What a Year!
As we all close out the weirdest year ever and move into the unknowns of the future, I wanted to offer thanks and gratitude to you (and my small Team -more on them below!) and to share some updates about where I’ve been and where I am going!
My quick 2020 recap (click each link or photo for more):
5- I got through the mockup and started making what is possibly my favorite custom wedding dress ever- for a wedding that got postponed indefinitely due to the Coronavirus.
9- After 15+ years in downtown Hillsborough, 2+ years of property searching, and 5 months trying to close the deal… My husband and I bought a 2-home multi-acre property out in the country where we will move our home and our businesses!
In with the New...
Which brings me to the start of 2021…
– Renovations have begun for our new (1970s) home in Cedar Grove, NC USA- where I will also eventually have MY OWN 1910 SEW HOUSE! My husband is a carpenter/DIY genius, so we will be doing almost all of the remodeling work ourselves. It will likely take all year to get the two houses fully remodeled and to move our home and our studios, so my 2021 schedule is going to be slow and steady (how very couture!)…
– I’ll be starting a new bridal blog series about making the wedding day millinery and the rehearsal dinner outfit for my kinda famous friend Jenn. Her wedding was in October 2019 and was featured in People Magazine- (along with my name, my millinery, and my elbow). I’ve got a backlog of a couple of brides ready to slowly blog about, so even after I move into my new Sew House, my blog will still be working through 2019 & 2020 for quite a while…
– I’m going to be one of the Special Guest Presenters at World Frocktails in February! Will I meet you there?
– For March, I’m working on a guest post for By Hand London’s blog all about how to turn a dress form into your body double…
– Oh- and after never having any vision problems, I went to the eye doctor last week for the first time in 6 years. I now apparently need glasses all the time. So look forward to seeing me in specs soon!
…and I’ll keep moving forward – one step at a time…
Though I’m a solopreneur, I couldn’t do what I do completely alone. In addition to the support from all of you, I’d like to share a bit about each member of my small team…
My #1- My husband Charles.
While he doesn’t fulfill a specific role in my “company” (he’s got his own business to run), he is my constant support and inspiration. Building our dream life together is a great motivator to keep moving forward with my business. He listens, he’s unbelievably smart and talented, and he brings out the best in me. And I’m totally smitten (even 20 years after our first kiss)…
You’ll occasionally see him on my blog or social media (usually building stuff or sewing for me) but, if you like me and what I have to share, you have Charles to thank.
My #2- My graphic designer, website developer, tech guru (and best friend): Linda of Ruby Red Design Studio
Linda and I have been working together for 10 years! (I just looked it up.) Our first email exchange and in-person meetup was in October 2010. Through a referral from an acquaintance, I hired Linda to help me build a website right after I finished the hem on my first (non-friend or family) wedding dress commission. (More about this below!)
Through the years, Linda and I kept working and building our businesses together while becoming best friends. Though she now lives far away, we chat nearly every week online. She’s a great listener, has a great eye, and I keep her busy with all my shenanigans! She takes lots of tech tasks off my plate, so that I can keep creating new things for all of you! Thanks Linda!
#3 My Creative Consultant Najah
Najah and I originally met in 2015 on Instagram via a sewing Photo-a-Day challenge. We hit it off immediately and bonded over sharing the same short stature (less than 5′ tall). That year, Najah signed up for one of the very first sessions of my eCourse Skirt Skills (she wrote a beautiful blog post inspired by her experience) and we continued to work together through all of my eCourses, even finding excuses to meet in person (despite living ~300 miles from each other.)
So a couple of years ago, when I learned she was moving her career toward small business consulting, I knew I wanted to hire her as a sounding board for all of my future creative endeavors! She’s the only “sewing person” on the Team and if I want to attract more students like Najah, there’s no better person to consult with.
These are my peeps, ya’ll! (I rarely talk to anyone else!)
Honorable Mentions: My lawyer Michelle & my sewing assistant Rebecca
Yes, I am so fancy that I have a lawyer.
While I don’t check in with her as often as Charles, Linda, and Najah, I worked with Michelle to set up my LLC, rewrite my bridal contracts, and to compose the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies for my eCourse website.
How did we meet? (Though she didn’t know it at the time) Michelle was the first person to ever hire me to make her wedding dress back in 2010! Prior to Michelle, my Portfolio only featured dresses I had made for friends or family members. I’m so happy Michelle chose to take a chance on me so early in my career and to (10 years later) be one of her first private clients. We work really well together!
Want to see Michelle’s custom wedding dress? Of course you do!
Though I do most sewing solo, I occasionally call in Rebecca for bridal stitching help and camaraderie. From time to time, you’ll see Rebecca in my bridal posts She lives locally, has taken all of my eCourses and is excellent at hand stitching.
We originally met when she hired me to help her make her own wedding dress – even though she had never sewn a garment before. After working with me in private lessons, Rebecca wore a self-drafted self-sewn silk charmeuse and chiffon gown of her own design on her wedding day.
See and read all about it near the end of this blog post!
I (with the help of my small team) do it all for you! You are the inspiration and the driving force that keeps me going.
Here are some ways we can keep in touch:
Join my newsletter mailing list. Every 3 weeks-ish, you’ll get a new blog post and a bunch of other special goodies and interesting links and personal updates. (Here’s the archive link to check out past newsletters.)
Send me an email to email@example.com
Visit my websites for bridal wear, eCourses, and/or the blog via BrooksAnn.com!
Thanks for your support and for following along! I love sharing with you and I’d love to keep in touch!
NEXT POST: (Though subject to change,) I’ll be starting a new bridal blog series about a beautiful bride named Jenn! I think you’re going to like it…