Q&A with Elena
Tell me a bit about yourself, your background and where you are from.
I moved to London from Italy 23 years ago while studying for an English and Spanish degree. I have always been a linguist and at the time, using my talent for languages seemed like a good idea. As the years went on, it soon became apparent to me that working as a language teacher and translator wasn’t what made my heart sing. Sewing and being able to create unique garments only I would be wearing, had always been my passion. After some good old soul searching, I decided to take the plunge and went on to study Fashion and Textiles at London College of Fashion and London Metropolitan University
Tell me more about Sew It With Love and how it came about.
Sew It With Love was born out of my combined passion for sewing and dressmaking, my teaching skills and the desire to educate people about the hard work involved in making clothes, thus hoping to contribute to make them think about the unpleasant realities of fast and cheap fashion. Sew It With Love was born as a reminder and encouragement to going back to basics, think and slow down. Slow fashion, recycling and refashioning, as opposed to fast throw away fashion.
How did you get to where you are today and what was your career path?
After a spell working in the fashion industry for indie design labels and subsequently setting up as a self-employed designer/bespoke dressmaker, I started teaching private sewing lessons and realized I really enjoyed passing on my skills and being with people, as opposed to working on my own. After much research and hard work putting together a detailed business plan complete with financial and cashflow forecasts, I managed to secure a business start up loan which enabled me to get the business off the ground.
What do you look forward to the most on a working day?
Being creative, and that involves anything from creating a new pattern design, refashioning an old garment, sewing, or styling images and taking pictures for my social media channels.
What has been your biggest challenge thus far?
Marketing the business has been and continues to be my biggest challenge so far. Despite what a lot of people may think, teaching sewing classes is only a small part of my business. Marketing is where the biggest challenge and most work lies.
What inspires you?
Fabric is my primary source of inspiration. Seeing a print, texture or colour I love in a fabric, immediately brings to mind a number of garments and designs that fabric could be made into and makes me want to run to my studio to get all my tools out and put what’s in my head down on paper and fabric. Past icons especially those of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s are also a great source of inspiration especially Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Grace Kelly.
Any career goals?
Taking Sew it With Love global, but I won’t say any more about this for now……..
Any tips for those wanting to start a business?
Do as much research and planning and get as much advice as you possibly can prior to starting. Believe in your idea and only talk about it to people who encourage and support you. Be prepared to give up your life at least for a while…Having your own business means you NEVER switch off!
Find out more at http://sewitwithlove.com/