My Story - Where I started and how it's going
I learned to sew in one of those home economics classes in middle school (you know the type, learn the basics about cooking, cleaning and home keeping). I made a cupcake shaped pillow as a class project and had it on display as a throw pillow on my bed until I moved away to college. I was really proud of that little pillow.
Then, I forgot all about that pillow for a long time while I went to school for journalism. I was positive that my calling in life was to become a magazine editor or a world renowned craft blogger. I married my high school sweetheart when I was 19, he was the one who really saw how much I truly loved sewing. And so he bought me my first sewing machine. I was 22 and used that little machine to make a pink button down shirt with pearl buttons. I used the wrong interfacing, so the collar stuck straight up like a board and I had to iron it down. I was really proud of that top anyway. That year I did my senior project, which was an in depth story on how a fashion design major was making a purple ball gown for the school runway show.
Years began to pass and here and there I would pull out my sewing machine to make baby bed sheets or sew on a button. We had Mia in 2015 and then Emma in 2017. I was working in public relations (still am), and my husband in 3D printing. Life was good. I was inspired to start selling some of my clothes on Poshmark to make some extra cash and got really into reselling clothes that I would find at the thrift store. I loved reselling SO MUCH, it filled a love for fashion that I always had and I wanted to be like the other sellers with a cute brand.
Then, like getting hit by a semi truck, Emma was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at just 22 months old. It felt like the world had stopped turning and I couldn't breath. I fell into a depression, I didn't know how to handle this diagnosis or what it meant for us as a family. We had a lot of sleepless nights.
But Emma, being the amazing strong human that she is, started to get healthier and healthier. As the days past, we learned so much about this new diagnosis and eventually we were able to start sleeping through the night again (well, most nights). We took courses about Type 1 Diabetic care from the Barbara Davis Center and we are forever grateful to their kindness and help to learn what we needed to do to help Emma have a healthy and happy life.
Emma helped inspire my brand Junque Food, because we don't have a lot of junk food around the house. Sure, we have mac 'n' cheese like any other family with kids, but those first few years were very different for us. So we found ways to be creative with it, like fun stickers instead of candy treats. I started packing my thrift flips with hot sauce inspired cards and snack stickers as part of the branding for Junque Food.
Then, COVID-19 hit and it stopped being safe to go out in public, let alone to a thrift store. With Emma being immunocompromised, I wanted to keep her as safe as possible. So I stopped thrifting.
I decided to volunteer my time to start making handmade masks out of some old fabric I had from projects that stacked up in my closet. I sewed and donated those masks to the Barbara Davis Center, for the nurses who helped save my daughters life and teach us all about Emma's diagnosis.
I posted the mask making journey to my thrifting Instagram account and started to get DM's asking for masks. So, I started to sell them on my Instagram. It got so out of hand that I quickly realized I needed a better platform, and listed them on Etsy. I made a few short TikToks about my fun junk food packaging and the masks. Then one video went viral and I had hundreds of orders in a week. And I kept going viral for a while. It was a lot of fun (and hard work!). Meanwhile I was still working 40 hours a week at my day job.
Eventually mask sales dwindled and I got to start thinking more creatively about what I wanted to make. So, I made purses, headbands, baby hats, bows and other fun accessories. And that's where I am now, making fun accessories and starting to experiment with clothing as well. This is just the beginning of my story and I can't wait to see what me and my little sewing machines are going to do next.
Oh, and I went to visit my parents and finally picked up an old box of my belongings from high school. Safely tucked between my Beanie Babies and a stack of old journals (yikes!), was that cupcake shaped pillow. I brought it home and have it lovingly displayed on my posh pink couch in my office.