Tell us a little about your creative background: I have always enjoyed art, music, clothes and good design. I always viewed them as “hobbies”, never something I could do for a living. I spent many years going back and forth, deciding between a logical/business career or chasing my dreams of an art/design career. I took a few painting and drawing classes in college. After graduation, I decided that being logical was necessary in order to provide for myself and got a boring job. I went nuts! I quit after a few months and decided to learn anything and everything online and started with graphic design. I got a job as an interior designer and learned how to code on the side. From there I decided to try UX/UI design, but finally realized I wanted to design clothes because I was having the worst time finding the clothes I was looking for. I taught myself how to sew, and began the lengthy process from there. Everything creative I know how to do is self-taught! What would I do without the internet?!
What was the moment you knew sustainable fashion was what you wanted to focus on? I have always loved clothes, and I began realizing the clothes I was buying were cheaply made and not lasting as long as I wanted. I kept reading tags on clothing and majority of them said: “Made in China”. I also came across an article online about fast fashion (and at this point, I was already an F21 & H&M hater!) and read some of the horrible conditions factory workers endure, and the negative impact clothing production has on the environment. I read a ton about Rayon (a fabric a lot of the clothes in boutiques and fast fashion retailers use) and quickly learned that it's one of the cheapest synthetic fabrics in the world. Why were fashion companies using it and how were they getting away with charging an arm and a leg for items made of it? I knew after all this I had to do something about creating high quality, cruelty free, rayon free, long lasting items that were timeless and sustainably made.
When and why did you create linenstitch? The idea came about in December 2016 but didn’t fully launch it until October 2017. At that time, everything was on pre-sale so we could gauge interest and desire. We finally launched our product in February 2018! I created Linenstitch because I want to see a change in the clothing industry. I want to fill the gap of reasonably priced clothes, that was still high quality and long-lasting. I want to provide people with the best clothes at the best price. I want to create pieces that I had been searching for but couldn’t find. I really want to make a difference in the world and push others to do the same by supporting ethical fashion companies. I believe we all have a responsibility to help protect our environment.
What was the biggest challenge in starting your business? Getting rid of self-doubts, for sure! Honestly, I think I could have launched the company sooner but I kept digging my feet in the mud. I was so worried that everyone would think my idea was dumb or worthless. I felt like a fraud so often. I wondered, "I just learned to sew, how can I call myself a clothing designer? I didn’t get a degree in business, how can I live up to the tasks of being a business owner?" I have had to force myself to think positively and optimistically. Fake it till you make it right? Now I am a firm believer that anyone can learn and do anything they set their mind to. We are so capable but we get in our own way.
What influences your creativity? Nature, art, music and clean simple design. I see beauty in everything. There are so much good design and inspiration out there. All it takes is us recognizing it. We miss out on a lot when we are so distracted and always buried in our phones and what’s happening online. I recently did a crazy thing where I deleted everything off of my phone. Now I can only call, text, use GPS, read books, take notes and listen to music. (No web browsers, no social media, nothing that wastes time and distracts). It is so refreshing and now I notice the beauty that is already around me.
Do you have creative habits or rituals that help you stay focused? I make sure I do something active every day. I am a huge cyclist and skier, and also love doing yoga when the weather is bad (living in Seattle, those days are more often than not). My mind stays clear when I wake up and stick to a schedule too. I set goals and make plans for the next day, every night. I make sure to take breaks that relieve stress like going for walks, reading books or dancing my bum off in my living room.
What is your proudest moment in your creative journey so far? It’s honestly been incredible to see how far I have come. I think back to 2 years ago and I didn’t know anything that I know now, creatively speaking. My proudest moment has to be the day I got my clothes from Korea. I just started hanging them all up and putting tags on them and then I looked at our website and our curated Instagram and it just hit me, WOW- I created THIS! This was 100% me!? This is MINE!? And now every day, when I have new strangers following, liking, commenting, and even purchasing our stuff, I’m just like WOAH! This is surreal!
Are you creatively satisfied? I am. I definitely have days where I don’t get to create as much as I would like to, and have to focus on administrative tasks. Those days kinda suck, but it’s all part of the process. Sometimes even your dream job has it’s crappy days. I am working a lot on ways to automate the stuff I don’t love so I can focus more time and effort on creating and designing.
What's next for you? I am going to ride this Linenstitch wave out and see where it takes me. I have dreams of a million other items for the shop, which include jewelry and shoes. I have always dreamed of designing leather shoes. I also still love graphic design and working on branding for other businesses. That’s the beauty of having experience in a few areas, if you ever get sick of one thing, you can take a break and do something else! I also want to keep working on my painting skills.