I have been sewing since around the age of 8, when my grandmother gave me her old Singer sewing machine from the 60’s. She taught me the basics of the machine, and I started teaching myself to sew. Growing up in a very small town, the nearest fabric store was 30 minutes away. Luckily I was the youngest of 3, and got full permission to rip apart the hand-me-downs that I had outgrown. Primarily, I turned everything into a purse. I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing at the time, but this is where my recycling began.
After years and years of sewing and developing my own techniques, I knew I needed to learn more. I wanted to learn everything about sewing clothing, so I went to sewing school in Minneapolis. In school, I learned the industry standards for garment construction, draping, pattern-making, alterations, and how to work with specialty fabrics.
In the textiles class I learned that polyester has the same chemical make-up as PETE 1 water bottles. We recycle those bottles, but not the fabric, and it dawned on me how wasteful the industry really is. Many items in stores are not made to last, so we need to go buy them again and again. The industry has adopted the “disposable” mentality. In addition, so many of these garments will not break down in the landfills. I was devastated and questioning the field I was planning to pursue.
I stubbornly made a decision: I either needed to find a way to feel like I was not adding to the wasteful problems of the fashion industry, OR I needed to find a new field to go into. Looking back on my childhood, I realized that I was perhaps a bit smarter than I had given myself credit for. I would continue recycling and finding a way to make it easier for others to recycle clothing as well.
In 2009, I moved to Washington DC with my now husband. Shortly after in 2010, I opened Ginger Root Design with one of my best friends, Erin Orfanon (then Derge). It was the home of our tailoring business, specializing in revamping/recycling garments, in addition to basic tailoring. It was also a place for us to sell our eco-friendly designs and feature other local artists in DC.
After an amazing 5 year run, both Erin and I decided to close Ginger Root and begin our home businesses as we prepared for our growing families. In 2015, Erin has launched Confetti Tailoring (a tailoring service for bridal, formal, and vintage). I launched reTHINK Tailoring with the main goal of making recycling a legitimate shopping option for one’s professional and casual wardrobe.
After my daughter was born in 2015 I took a pause from tailoring to develop a concept I have dreamt about for years: resizable baby clothing. I was shocked it didn’t already exist! After a very fun and challenging process, I invented and started producing a dress that fits from 3 months through 4 years. Ginger Bean Clothing was officially born. My family and I returned to Minneapolis, Minnesota in April 2017. I continued work on my resizable designs, and my son was born in early 2018.
This summer I took a pause from sewing for Ginger Bean to spend time with the kiddos and think about my next steps. I am very excited to announce that I will be rebooting reTHINK Tailoring in Minnesota in the Fall of 2019, so stay tuned Minnesota!