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Stitching Together Passion and Ambition to Make a Business

Let me ask you a question: What are you passionate about?


If you were to ask me the same question, I don’t know that I’d have a clear answer.


Not every passion is clear cut. I really doubt Van Gogh sat up in bed in the morning and said, “I’m going to be a painter!”, and then went and painted Starry Night. In fact, I doubt many people who have become successful in their art had it happen that way.


Sometimes, it’s simply that creative gene that exists within us. The desire to create. The curiosity to learn more. And the drive to make something out of it. And sometimes, we are such curious beings, we spread ourselves out in so many areas of life that it’s tough to define what it is that makes our heart thump out of our chest in excitement.


And when you do find that passion, it’s not easy to stick with. Sometimes it takes spending time at night after your 9-5, working away, making that passion a part of your everyday life. It starts as a curiosity, then a hobby, and then eventually, if it’s in your vision, a business and a way of life.


Pursing passion might even take giving up something you’ve known and relied on, making sacrifices, and becoming someone different than you’d ever thought you’d be.


When I thought more about trying to define my passion, I thought about women I knew that had found theirs but had taken it to the next level. They took that curiosity and grew it into their way of life, their business, and their sole income.


When I picked up my dress!

I first met Brittanie through a mutual friend when I was engaged, and learned she had her own alterations business, Unveiled by Brittanie. She made a great first impression, I trusted my friend who referred me to her, and booked an appointment with her to get my wedding dress altered.


When my mom, grandma and I stepped into Brittanie’s space, she made us feel at home. She welcomed us in and made us feel like we had known each other for years. There was a sense of comfort you didn’t typically get when getting alterations. Usually, it’s a rushed process with a splash of chaotic nature. This was like visiting a friend and also getting your dress altered.


You could tell she truly cared. It was a private appointment, and she gave us the time and attention we needed to feel confident and comfortable in our dresses for the big day.

I put my dress on, stepped onto the pedestal in front of the mirror, and she said to me,


“We’re going to make this dress yours now.” And already then, it felt more to me than an alterations appointment.


Being around the same age (late 20s-30s), I wondered how she got to the point where she could take something she loved and made a successful business. So, months after I had my wedding in my beautiful gown that she made my own, I sat down with her to talk about her story of how she went from sewing at a corporate bridal shop to having her own successful alterations business in Saline, MI.


Finding a passion, losing it, and finding it again


If you think back to your childhood, maybe there’s something you were really into, but never really gave it a second thought. Brittanie said she had always drawn clothes and had always been an artist. But she didn’t know then what it would become now.


Life went on, with the interest kind of shifted to the side. It sparked again when she nearly went to Fashion Design school, until the reality of how expensive it was set in, and it wasn’t an option for her. Her dreams fizzled out.


And then, out of curiosity, she decided she was going to learn how to sew. Her parents bought her a sewing machine and she taught herself some basics.


She had an opportunity to work for a corporate bridal shop and went in for an interview. She failed the sewing test but they decided she had enough knowledge to learn the ins and outs on the job. She was hired.


It turns out she was really good at it, it came naturally to her, and she eventually worked her way up to the manager of the alterations department. The job worked for a while, but eventually, she realized it wasn’t fulfilling. She began to do alterations on the side for people she knew, family friends and people she went to high school with. Until finally, she left the corporate job to begin her own business.


She would go to the client’s houses and fit them, then take their garments back to her parent's house where she sewed. It became a huge part of her life, sewing most nights and working late into the evenings and early in the morning. Through word of mouth, business grew.


Eventually, she was able to lease her own spot in downtown Saline. She said when she got the keys to the space, she vividly remembers plopping down on the floor in the center of the room. Excitement, fear, and uncertainty washing over her, knowing that this was really happening.


Overcoming the fear of failure


She said it took about 200 people who had come to her for alterations to tell her she should do it on her own until finally, she decided it was time.


“Wasn’t it scary to take that leap?”, I asked.


She explained to me that it was, but there is something to be scared about every single day. You could get in a car accident. You could be fired from your job. You could slip and break a leg. Fear shouldn’t be the thing to hold you back from doing something you love.


“Aren’t you afraid that someone won’t like your work?”, I continued.


“I am nervous every single time a bride comes in. That means I care. I always want to be nervous.”, she replied.

Brittanie in her shop

It’s really true she cares. A big part of our conversation was how much she wants her clients to feel great in their clothes.


“I want them to feel confident and happy. A bad outfit can ruin your whole day or night. It could be the best time, but if you don’t like your outfit, it can ruin your whole mood.”

“I want them to feel confident and happy. A bad outfit can ruin your whole day or night. It could be the best time, but if you don’t like your outfit, it can ruin your whole mood.”


Making your passion your purpose


Right now, Brittanie works alone most days. She doesn’t have an assistant, or anyone helping her. She wakes up, goes to her space, and sews. As someone who works from home, I know first-hand that working alone can be difficult. When I asked her about that, she responded with the most definitive answer.


“I am just grateful for what I have. I can’t look to what else there is or what I don’t have right now. I just know that I am thankful for everything that is right here, right now.”


She smiled, “I know my purpose”.


Pausing, realizing how powerful that statement was, she continued.

“Wow, that’s crazy to say. I know my purpose.



Not every passion is defined by a life-altering moment. Sometimes it stitches together thread by thread. It evolves and grows from one opportunity, to another life lesson, to a whole lot of hard work.


But once you find it, and you truly put the work into building it, you’ll not only wear it with pride but feel like you can live within it.


Unveiled by Brittanie can be found on Instagram and Facebook.


Michigan

©2019 by Ness Glennie