Apparel Designer Expands Her Business

Apparel designer Denise Meyer had the modest goal of replacing the salary she was earning while working for a large clothing manufacturer with income from her own sewing studio.When apparel designer Denise Meyer first came to the Penn State Small Business Development Center, she had the modest goal of replacing the salary she was earning while working for a large clothing manufacturer with income from her own sewing studio. Denise leveraged multiple SBDC seminars, consulting resources, and even the ribbon-cutting service to launch her business, Restitch Studio, in the fall of 2013.

The business grew steadily over the next 12 months and, emboldened by a successful first year in business and a loyal customer base, Denise came back to the SBDC in late 2014 to investigate several new product and service options with the goal of expanding her business. Although she discussed several options with her consultant, it was clear that Denise’s heart was in custom apparel design.

The SBDC consultant helped Denise evaluate the feasibility of adding custom and original apparel design services to her product mix. Considerations included production capacity, seasonality, customer mix, and local market factors, as well as the makeup of current revenue streams, and the analyses were favorable for a custom apparel design service in the State College area. Although Denise has conceptualized multiple avenues through which to offer her custom design services, the first goal was to boost her winter revenues–a slow time in the seamstress industry–by offering custom and original gown designs to women attending one of several winter charity balls in the region.

Denise wasted no time in launching a social media campaign to promote her new offering. The campaign – an interactive blog called #CollaborativeCouture-engaged Restitch Studio’s social media followers to vote on various design elements of a gown debuted at the Nittany Medical Center Foundation charity ball in February 2015. The blog got dozens of likes, shares, and comments from fans, and the voting (and hype) for continued several months as the gown took shape.

Denise was thrilled to also have been chosen to custom design a bridal gown for the 2015 wedding season, and she hopes to continue to grow her custom design work and offer this unique service to new and existing clients throughout the region.