Abby Maddy Designs

American Made Since 2010

Stefanie Weakley

Woodbridge, Virginia
A self-taught seamstress, I created a unique line of accessories when I couldn't find stylish and functional apparel for my own children.

Tell us about your business.

Army wife, mommy, lover of coffee, chocolate and wine- three years ago I was the LAST person you would've caught sewing! But when my husband came home to tell me that he was deploying yet again I knew that I had to make a change. I began experimenting with sewing and a few months later when my handmade items went viral among our friends and family, I began to think maybe this was the opportunity I had been praying for. So I borrowed my mom's twenty year old Singer and literally “Googled” how to thread a sewing machine- and every step thereafter. I gave myself a crash course in sewing, buried my head in manuals and videos and got to work. In the past three years our little shop has grown quickly from a few burp cloths to an entire line of handmade accessories for women and children. With that growth came the opportunity to have our designs carried by a few boutiques, and 2011 saw the addition of our blog, Abby Maddy Inspired where I share our life and business adventures.

What makes your business stand out?

While most shops open once and then work to build a consistent customer base, as an Army spouse, I have to be flexible and adapt to the constant uncertainty of our lifestyle. Military moves can be both frequent and sudden, making it impossible to maintain a traditional career. Launching Abby Maddy has allowed me to express myself creatively while still pursuing a career that I am passionate about. Knowing that I may only have a year before our next move ignites a sense of urgency in me and I have to make every moment count. I have become skilled in marketing and publicity and I quickly integrate myself into a new community, networking at every opportunity. I've learned to streamline my business and stay organized, always ready to take on the next challenge. But I've also developed a passion for mentoring and supporting other military spouse entrepreneurs and I devote my blog to sharing advice, tips and partnering with other handmade and indie businesses.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Work when you don't feel like working. Get up, dress up and show up. Don't expect to be an overnight success- expect to work harder than you've ever had to work in your life. Give 110% everyday, that extra 10% will set you apart. Know that the lights will never all be green at the same time, be ready to encounter road blocks and have a plan to get around them. But most importantly, just get started. Work wins where wishing won't.

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