I: What advice would you have for someone starting their own crafty business?
R: I would say, get yourself a cheering team. If you don’t surround yourself with people that inspire and encourage you, I can’t see anyone being successful. I remember when I first started telling people that I was going to do this I got a lot of people telling me “It’s not going to work. Make sure you don’t quit your job. There’s not really a market,” and similar negative messages. I know that it was coming from a good place, because this was coming from my good friends and family, who were just trying to protect me. I’m glad that I pushed through, because those same people are on my side now. Don’t be discouraged by people who you trust who discourage you, because it is coming from a good place. If you see that it is effecting you in a negative way, I would say stay away from that negativity, and surround yourself with people who believe in you. I don’t think I would be where I am without those people. I really, truly believe that.
I: What has been the biggest accomplishment since starting Rubie’s bras?
R: Honestly, I’d say my biggest accomplishment was learning how to sew a bra, and doing a second bra. I didn’t even know how to sew a button on when I started. When I showed my friends and family, my grandma who is a tailor, was dumbfounded. She asked me in disbelief, “You made this?” After I finished my course I was sure I would never make another bra. I thought “Nope, this isn’t for me, I don’t really like it, it’s too frustrating.” Even when my friends asked me to make them a bra, I instantly tried to outsource the sewing part, because I was confident in my fitting skills, but I wasn’t as confident in my sewing skills. Thankfully, I got pushed by teachers like Jade like Beverly, from Bra Makers, telling me to keep making bras. And it’s because of their persistence and gentle encouragement, and sometimes assertive encouragement, that I did. and I am so, so glad that I ended up meeting a network of teachers that pushed me.
I: What has been your greatest challenge?
R: I think my biggest challenge is keeping up with demand, which is a great problem to have. I’m so proud and I just can’t believe that I’m at this point. It’s still a problem, though. I never want to run into a situation where overnight it’s a success, and I’m not able to keep up. So I’m taking it really slow and in realistic steps. You don’t want to ever get so busy that you can’t deliver, so now I’m working with a local production company to outsource the sewing and start scaling. As I mentioned, a lot of my clients are friends, family, or part of their network, and that’s how it starts, from word of mouth. It’s really important to me to work hard and create a product that makes people super happy. They’ve given me money, they don’t really know what they’re going to get out of it, and they’re putting their trust in me. They wanna make sure their money was well spent.