rouge + whimsy
Tell us about your business.From a very young age, I was enamored by sewing and fabric. My mother and I would sneak off to the fabric store after dinner, where we would spend house examining fabrics and pouring over pattern books. Fast-forward to my first job out of college, where I was largely unhappy. I bought my own sewing machine off Craigslist and began experimenting with my own creations. A few patterns and tote bags later, I saw an opportunity to turn this into more than a hobby. This is just my second year and I am constantly learning about the process-- pattern design, fabric choice and manufacturing, but more than that, I'm learning about myself and what it means to be pursuing a creative business.
What makes your business stand out?Handmade doesn't have to mean unfashionable. I'm someone who loves clothes and accessories and I channel that into each of my designs. But I'm also someone who believes in connecting with the greater world, which is why I've recently launched "Give 10" at rouge + whimsy, which means that 10 percent of each sale goes to support women's health, small-business and education reform through the non-profit World Vision.
What's the best business advice you've received?The best business advice came from the woman who started the whole fabric and sewing obsession: my own mother. She has always told me to stick to making what I like, and follow what I believe in. Setting a business up on anything less that your own ideas, your own spark and beliefs isn't worth it.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.