“I would say, ‘Go for it’. Why not?”
Ella began sewing when she was about 8 and created Sew-Awesome when she was just 10. She wanted to use her passion for sewing to help girls in developing nations.
By providing them with sewing equipment and empowering other kids to explore their passions and realize they could also find creative ways to create positive change.
For every dollar she makes, Ella donates 50% of my profits to help purchase sewing equipment for women in developing countries and her goal is to donate $2,500 to her charity (the equivalent of 10 sewing machines). She also hopes to travel to these countries and teach girls how to sew and start their own businesses.
We were lucky enough to chat with Ella about her favorite fashion era, Michelle Obama and her plans for 2019. Check it out below!
- What is one thing you wish would come back into fashion?
I really like the way women dressed in the 40’s and 50’s. It just looks so elegant.
- What are you most excited for in 2019?
This coming September I am going to be launching a new business product that I thought of last year. I am really excited about the idea and now I am just working with my Mom on getting the details finished.
Other than that, I kind of just like to roll day-to-day.
This coming May I am going to be traveling with my charity, Sewing Seeds to visit a sewing school that they started five years ago in Mexico. I am going to get a chance to volunteer with the women at the school and see the impact of the sewing program on their lives. I am really excited.
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Sewing Seeds Canada is the charity that I support. They began their first project in 2002 in Sierra Leone, Africa where they provided sewing training, equipment, and materials to 30 war-widows. To date, Sewing Seeds has trained nearly 300 women in Sierra Leone. I donate 50% of my profits from sewing to Sewing Seeds to help purchase sewing equipment for these projects. @sewingseedscanada
- What is something that you absolutely refuse to share?
I have a teddy bear that my Dad gave me when I was little. I really don’t like anyone touching him but me.
Otherwise, I am pretty open to sharing most of my items.
- If you were king/queen for a day, what would be your first rule that you would change?
I would cap the amount of money that one individual could have. When the individual reached it, they would have to give the extra to charity. I don’t believe that anyone should have too much excess when individuals don’t have enough.
- If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?
Either Michelle Obama or Freddy Mercury.
- Take us through the moment you fell in love with sewing?
Tough one. I was pretty little when I started sewing so I think it was getting to wear something that I made.
- Why do you want to raise money to donate sewing machines (as opposed to any other way you could help girls in developing nations?)
I think teaching someone a skill that they can then use to earn an income or make items to help support their family is really important. When I thought about the idea that I could share my sewing skills by teaching other people how to sew and even use my sewing to make money, it just seemed to make sense. I wanted to be able to buy equipment for women but also be able to teach them a skill, something that someone just wouldn’t be able to buy.
- What kind of products can people expect to find on your website?
Right now I am just selling bookmarks and cards but in September I am going to be launching a new product that is unique and original. So you will have to stay tuned 🙂
- How do you decide which designs and patterns you’re going to make?
For my online store, I usually find fabric that I think is fun for different types of people. I make alot of clothes for myself and so I usually choose new items that I haven’t made yet or something that I can’t find in a store that is original.
- What is the most rewarding part about Sew-Awesome designs?
My plan is to travel with my charity next summer to teach women how to sew. I think being able to see the women using the sewing machines that I was able to buy for them will be really cool. I like the idea that these women will be empowered by their sewing skills and will be able to help support their families and this will help make a difference in their lives. Thinking about how making bookmarks could potentially change the outcome of an entire family, wow, it just feels really powerful.
- What advice do you have for other girls who are thinking of starting their own business?
I would say, ‘Go for it’. Why not?
but… you need to find something that you are passionate about because having a business requires a lot of commitment and hard work.
My Mom and I sit down a couple of times a year and make goals for my business and then we just break it down to things I have to complete each week. Some weeks I would rather read or be playing video games but I have made a commitment to my goal and know what I have to accomplish so it makes it a little easier.
Also, it is really important to know why you want to start your own business. If you don’t know why you are doing it, when it gets hard you will just stop and not complete your goal.
- Where did your love of mustaches come from?
I just remember loving them when I was about 9. Not sure why I did but the love has never ceased.
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With one of my best friends Annaliese (who is also an amazing sewer) and my fabulous sewing instructor Judith, we spent the last month constructing 8 adult bibs to be donated to a group of male individuals in care. I am really excited to deliver them next week and hope that they love that we made them with an Ella twist, moustache-themed of course.
- We saw on your IG that you also make things like pajamas. Can we expect to see these on your shop sometime soon?
It is really time intensive to make clothing so I prefer to give these items as gifts but I have done some custom items upon request.
- What is your favorite part about Miss O & Friends?
I really like that the community is really appropriate and encouraging. This is really nice as a lot of chat rooms that I have participated in previously have had some mean and inappropriate comments from people using them.
- Where can we follow you?