MSDP/MAS would like to extend congratulations to our 2017 scholarship winner, Linda Miller of Jacksonville, FL. Linda has been awarded a scholarship towards MAS Certification. Here is Linda’s winning essay:
My Goal: Master Alterations Specialist By Linda G. Miller
"Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure it is worth doing well." --Vivienne Westwood
There is one major thing that my dad taught me. He said, "If you are going to do anything, make sure you do it well." This life statement is the motivation behind my desire to be a Master Alterations Specialist. I want to offer customers the best craftsmanship in Jacksonville, add credibility to my sewing business, and engage in a robust business planning process.
By the time I reached junior high school my home economics teacher had inspired me to sew by saying, "You need to sew because you sew straight." I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas and received a Kenmore Model 1040. I kept that machine through high school and was able to create clothing comparable to ready-to-wear.
I learned to sew by using Simplicity patterns. The instructions were confusing for me at first until my father interpreted them for me. He often said, "If it's in a book, then you can do it too!" He proved it by sewing Vogue Patterns and even sewed for a local celebrity, Pops Staples. With my father's guidance, I was able to make a fashion statement too by making nearly all of my clothes.
A formal sewing education was not something Dad encouraged. Instead, I earned a business degree at DePaul University which did not necessarily prepare me for the rigors of being a soloprenuer. I started Custom Alterations in 2008 as a home-based business. Alterations done from home was the easiest option to begin my business since hemming pants and skirts is very common. Also, this type of business gave me the flexibility needed to bring in extra income while raising our two adopted children (one with special needs). About four years later, with my personal savings, I opened a small shop in Fernandina Beach, Florida. My shop had a decent amount of loyal customers, but it was minimally profitable due to my inexperience in the business planning process. Recently, I closed the shop in Fernandina Beach to move to Jacksonville, Florida.
According to SCORE, a business needs to operate for at least five years before it can be successful, and it takes 10,000 hours of sewing to become an excellent seamstress according to an expert local tailor I interviewed. These facts encouraged my strong desire to begin again in a new location, and to do it RIGHT! I need to follow and understand the business planning process.
I need the scholarship to complete the certification modules for the Master Alterations Specialist program. The program and certification will further develop my business acumen, lend credibility and expertise to my business, and allow me to be a champion of the Association of Sewing & Design Professionals. Becoming a Master in my field is a necessary enhancement that communicates to my future customers that they are hiring a highly-skilled professional and an experienced expert seamstress.
Making garments fit great can enhance individual lives and like Vivienne Westwood said in the above statement, "it is worth doing well." Please give me the opportunity to learn from the best!