This month we visit with the delightful Terri Tipps. Terri has been a member for 21 years and is always ready to lend a helping hand. She has served as the VP of Membership, served on multiple various committees, and most recently served as our Secretary from 2016-2020.
Where is the business located?
I started my business in Chattanooga, TN in 1989. My business has been in multiple locations over the years, and I have recently moved and am working on getting my business settled in Greenville, South Carolina.
What kind of business do you do?
Bridal, Costuming, Custom Sewing, Formalwear and General Alterations, plus occasional teaching.
What professional title do you use?
I prefer Dressmaker. I really don’t like being called a Tailor. This tells me that they don’t understand the difference and I highly respect what it takes to be a true Tailor.
How long have you been sewing professionally?
How did you decide what your business niche would be?
I like variety which can be a detriment or a plus. I’ve been able to help many customers and I’ve learned a lot about many areas that need sewing in their work or helping clients
What makes your business unique?
ME!! I care about people and I invest, even for a short time, in their lives to hopefully make it better. Proper fit of a garment or covering a wagon cushion so a child can ride in a passed down Red Rider, creating a design from a parent for their disabled child is always a major accomplishment for me. I’m bring to life what someone feels is necessary for their continued living today. It really means a lot to people when you deliver their ideas in something tangible. I strive to give each client my very best.
What kind of sewing education/training do you have?
Self-taught, Learned from family member, pursued degree, classes or conferences, reading books, online tutorials.
What is something that you have always wanted to learn?
I’ve come to realize that my hand sewing could be cleaner and have less of a “home sewn” look. I’d like to make beautiful buttonholes and not spend all day doing it!
What is your favorite task to do in your business?
Working with my clients and finding solutions.
What is something you absolutely hate about what you do?
Bookkeeping and charging. I wish I had someone who would go to the client and present the bill and take payment. I know I’m worth it and I do want to be paid, but I don’t enjoy this part.
What is one of your favorite things about your work space?
My workspace had changed over the years as I have moved, but I always enjoyed my children coming into my space one at a time and telling me about their day.
How did you develop the layout of your workspace?
Necessity is the mother of invention. I’ve had so many different layouts and even now I’m discovering new ways to organize my inventory and notions to effectively create for my clients.
What is the first thing clients notice about your space?
Hopefully...Professional. I try to have my consult/fitting space clear of clutter and welcoming to clients.
What is your favorite part about being an ASDP member?
The members!! Definitely! The networking and friendships have been wonderful. I believe members need to get involved with the association to get the most out of membership. Even short assignments or committee work helps everyone to know you and you them. My first conference was in 2000 and I helped to set up the fabric tour in St Louis; I have been involved ever since in some way or another.
What goals do you have for your business (or yourself professionally) in the next 5 years?
- Work smarter not harder
- Organize my work space better
- Downsize my inventory- fabrics and notions
- Better accountability for my finances (already hired a bookkeeper)
- Learn new methods/techniques (where ever they come from)
- Serve my community
- Serve my association
If you could learn from any sewlebrity (dead or alive) and time and money were no object, who would it be and what would you learn?
This is really hard. I think of sewists that weren’t famous until after their death that I would love to see how they worked with the little they had (we have sooo much today). I think of people I have met and how I’d love to spend time with them and see how they work in their spaces (many of our members so I won’t single out anyone naming those I admire most).
What would I learn? Learning is having an open mind to receive information and them making it your own. Some information doesn’t work with me, my personality, etc so I try to use what i can and continue to work at implementing new information into my work habits. Granted, I’m not successful a lot of the time but it does keep me moving forward to learn.
What are your favorite resources and/or authors from whom you have learned the most?
ASDP members! I value our body of knowledge and skills. I’m always amazed at those in the field that feel like they have nothing to offer to others or that our association couldn’t benefit them.
My favorites have changed with the changes in my business and locations. Clients are different and so my business needs are different. I'm so very thankful for those in our field willing to share their knowledge and expertise with me.
What is the craziest request you have ever had from a client?
I had a bride ask, “Can you move my boob into the right position?” Sorry, dear, no.
I’ve been asked to make a thong with removable crotch using hooks...that didn’t go well.
Designers- “Can you make this?” No visible means of getting in the garment and they have no idea where this would be done on the garment...where’s my emoji of the hand hitting my forehead?
What project is your absolute proudest moment?
Being recognized by my peers... Audience Choice Award 2018 Threads Challenge
Facebook Couture by Terri Tipps
Wedding Wire Couture by Terri Tipps
The Knot Couture by Terri Tipps