Guest post on the Je Veux Magazine blog! And a bit more...

miercuri, 30 octombrie 2013

Hey folks!
Things have been pretty hectic around here lately, as I've been fully immersed in fulfilling the hugest order I had ever ever received... the mythical 6 bridesmaid dresses and 6 tulle petticoats for Jacqueline's wedding in Sydney!
But I have news and I will have more news in the following days.
For today the main piece of news is that I've been featured on the Je Veux Magazine blog! The sweet Eleonora published this guest post of me where you can read a bit about my story (and see some cute cute cute pics of my dresses).

Now that you read the post you can take a peak into the Australian affair... the dresses resting nicely on their hangers, waiting for the petticoats to be completed :D

Other news is that I decided it's about time to learn to do proper fashion illustration, since translating the millions of ideas from my head directly to the sewing machine can be a little nerve breaking given that it means changing my mind 1000 times before each new design! So after lots of wandering in the field of drawing I decided for pencils and watercolors for now (my wallet hopes I will not change my mind soon!)
So I present to you people... my first watercolor illustration! It's inspired by a vintage pattern cover from 1956 and I SO love it ("modest" me, I know!!)

That's it for tonight, I'll come back tomorrow with a post on my wild design-related shopping splurge of this week. :D



marți, 15 octombrie 2013

This is it folks, the day has come, today is Elochka's first birthday! Exactly 1 year ago, on October 15th 2012, I was opening my online shop with only 15 products I had made out of passion and love for sewing, without knowing what exactly will happen after. I had my beautiful friend Rosa as a model, another friend, the talented Beatrice from Bee Photography as a photographer, and a stunning old house as a location to photograph these 15 products. I remember the excitement of having my first sale just a few hours after opening the shop, but also the struggle of a few months until I started to understand how to actually get my shop to work on a regular basis.
Right now, I can surely say it has been the most challenging year of my life so far, because it was full of surprises, trial and error, and a very intense learning process which is still going on and will go on for a long time from now. Not only have I passed from a lifelong "corporate employee" mindset to the status of self employed and entrepreneur, but I also turned into the most fierce boss I have ever had.
But apart from the satisfaction of having turned my passion for sewing and vintage fashion into a business and income generator, what was really mindblowing for me was the possibility to meet so many nice people (my lovely clients) and to bring a contribution to so many events in people's lives all around the world. I made and shipped  bridesmaids dresses, prom dresses, rehearsal dinner or birthday party dresses, even a few unconventional wedding dresses, to so many places that I can't even believe it myself. My clothing now sits in dressing rooms in the US, Australia, UK, Ireland, Romania, Italy, Singapore, Canada, Japan, France, The Netherlands, and Slovakia, but I get equally excited when I add a new country to the "Elochka map".
At this moment, I count:
- 82 dresses sold
- 43 other items of clothing (skirts, petticoats, capes, coats, tops, shirts, blouses etc) sold
This is a total of 125 items of clothing sold in one year, which may not seem so many but given that I also MADE each and every one of them with my own 2 hands, for me it's a huge number , especially considering that 90% of this "production" is concentrated mostly in the last 7 months :)

And now the SURPRISE! On such a special occasion as my 1 year anniversary with Elochka, I'm launching 2 new designs that I created in the spirit of the fast approaching holiday season! I will continue this winter holiday inspired line in the following weeks, so today is only the beginning! I'll be taking custom orders for all the designs in this line, so if you want a special 50s inspired dress for Thanksgiving, your Christmas party or New Year's Eve, I'll be happy to make it for you.
The first dress is a black and gold taffeta and brocade dress, featuring a sleeveess, fitted bodice and a full gathered skirt, all complimented by a wide sash that can be tied into a bow. The dress can be purchased HERE.

The second design is an emerald green taffeta party dress with short, petal-like sleeves and a narrow sash. The dress can be also made in any other colour or colour combination, and it can be ordered HERE.

This being said, all I have left to say now is a big, big, BIG THANK YOU to all the wonderful people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to live this dream.
- my family, for moral (and consistent material) support
- my "adoptive" Italian family for the continuous feedback (and for letting me have my atelier for a few months in their living room, turning it into a chaotic mess)
- my boyfriend (for always being next to me, despite the fact that having a permanently stressed and busy girlfriend who also burns dinner from time to time and hates to iron shirts is not an easy thing) and, not less important,
- my lovely clients from accross the Globe, for the endless confidence they show me every time they put their $$ in my account in exchange of having something made by my 2 hands

Ok, enough celebrating, back to work now! 6 bridesmaid dresses and 6 petticoats are waiting to be made now, for a BIG wedding in Sydney!



luni, 14 octombrie 2013

Hello readers, here we are in a new (cold) week of October! It's the last day of the first year of Elochka (anniversary post tomorrow!) and there have been a lot of things going on lately!

Last week I finally took the courage to submit my trademark registration for Elochka at the Chamber of Commerce in Milan so now it means that I only have 6 months to wait (and pray) that my submission is accepted.

This weekend I had the chance to participate at the first national gathering of the Italian Etsy sellers, Craft Camp 2013, organized by the wonderful fellows from the EtsyItaliaTeam. Luckily for me, it took place in Milan :D. I actually only managed to take part at the Saturday dinner and at yesterday's workshops (as usually, I left it on the last moments and Saturday workshops were no longer available when I registered... and I managed to get the second last ticket for yesterday :)). But even like this, I had the chance to meet wonderful and interesting people, and to find out new ways to improve my shop which I'll work on during the next days. Among other things, I am deeply grateful to the lovely Francesca from MatildeB for the precious supplier info, and to the equally lovely Antonella, owner of Altmeansold and AltDesign for the precious tips on packaging :D (she also has THE cooolest business cards I have ever seen - see above on the right). And last but not least, a big BRAVO to Francesca of Etherealflowers, Cristina of Trepuntozerocivette and the organizing team for a great event which we hope to have again next year!
Oh and I bought a handmade pin from a seller whom I did not know so I don't have a name to share here, but she had the most wonderful pins!

And last, but not least, today I delivered 2 new garments I made during the last days.
First is a warm wool cape for my boyfriend's colleague Paula, which I made in black according to her specifications, featuring 6 buttons which I covered in grey wool tweed for a bit of contrast. The cape is lined and it's perfect for this middle season weather.

And the second is a red party dress with black lace on the bodice, which I have just shipped to Victoria, Australia! I made this dress many times but this time the girl wanted it in floor length which is a first. I made it in taffeta, with a soft viscose lining under the lace on the bodice. It can be worn with or without the petticoat, just that this time it would require a floor length petticoat (I need to make one of these to have as a sample, given that the one I used for these pictures is knee length, but still, it shows the effect pretty well :).

Stay tuned for the anniversary post tomorrow, when I reveal 2 new designs I made these days and also another little surprise!
Happy week!


The baby blue taffeta evening dress - COMPLETED!

marți, 1 octombrie 2013

Good day, readers! I can't believe it's October 1st already! Autumn is well on the way but today I'm defying it by showing you guys a baby blue taffeta evening dress :)

It's a project I have been working on since May (yes, MAY! I actually bought the fabric and notions for it in May...) but it's finally completed. It's for my lovely cousin and it will fly all the way to Bucharest as soon as I also get to complete the prom dress for her daughter. (on a side note, I have a cousin who has a daughter who has a prom - ok more of a homecoming ball but anyway - so does it mean I am turning into an ADULT??? scary...)
I am really happy to have completed my first draping project with this dress - the pleats on the front bodice are actually draped on the bodice structure layer and it took hours to get them to sit right. The bodice is also interfaced and has boning inside, for stability.

 The skirt is flared and softly pleated, and the skirt lining is an actual separate underskirt. My cousin wanted 2 different sashes, one in the colour of the dress and the other one in black, so I also tried to obtain different effects by tying one in the front and the other in the back.

Today I also shipped some lace samples for a girl in London who wants me to make her civil wedding dress with this design. The original dark blue is among her options but I really hope she will choose "old gold". But more on this later, I don't want to spoil the surprise.
So what do you think of the baby blue dress? Would you prefer it with the baby blue sash or with the black one? I can't decide!



vineri, 27 septembrie 2013

Look at me making commitments on regular posting and already breaking them the second week! I'm actually writing this from my kitchen table in Bucharest. I'm here since the day before yesterday and the last 3 days have been so crazy I couldn't even stand still and write this post. My brother had his PhD thesis dissertation today, which is also the reason why I came (and also the reason why I am so happy and proud!! <3), but I'll be back home in Milan tomorrow and production and posting will go back to normal.

The BIG news is that... It happened, readers, it really happened! I'm back to school! You might be remembering my "self taught designer and dressmaker" status which I also mentioned several times everywhere, but at some point I decided that, as cool as it may sound that I learned how to do all that I do BY MYSELF, I want to do MORE. There must be some well kept secrets of clothing construction and pattern drafting that no tutorial and no "genius inspiration" will ever be able to teach me. Which is why I decided that it's time for me to get formal training on this side, and I enroled in a professional dressmaking course at AFOL MODA in Milan. The school is half public, half private, and the public side belongs to the Province of Milan so this means 2 things, seriousness and affordable cost. The course is divided into 4 modules, it started this Monday and will end next summer. It means that from now on, I will have 2 dedicate 2 days a week to school, "homework" and stuff like this, while still managing my orders, shipping, marketing and all the rest for my online shop. Now THAT's a challenge!

On another note, I did manage to finish and ship 2 important orders before going to Bucharest, and I'll be showing you guys the pictures here.

First is an ivory taffeta and lace party dress I made for the girl in Glasgow. I'm happy with how it turned out, especially because I found this amazing ivory lace with a delicate golden shimmer on one side, and Natalie agreed to use this side and have the shimmer on the dress bodice. The sleeves are lace-only, the dress is fully lined and the closure is on the right side (invisible zipper).

The other order I completed was the outfit for Kerry back in the US. I made a pencil skirt and a top, which due to my odd shaped mannequin I had to photograph separately. You'll see the skirt photographed with another blouse I made a while ago, and I think that they work quite well together. The fabric I used for the outfit is a very fine wool/silk blend, with a bit of stretch to hug the body perfectly.

That's all for tonight, I'll come back next week with the baby blue taffeta evening dress I am making for my cousin, which is the next project I have in line for finishing. And of course, more impressions from the dressmaking course!




miercuri, 18 septembrie 2013

I was telling you guys 2 days ago that I was working on a very special project for my first Dutch client. Well, the project (dress + petticoat) is completed and the package is on its way to Amsterdam!
The design is based on the one of this dress from my online shop. My client wanted some modifications though, a narrower collar with 2 roses placed "hanging" in the upper side, 3/4 sleeves instead of long, and a longer hem for the skirt part. There was also a request about raising the neckline and placing the roses "hanging" on the dress as well, and I'm quite happy about how this turned out. The dress is basically a shirtwaist with kimono sleeves and 5 buttons as front closure, but the placement of the flowers on the collar and dress body was a true challenge.
I'm quite in an "emergency mode" right now because I'm just a week away from my trip to Bucharest (yay genious brother getting his PhD!!) and I still have a lot of work to be done before my departure:
- the ivory party dress for the girl in Glasgow
- the 2 piece outfit for the American lady
- a light blue taffeta evening gown for my cousin
- a turquoise chiffon blazer for my mom, to be worn with the evening gown I made for her in July

Back to work now, I leave you with the pics of the Dutch dress!



luni, 16 septembrie 2013

Geez folks, I can't believe I created this blog exactly one year ago and I wrote nothing on it apart from my initial post! I have to admit that when I created it I had no clue of how things would turn out for Elochka, but the reality proved to be far more exciting than I had expected!
Anyways, now I'm back to documenting my journey here, with a pretty new look thanks to the awesome guys at Mlekoshi Playground (a lovely store on Etsy where I purchased the new blog template)!
So what has happened so far during this year?
I opened my online store in October 2012, and while in the beginning this was supposed to be a side activity since I was highly determined to take over the marketing job market in Milan, well, after 6 months it seemed that Fate had other plans for me. Sales in my shop started rocking in March this year and I took it as a sign that THIS is what I have to do in life.
It's true what they say, that if you treat your hobby as a hobby, it will always bring you the results of a hobby (which is a few pennies here and there). So the moment I stopped treating Elochka as a hobby and started seeing it as a business, well, results started coming! I took the first months as a "trial period" to see how it works, and I registered Elochka as a company in July this year. I am now the proud owner of an Italian VAT number, I issue invoices, I can advertise and I can have retailers selling my creations... you know, just like grown-ups do business in the real world! Ok, I (will) also pay taxes, but I prefer to not think about this yet :))
During this first year I saw my products fly to all the corners of the world, counted over 100 sold items, saw my online sales skyrocket from only 5 sales in the first 5 months, to 90 now (6 months after), and decided that if THIS is what I'm gonna do in my life, I would not spare my time and energy to make it come true! But more on this in my anniversary post which will be up on October 15 :D
Back to documenting the story now!
I have a very important project on my work table these days. My very first Dutch client contacted me about a dress she wanted to wear at the Opera, and last week we discussed on fabric choice and design, so now I'm in the process of cutting the dress. She also ordered a tulle petticoat which I made yesterday. I leave you with a sneak peak on the petticoat while still under the machine!

And because I'm really in love with these roses, here's also a sneak peak of the fabric :D

This afternoon I am also going to run to downtown Milan for a shopping session at my fabric store. Shopping list:
- pink silk/cotton blend for 5 bridesmaid dresses which I'll make for an Australian wedding
- grey wool/silk blend for a 2 piece outfit (long sleeve top and pencil skirt) for a lovely American lady
- ivory taffeta and lace for a party dress that will go to Glasgow!

So what do you think readers? Do you like the new look of the blog? (make sure you check out the new COLLECTIONS and CUSTOM WORK pages, where I uploaded pics of my favourite works from what I made this year!)


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