Lucky for me, in addition to my parents, some great women encouraged me along the way. One of them stands out in my mind.
Margaret was the Chair of TCU’s Home-Economics department. She changed my life. Her class, Pattern-Drafting was my favorite class. For the semester project, I designed a dress, drafted the pattern, and sewed the dress. Over the summer, with request of my friends, I began sewing them one at a time.
Returning to school in the fall, Margaret called me into her office.
Oh no, my mind raced. I anticipated bad news. Most likely, She would tell me that I would not be able to graduate in May. Yikes! My parents had told my sisters and me that we had 4 years to graduate and this was my junior year.
The problem was that I had changed my degree every semester, from home-ec, geology, fashion merchandising, business, and finally back to home-ec(after a tearful call home one day). My mom said “Susan, you are in the wrong major. You go talk to Margaret McWhorter today and she will hep you change your degree and plan your schedule.”
And so I did.
As I entered Margaret’s office, my fears melted away as Margaret greeted me with a warm smile. She said “I am interested in your dress design. I would like to financially back your business if you would be willing to go into a partnership with me.” I was stunned. Inside I was jumping for joy. Great news. With a hand-shake we were business partners. Ready to jump into the fashion world!
Living the American Dream . . .
1. We ordered fashion labels.
2. We found 100% cotton twill by Tandler Textiles.
3. We found a small clothing factory in Fort Worth.
4. We made a few samples.
5. During spring break, I threw them in the back of my car and drove around Texas. I’m not sure if the buyers felt sorry for me or were amused, but I wrote orders with 6 mom and pop boutiques. I sold 50 dresses. Enough for our first official cut.
We were in business . . .
Over 20 years, the business grew to 1 million in annual sales. Most of all, I enjoyed designing dresses for women to wear everyday and special occasions.
So I paused my business for a few years to focus on raising my 4 children with my husband. One of the best decisions of my life!
Over the past 4 years, not exactly by my plan(more on that later), I traveled to NYC frequently. I went straight back to the Garment District. I was curious. I saw business friends from the launch of Susan Apple, Inc and met some new business friends too.
I am jumping back into the fashion industry and hoping to encourage the next generation of fashion designers too!