One of the very cool bonuses of having a handmade shop is that you are in contact with so many inspiring creative people. The effect of this is that you become emotionally invested in them, in their stories and in their creations.
When customers in the shop ask where is this from ? Is this made locally ?
I get to tell them a story….
Sometimes that story is about an overseas Fair Trade project that provides women and children with free education classes like my friends at Hope Handicrafts OR sometimes it’s a story about a rockin’ mumma who loves to create and lives just a few streets over. This is one of those stories and BAM does this one hit me right in the feelings.
I want to tell you about the amazing Danette creator of Sami Bop Clothing.
Danette is a true “mumpreneur” (mum + entrepreneur) before this new buzz word ever existed she was selling her distinct range of up-cycled vintage children’s clothing all over the Blue Mountains. Known for her signature chenille pants and versatile girls dresses. She was a regular at markets across the mountains with a loyal customer base and a thriving business. That was until a horrific car accident almost 4 years ago nearly ended her life and changed her world forever.
I will let her tell you about it…
Unfortunately my market days were given a HUGE shakeup when in June 2013 I suddenly blacked out at the wheel and suffered a multitude of injuries, one of which resulted in rods in my neck and a traumatic head injury. After doing six month’s rehabilitation learning how to walk, talk and eat again I then started the slow process of healing at home. They even set up a sewing machine at the rehab centre, that’s how keen I was to get started again. In retrospect I am very fortunate I was not left a quadriplegic. You hear about the fatalities in car accidents, but the survivors are many.
Danette is a SURVIVOR in the truest sense of the word and I am blown away by her amazing spirit and sense of humour. I love that she had a sewing machine brought to her in rehab and that sewing was one of the first things she learnt to do again. I think this is why Danette’s story connects with me so deeply. Her creative spirit and that drive to keep creating.
I can’t even imagine how HARD it would be to learn to talk, to eat, to walk again. These things we take for granted and here she is sewing Sami Bop Clothing.
“Luckily my hands work fine although it takes me 5 times longer to thread a needle (due to my vision!) But, hey, I’m hoping to get gradually better”.
I think how easily any of us could find ourselves in Danette’s shoes and I wonder if I would have her strength and tenacity for life.
I wanted to tell Danette’s story because so many people are so excited when they see Sami Bop clothing in the shop. People that had met Danette at markets over the years and had heard about the accident. I get to see their faces, the way they light up when they see that signature tag and they ask “ is she sewing again?” I wanted Danette to know this. To know that there is an entire community of people who are delighted and brightened to know that she is sewing again.
I am so honoured that I get the fun job of telling people how F&*@king fantastic and inspiring this woman is!
I’m going to hand it over to Danette herself to tell you more about Sami Bop.
When did Sami Bop begin ?
It all began in 2006 when I realised the fashion industry didn’t have much to offer in the mountains and I wanted to do something from home with my two kids. Jasper, then 3 and Samara 1 year old.
Where did your love of vintage fabrics come from ?
I’ve always been interested in recycling fabrics, from as young as 11 years old, when I started. Then my love for vintage took over.
When did you start sewing again ?
In 2015 I got back into sewing again. My partner was instrumental in my success as far as shelving and maintaining all my machinery etc.
Your favourite all time thing to sew ?
I love digging out my retro patterns and seeing how they turn out when I sew them.
Any words of wisdom for those just beginning their sewing business journey ?
Try and make it as easy as you can for yourself. Choose at least five styles to grade in the sizes you think will be popular and go from there.
Keep materials in check. Don’t let them get out of control like I have! Bedspreads, tablecloths, curtains, tea towels and even pillowcases get a look in.
Also lots of remnant and larger pieces I have found at op shops and auctions.
I think I could not survive without my sewing machines!