Tell us about yourself.
My proudest roles in life are Wife + Mom. I've been married to Rich since Nov. 1997, and a mom to Zakkery (13) + Jeremiah (10). I work outside the home for Huron School District. I have always been shy but I've challenged myself over the years to break that mold. I love to laugh. I love to hang with my family. I talk to my Mom almost every day. I enjoy cooking + baking. I don't watch movies. I cant sit still that long. I live life on purpose + I am intentional building relationships with people.
How did you become interested in sewing?
I bought a floor model with my birthday money in 2000 for $127 or so. My mom was with me and Zakkery was a baby sitting in the Joann's shopping cart. My Mom said it was a great deal, so I bought it. I didn't even had a desire to sew at the time. I knew nothing about it. But then I thought for Zakkerys 1st Halloween I would sew him a tiger costume out of shaggy fabric. It rocked my machine and over worked it. I didn't even know what I was doing but my Mom was there to save my mess. Over the years I would make the boys little bags to carry for their treasures. Zakkery even asked for a quiver to carry his arrows in. I never used a pattern. Just made shapes that looked to be a good size.
How long did it take you to learn?
I am always learning. It is a process. In march of 2010 when lil' alice had not even been named yet, but I started making aprons and totes and people wanted to buy some, I didn't even know I had a reverse lever for back stitching. No kidding. I bet I just found that back stitch 2 years ago. I'm always up for trying a new foot if I want to make a ruffle, sew a zipper, make piping etc. If you have the right feet, sewing projects go smoothly.
I read a lot of blogs that give tips. I usually have to watch videos or she really good pics because I can't read directions without pictures. That's why I don't use patterns. I can't read them.
What made you want to start your own business?
It was suppose to stay a hobby, said dear husband. But as I would sew orders I would pray and ask for direction on where this hobby was suppose to go. I never had a gut feeling that I had to have a discussion with my husband making my plea on why this needed to be a business. One night in the Fall of 2011, we were sitting around the dinner table talking. The boys were off playing and the table still needed to be cleared. As we lingered in conversation, he simply said to me with a calm voice, "Do what you have to do to make this a business!" That was it. I had to figure it all out and I learned so much because it wasn't done for me or figured out. I had to do the research and investigating and gathering information and contacting sources to make this happen. And it did!
Where did you come up with the name lil' alice?
I never wanted my name in the title/brand. I'm shy remember. So I thought long and hard about my nicknames growing up. Then lil' alice came to mind. Alice was my paternal grandmother and she was fun! She loved me. She'd cup my face in her hands and insist on giving me a kiss and hug. She loved to shop. Every Saturday was shopping day and I was her assistant. I think this is where my love of shopping came from. She taught me well. She also loved to cook + bake. In years past, my parents would says about something I did or say, "just like Alice!"
What has been the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
Time management. Like I said earlier I am a wife, a mom and I work outside the home. So homework, studying, activities all come first. I can look at my week and I know when I can get some hours of work in for lil' alice. It's more than just sewing. It's shopping for fabrics and supplies, blogging, taking pics, editing pics, making connections for advertising, promoting etc. but I love it all from start to finish so it never feels like work.
What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
I was published in Orlando Family Magazine (March 2013). When a friend/fan sees a lil' alice product out in public somewhere and tells me. That always makes me smile. Another reward is seeing an idea come to life. I have ideas in my head all the time. But I don't always have the time to make it until I have down time or slow time.
What advice do you have for other people who may want to start their own business?
Be unique. Be true to yourself. Keep your business debt free. Mine is a unique situation as lil' alice evolved into what it is today because friends on FB liked the pictures I posted in March of 2010 and wanted to know if they could buy one. I wasn't looking to start a handmade business. At the time it was something relaxing to do. So I have always been appreciative of my loyal customers who love lil' alice to bits.
What are some of your other interests when you're not sewing?
Shopping for fabric! Seriously the best part ever.
I also love hanging with my husband and boys. We enjoy boating on Lake Michigan and local lakes too. I love working out at 4:30am. I love serving in my church and meeting new women. I love my neighborhood and the families that are planting their roots here and raising their families here. Friendships are being cultivated amongst these beautiful families and I'm thankful for each one of them.
Check out some of the fabulous products from lil' alice below and visit her Etsy shop and show her some love on her Facebook page.