“We do custom clothing, but we also do textile design and we do embroidery. I like to do a lot of genres within that field. Last season, I did some things that were definitely art deco-inspired. That happens a lot, where I have customers who want something from a specific era or just with the feel of a specific era.
I started out sewing in a factory locally. We used to have a band uniform company in Goshen, and I started out with that. I really liked everything about the fashion industry and designing. I did an apprenticeship with another master tailor, and what that means is you generally spend about three or four years on the art of tailoring and construction. Then you spend another three or four years on design – learning to draft patterns from scratch, whether it’s draping or flat-pattern design. So I did a full apprenticeship, had a good relationship with him, spent quite a few years with him. I was building my business on the side at the same time, and of course working several jobs. I was at Goshen College for about seven and a half years, and I was still tailoring during all of that time.
We’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of garments. The art deco piece that I just did was quite exciting. It was fun. I don’t normally do anything for ladies, but this was a classic duster. It was in linen. It had Swarovski crystals hand-sewn all over it, and embroidery, of course. There are a couple suits that stick out. I’ve done suits for a couple of Washington insiders and a couple high-profile people in New York that I have as customers. Those are always interesting, and generally a very luxurious cloth.
I had always lived outside of town. I have to admit, my location choice was by default early on because I had family here and my family was not interested in relocating. So I kind of felt stuck here – but I don’t feel that way anymore. I travel; I just last week I was in Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Madison. My clients are in New York City down through Atlanta into New Orleans, and then up. That’s actually new territory for me in Minneapolis-St. Paul. It’s just changed to where I can travel or clients travel to me. I’m settled in Goshen. I love the environment. I have this beautiful historic building that we’ve been working to refurbish. It’s a great environment. It’s a great creative space. Right here on kind of ‘Artisan Road’ down the street where I’m surrounded by like-minded artisans, craftsmen, artists.
I love it here. I love what’s going on downtown. I love the direction that we’ve gone, and I want to support that and I want to promote it. Nearly every client that I’ve had that’s come here to me has been very impressed with what an artistic town it is. The environment here has just been really good. I love to get out of town, but I like coming back.”