I'm happy to introduce Krysti Emerson, owner of Behind the Seams Bridal in Oregon City, Oregon. Krysti is a member of the Oregon Chapter of ASDP, and currently serving as the Chapter Treasurer.
Krysti offers Bridal and Formalwear Alterations, Custom Sewing, and Accessories in a studio separate from her home, but conveniently right next door.
How did you decide what your business niche would be?
After doing general alterations for many years, I realized how much I enjoyed it when I made or altered a wedding dress, so I decided that was what I wanted to focus on.
What makes your business unique?
My customers would probably say that I have a professional studio situated out in the country, surrounded by green pastures and fields. It is a beautiful setting.
What is something that you have always wanted to learn?
I think I would like to learn bra-making.
What is your favorite task to do in your business?
Custom work and Creative work- transforming a dress to make it look like a different dress.
What is something you absolutely hate about what you do? Or What is the worst thing about being in business?
Bustles! Lol. Answering the question “how much do alterations cost” when on the phone!?
What is one of your favorite things about your work space?
My husband made me a cutting table on rollers. It was made with IKEA cube shelves screwed together with a top on it so I can store fabric below. I cut on it, iron on it (with wool mats). I also love my view - I overlook our back pasture and often see domestic and wild animals.
How did you develop the layout of your workspace?
I positioned my industrial machines first under the windows for as much natural light as possible, and then went from there.
What is the first thing clients notice about your space?
Well, the comments I get are, “this is really nice”. I think it is bigger than expected, since it is separate from my house it seems more professional. When they go in to the dressing room the comment is usually, “You are busy!” There is normally 20-50 dresses hanging depending on the time of year.
What is your favorite part about being an ASDP member?
Connecting with other seamstresses, hearing their stories, challenges, concerns and triumphs! Collaborating on projects and being able to refer to others that sew things I do not.
What goals do you have for your business (or yourself professionally) in the next 5 years?
I would like to mentor someone that might eventually take over or buy the business. I will most likely cut back a bit after my husband retires in 3 years.
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?
Collette Komm, a New York based Custom wedding gown designer. I would love to see her process, and techniques. She does couture hand work - so I would most likely try to adapt it to the machine.
What are your favorite resources and/or authors from whom you have learned the most?
I have learned machine maintenance/timing from you tube. It has been so helpful over the years. Some of the classes at the ASDP conferences have been so helpful. The first conference I went to I went to a fashion illustrating class and I still use that information today when drawing/designing dresses for clients.
What is the craziest request you have ever had from a client?
I haven’t met with her yet, but I have a consultation coming up with a bride that wants a “steampunk” 1800’s style wedding gown with a jacket (possibly with a train attached) etc. Should be a wonderful, crazy project.
What project is your absolute proudest moment?
Watching my daughters walk down the aisle in dresses I made for them.
What else should we know about you or your business?
My business and tailoring skills have made it possible for me to travel to Rwanda numerous times to teach sewing at a Vocational training center, ERM Rwanda. It has been rewarding to pass on skills to these young women just starting out, and trying to make their situations and lives better.
Website ~ www.behindtheseamsbridal.com
Instagram ~ @behindtheseamsbridal