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Showtime: Etsy Made in Canada, Toronto

Hi Guys,

Happy Friday! Just me popping by to say hello as promised and to give you the update that I am still working away at meeting my market goals for tomorrow. Can you believe it. It’s Friday already! Like… how did we get here?

Don’t mind the screen shot image above. I couldn’t figure out the crop mode on the blog app. Hahaha. I am typing on the go.

Nevertheless, I am plowing away at the machines. The show is tomorrow and I am almost ready you can say. I am not feeling stressed or anything but the pressure is on. I have a few more makes for today and then later in the evening it’s the ironing and packing and all that good stuff. ( Any volunteers…lol ) I know you all would if you were closer! Thanks in advance. 🙂

It’s definitely been a crazy week for me. Productive I might add. In between the show prep I also created three pieces for a client who is travelling soon. So that was added to my already show pile of makes. I worked on two gorgeous skirts and a tunic. Here’s a quick look at one.

Thoughts in the midst of the show prep

I was reflecting as I wrapped up last evening how much goes into running a business like mine. In my case it’s mainly just me doing mostly everything. The fabric store runs, the fabric prep, the stash maintenance, staying on top of my expenses and invoicing, social media stuff, shop updates and maintenance, emails to name a few. Let’s not forget all the sewing and design. The main thing😂. I truly enjoy some tasks in their own way. Some I would gladly delegate… lol. I must also give credit to my husband who is key in helping me stay on track with my lists and who checks in when I start to flutter around the apartment like a butterfly. hahahah. Thanks love. He is my silent helper, he doesn’t know it..lol.. I am thankful for those lists and the opportunity to turn the living room upside down during market preparations. Perhaps one day I will dedicate a post to document just how crazy my multitasking skills are when I have a market! The flow, stresses, the sewing and the drama of it all.

Basically mid week I had to revisit the plan for makes and be realistic about what was possible and what I had to save for another date. So I had to do some process of elimination. In the end I am happy with what I committed to get done and am working at doing just that. My goal with markets is to really have a variety for different customer needs. As well, since we just switched seasons here in Canada, adding some fall pieces are key. I have added the new product I will tell you about below, infinity scarves, some new maxi skirts in gorgeous prints, my funky wax print key fobs, some t- shirts for men with wax print details, coin purses, shoe bags, new satin pillow cases ( Queen size), new pencil skirts, the knit version of the dashiki dress, rayon maxi dresses, culottes etc…. 🙂 See why you need to come if you are in Toronto tomorrow.

New Product Alert!

I am super excited to introduce a new item to the Amshina pieces, the ‘LOL’ Cardigan. The name is all in the sleeves. 😊 This style of sleeve is also known as “Leg of Lamb”. I know it’s hilarious. Not what I had in mind but the acronym just speaks laughter so for now I like LOL 😊. The full name is a bit much. Here goes.

Initially, I wanted to do a fall kimono as seen in the photo below.

I made that sample for myself.:) While I think its a great idea and I will do custom orders if needed, I felt that in my style of function and fit I preferred a longer sleeves cardigan that allowed me to bunch it up at the elbows and be all preppy and stuff. So I revisited the design and opted for this look instead which organically came about. It was developed as I created the pattern and design. Just like that I have an awesome function staple to add to my pieces and my own pattern to add that works :). These will be exclusively available tomorrow at the show.

Limited quantities of course but as always custom orders can be taken once I am able to source new knits. I absolutely love these. I am happy the way they turned out and can’t wait to add them to my shop year round in other fun heavyweight and lightweight knits and prints.

Okay folks, as you can imagine it’s a packed Friday for me and I want to make use of the time so I can be wide eyed and bushy tail for tomorrow. ( Haven’t used that expression in a minute..hahahah). Have an amazing Friday and weekend ahead. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you.

I can’t wait to pop by again in October and bring you up to date with my sewing and entrepreneurial adventures. The chronicles continues! Stay tuned.

Bless

UtavZ

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What’s next?

Happy September!

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September also means that we are approaching a change in season ( For those who live in countries that have all four seasons…:) ) . I am looking ahead! There’s a newness about this month that literally feels like a new leaf has turned. This is exactly the same sentiment I am feeling at the moment. 🙂

It feels weird to not have grad school. This time last year I started my final year of grad school and was fully entrenched in my thesis proposal work. I can safely say I miss school. Despite the emotional roller coaster that ended smoothly ( Thank God), I miss that crazy adrenaline rush of the new semester and the commuting. 🙂 However the show must go on. In an attempt to take it easy and recover from the academic rush I am dedicating my time to working on my handmade business and blog to bring it up to the place I want it to be. I know that takes a lot of work and time. Despite feeling I am not where I want to be I know that even with the small efforts of the work I put in during the summer I am getting there :). I think the two opportunities I am about to share with you speaks to that growth so far. Both opportunities encourages me to press on and keep building. One step at a time! Here goes.

Opportunity one!

Screenshot_20180906-000007You guys!!!!!! I am so excited. You don’t even know. I mean I know it’s another pop up opportunity ( Meaning I have to work my bum off the next few weeks to prep and then spend an entire day of selling and meeting fabulous people…phew)but its major. It’s major because I have applied two years in a row and didn’t get in. So that’s a big deal right? I didn’t give up this year even though I knew there was a possibility of not getting in. This is a juried show which means that hundreds apply and only a few get in. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to having my pieces there. 🙂

So you know whats next…. Sew, sew, sew, sew! I have already made a plan for the pieces I will have to add to what I already have in stock. I will be adding some new infinity scarves, fall and winter pencil skirts, shrugs, some holiday pieces etc. This event is known for attracting a lot of shoppers looking for unique handmade pieces as well as gifts so if you are in Toronto do check out this event at the MARS Discovery District.

I have two weeks to add those new pieces as I curate the garments and accessories I will have available. Wish me all the best! I will pop by the last week of the show to give you an update on all the pieces I was able to add and how plans are coming along.

Opportunity two!

toronto.poster.final

My awesome friend Carla Beharry who has dedicated countless hours to community capacity building work around health and wellness, mindfulness, HIV/AIDS prevention work and business coaching with others in communities locally and internationally has organized an amazing event highlighting the challenges and resilience in diverse women in Toronto and Waterloo regarding social and racial injustice within our society. Tickets available here This Ted talk like forum will feature women from various backgrounds in community work, fashion, fitness, health and wellness who will share their stories and experiences to empower each other in an evening filled with hope and resilience. Guess who gets to be apart of it? Moi! I was very anxious when she asked me to be one of the speakers at first. I mean I do have a lot I can talk to about challenges but also a lot about hope and resilience in the face of those challenges. So I accepted! 🙂 This is also a great opportunity to connect my research from my recently completed thesis at the community level to give back. I am looking forward to connecting with like minds.

Both opportunities couldn’t have come at a better time. The focus these days are dedicated to building my handmade business but also getting involved in community work at another level. 🙂

That’s a wrap for now! Thanks for stopping by. As  always, thanks for coming along my sewing and entrepreneurial journey!

The creative chronicles continues!

Bless

UtavZ


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Happy July!

Inspiration is everywhere. Creative and life changing experiences, places, people, things and such are beckoning us daily in our lives to DO and BE better human beings. Won’t you agree? I know this is sometimes hard to believe in the face of life’s most challenging experiences. I can definitely relate but let us not deny inspiration even when we don’t feel like it.

My nephew took this candid blurry shot of me last weekend….it’s giving me life! 🙂

I continue to be grateful for those individuals that come into my life weekly. Unknown to them at times are great sources of inspiration for my creative outlet and life.

Inspiration can be found in the strangest places and in the not so strange places. Inspiration can also be timely, won’t you agree. How many success stories have you read of individuals going from 0 to something or just being saved by a crazy idea in time to take them to the next level? There are many….I love those stories.

This was a few years ago on a girls trip. A memorable trip and experience! 🙂

Recently I was inspired by a new customer and a conversation with a potential customer. The new customer was eager to purchase a piece and shared how immediately they connected to the piece and had to have it. The potential customer was looking for something special that I didn’t have but I was willing to get behind their vision and explored how we can make it possible. The timing wasn’t right so we agreed on a possible future collaboration. At the end of both conversations I had a spring in my step even though both were successful in different ways. One resulted in an immediate sale and the other, a possibility for future collaboration.

These three beauties rocking three pieces from my Amshina Custom Clothing business!

I am reminded that in putting my best foot forward every time that there can be something to reap. What do I mean by reap? Sowing seeds of good customer service should not be optional when you only anticipate a final sale. Every entrepreneur should know this. At the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey it was hard to spend hours putting together a plan for a piece and creating estimates and quotes for sales that fell through ( I still do 🙂 ). It took many no’s and a few yes’s to caution me not to be discouraged in these moments. Instead, I started looking for inspiration and ideas for products as well as how I can serve my clientele better in these conversations and inquiries. I am still pruning the tree of entrepreneurial excellence but with intention and purpose now.

Just me..thinking out loud! 🙂 

It’s also a beautiful reminder that inspiration can be found anywhere and in the strangest of places.

Let me put that inspiration into plans and get creative now shall we! 🙂

What’s the most strangest place, thing or experience that’s ever inspired you to date? Do Share.

Stay tuned! The creative chronicles continue! 🙂

God Bless!

UtavZ


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The Detox: Who is down for a good challenge?

Hey Uta Sews followers! Ending February and starting March! 🙂

Planning your wardrobe intentionally! Yes!!! That’s what this detox is all about! And guess what? You don’t need any subscriptions, no weekly commitment and you can start anytime! 🙂

As you get on a role with your 2018 goals, plans, aspirations and resolutions, whatever you may call it I would like for you to consider your wardrobe and the changes you would like to make.These changes can be to continue to develop where you are at or they can be to review and revamp. Where are you on that scale?

Continue to Develop………………………………………………………………….Review & Revamp

Believe it or not your wardrobe says a lot about you and how your personality shows up every day in your various settings. Don’t get me wrong… it doesn’t define you but it does speak volumes, especially when you are not speaking literally.

How confident was I in my Maxi? Love it!!! 🙂

My dilemma

I am somewhere on that continuum. I am not quite sure as my wardrobe continues to evolve. What I can say though is that I know what is missing. I know.. If I know what is missing why don’t I just fix it? Well it’s not that easy or simple but I have decided I need to make some strides towards that. Becoming intentional.

Be intentional Uta..Be intentional.. Rocking my Amshina Pencil Skirt

I always saw myself as an intentional shopper. You know, deals are on so I choose wisely depending on my needs and not wants. This changed drastically at some point. I started going for deals and adding pieces that were either too repetitive and not functional or sometimes the wear and tear was not good :(. I mean really, how many pair of blue jeans does one really need?…lol When I say “things changes” that’s what I am referring to. So While I was getting items at good deals, the question still remained whether they met my wardrobe needs? Did they fit my sense of fashion? Did I love these pieces? You get the picture now. So here are some things I want you to do as you think wardrobe detox at the start of the year. I know its February… so hopefully it’s not too late to add something else to your list if its not there already! 🙂 Think about it though, it’s a good one. Happy wardrobe, happy life! 🙂 Okay…maybe not that dramatic. You know what I mean. :). Here it goes, three questions:

  1. What’s in your closet?: I mean, come on. You know the theory of don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach? Well let’s flip that, don’t go shopping with a full closet! Especially when you don’t know what’s in it. 🙂
  2. What’s your style?: Do you know your style? Your preferred pieces? You know, the ones that you live in daily, weekly? Your weekend favs? Your office go tos. For someone like myself who went through a period of dress rehearsals ( I still do at times..lol).I think I have an idea now of those pieces.
  3. What’s missing?: Are there pieces that you can think of right away that you would love to see in your closet but they are not there? Have you ever got dressed, wish you could wear something else and thought you owned that missing piece of garment but later realized you never bought it? ( That might just be me..lol .. it happened alright). You know what I mean!

Regaining momentum

So what’s my challenge since I have asked you to think of the above three questions? Well it’s simple. If you felt totally comfortable with your answers to question 1 and 2 then you are in a good place and perhaps you are continuing to develop and improve your wardrobe and style. Feel free to share your thoughts on that below. 🙂

On the other hand, if you didn’t feel too good about question 1 and 2 then it’s time to plan the review and revamp strategy for your closet. Yes!! Review and revamp. You get to do this on your own terms and in your own time. I am just here to prompt you to think and then act on it! 🙂 Question 3 goes across the board from the wardrobe confident to the wardrobe “I am still figuring it out”. There is always something missing.

I promise I was not thinking about sewing….My reflection pose 🙂

What’s next for me?

With my goal of infusing my handmade pieces into my wardrobe I have to be more intentional about what I make for myself now. So guess what…review and revamp! I will update you as those changes occur.

My Infinity scarf and memade dress! 🙂 Its a start.

Here’s what I would like you to do.

I would love to hear from you on what you thought of my little exercise! 🙂

As a bonus for individuals who are willing to drop me an email at amshinaapparel@gmail.com or Private Message me on instagram with:

  • Your top 5 summer staples
  • If you could wear one outfit all summer what would that be and why?

Send me your response in an Private Message/email for a chance to be entered into a draw for one of my handmade pieces! 🙂 Stay connected on my social media @amshina on instagram and here on the blog for details on the giveaway :).

Wishing you an awesome March!

Thanks for stopping by.

God Bless

UtavZ


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Reflections: Backing up in order to move forward!

Happy New year everyone! Welcome to 2018!

It’s indeed an honour and privilege to be able to share my adventures with you. ( As much as I can) 🙂 I apologize for the mini gap between Sept to December. It was crazy. Have no fear the photos are here! 🙂

Before I start spewing out awesome content in 2018, let me just back up and fill you in on all the good makes and takes of 2018. As always I didn’t think I did that much and then the pictures reveal otherwise! 🙂 The pictures shall set you free..lol

Reflection is good. I am actually inspired to take action and grow when I reflect. Yes.. It can be overwhelming but I am an optimist and a believer. There is this quote I love and I would like to encourage you with as you reflect on the past and enter the future:

“Insight alone is not enough.

There must be action after reflection”

( Reupert, 2009)

Isn’t that beautiful? Does that quote make you want to move forward? I hope it does, because sooner or later we will realize that the past is the past and the missed opportunities of yesterday are now the realities of the new day that has the potential to bring even more opportunities! 🙂 So act after you reflect!

Okay! Thats my fill of philosophy for you today. On with the show and the photos.

The reality of 2017 was amazing in hindsight. I really didn’t know how much I could get done with my full time graduate program(Grad school is serious yhall..lol) and internships (10 months…oh my…) but by God’s grace I managed to take some risks and am really pleased with not just the pieces I made but the growth in my craft this year. Some of those challenges were taking on some commercial patterns! Yikes.. if you know me and my sewing long enough you will know that I mostly like to create my own patterns from favourite pieces and add my twists to them. Taking on commercial patterns on a few looks were challenging and rewarding too. We can get into that more in 2018 as I share my likes and dislikes of the commercial patterns. Nevertheless, the sewing machine was on a roll in 2017! 🙂 I actually added a new machine to the sewing family( My MIL’s old machine from the 70s). It sews like a dream and it really helped me when my old faithful had moments in the year.

Alrighty! On to the photos! There were maxi dresses, pants, tops, two pieces, off the shoulders, shift dresses, wrap skirts, maxi skirts, hoodies, tulle skirts, jumpers, wrap tops.. even little peoples clothes ( I enjoyed those two dresses 🙂 ). It was a sewing marathon and included in that were two amazing Fashion showcases! 🙂

There’s more 🙂 . These are the awesome shots from my fashion showcase that took place on November 24th! 🙂 My Holiday looks of the BB17″ Fall collection! I really enjoyed working with these amazing models and making those pieces. There was a total of 17 pieces= 9 looks! 🙂

Well, I think I captured those awesome makes of 2017. At least most of them…lol You can see the risks I took right away as well as the step up in my designs! 🙂

Stay tuned for 2018 content. Keeping you engaged in my sewing journey but also bringing you practical tips and tricks as you navigate your wardrobe in 2018!

Thank you all so much. It’s an honour to have you on this journey.

Just keep sewing, just keep sewing..what do I do I sew, sew, sewwwwwwwww!!!!

God bless

UtavZ