achievement. So naturally I ended up combining my gown design skills and dance, resulting in a line of ballroom dance wear.
The gift that my grandmother gave me so many years ago has blessed my life in so many ways and I hope to be able to share that with you.
Now, after decades of gown design and construction, I still love it just as much as I did at Grandma Marion's house over 20 years ago. I truly believe that if you find your passion, you find your purpose. I am blessed to be able to spend time with my two young sons while doing what I enjoy.
I take great pride in my work and the results of my work. My goal is that my energy spent, and attention to the finest details, will help make your special moments meaningful and memorable.
Thank you Grandma Marion for helping me find my passion.