Guest Post: Mallory Muddiman
Ever had the dream of one day running your own creative business? Creating your own brand and selling your own range of unique handmade item? For so many of us creative folks that would be living the dream, right? But, what exactly does it take to set up and run your own handmande business from scratch? Mallory Muddiman has done just that, selling the most awesome line of handcradfted, fashion forward accessories on her very own online store. In this exclusive guest post, Mallory shares her journey from spark of inspiration, building her skills and launching her fabulous online boutique….
So, without any further ado, I shall hand you over to the incredibly talented Mallory Muddiman…
My mom taught me how to sew and craft at a very young age while she was working on her own projects. I loved it from the beginning. I wanted to constantly sew, draw and paint. I’m basically a remake of my mom – my poor dad!! I’m most inspired by people who aren’t afraid to be themselves, and people with drive. When I’m looking for visual inspiration for colour palettes and shapes I go to architecture and fine art first. As far as the past goes, the style of the 1960s inspires me the most. My style is fresh, girly, clean lined, and fun. Honestly, I design for myself. I try to make things that are special, things I’m looking to have add to my own closet. That’s usually a good sign that someone else is looking for the same things.
The most important thing I learned in college studying for a Degree in Fashion was to challenge myself and to have high standards. The first year was a year of design foundation courses including basic digital design. During years 2-4 we learned different sewing skills, including complex ones like tailoring and active wear – which are really valuable technical skills. Through the whole five year program, but especially while developing my senior collection the 5th year, I learned how to go through the entire design process. This includes how to be objective, to stand up for my viewpoint, and to take criticism in the right way. This has forever shaped how I work and how I think about deisgn.
Having a vision
I’ve always wanted to have my own line and the best place to start was doing it all myself. I knew I could find a job right out of college in design in NY or another big city. That just wasn’t the path for me. I got married a month after graduation and I never want to leave Cincinnati, so I knew an online store was the answer. I also have great job working at a bridal store about 30 hours a week. So, this is where I started. I love hand-making my products, but I’d like to expand eventually – I can only do so much by myself! Well, myself and my mom because she works with me 1-2 days a week. The goal is to make enough to work on my store and blog full time…then I can eventually hire people to help me create – paying my mom would also be fantastic!
Any project that involves sewing is my favorite kind of make! This week my mom and I made pillows as a DIY for my blog, but I also get to enjoy them in my apartment. Those kinds of projects are the most gratifying since they are content for my site and I see them every day in my home. My store right now has a lot of non-sewn products, but I plan on adding some clothing this year. Clothing is definitely my favorite thing to makes, especially blouses.
I never truly work the same way twice! I usually picture finished accessories in my head. From there I sketch them, think about it for a week or so then buy materials. After that I work up a prototype, then re-evaluate the cost, time involved, and the design itself. After that I scrap the idea, edit it or start producing it. The process of designing clothes is basically the same, but has more steps. It’s more of a constantly evolving process. Usually I start with quick thumbnail sketches of garments and prints. From there I edit, think about the different elements and re-sketch a few times. Next up is making patterns, mock ups, editing, fittings, changing patterns, mockup re-dos, fittings, prototyping, and editing again. Then like with accessories, I re-evaluating the cost, time and design again. I love this process way more than ‘production,’ but once I start producing and have 20 of one thing made it feels like such a huge accomplishment!
Red Heart Bobby Pin • $9.89
Time is always my downfall. I tend to think there is more time I can be productive in a day than there really is! Balancing my own business with a ‘real job,’ relaxation time, and spending time with my husband can be pretty tough. Really though, that’s my only complaint.
Arrow Headband • $24.89
It doesn’t take much money to get started really. Begin small with accessories and work your way up to harder and more costly products (this is excellent advice I gained from Elsie & Emma of A Beautiful Mess when I worked for them). Get your tax IDs and business licenses handled and find a good accountant. Then you can start making things! Keep in mind though, when it comes to handmade, quality is of the utmost importance. You need to respect your consumer and your creativity by following through with high quality craftsmanship and great customer service! A great design is nothing if you just throw the product together!
♥ – ♥ – ♥
Want to find Mallory online and show her some love?
Keep up-to-date with her creative world on her blog and shop her online store, and you can follower Mallory on Twitter and Instagram! Now, why not swing in past and say Hi…or treat yourself to that awesome Arrow Headband I know you’ve got your eye on!