10 ‘Sew’ Helpful Tips

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo - The Philippine Star
10 âSewâ Helpful Tips
Apol Massebieua working on a pattern.

When I was growing up, my mom would dress my sisters and me in lovely matching outfits, hand-embroidered with delicate smocking designs. Since then, I have had a love for anything with smocking embroidery on it. Aside from reminding me of my childhood, I appreciated how dainty it looks. The intricate smocking technique makes every piece more beautiful and extra-special.

I was so happy when I discovered these lovely dresses with smocking created by Apol Massebieau, founder of the clothing brand Good Luck, Humans.

Apol, a graduate of UP Diliman, was a media practitioner and writer for a decade before exchanging pen and paper for needle and thread. She believes that life is best lived in the pursuit of freedom and creativity. I asked Apol what made her shift from writing to designing and her immediate reply was,  “I have been sewing since I was a child! My mom, Priscilla Lejano, had a little dressmaking shop in our garage when I was in my preteens, and I remember spending many happy hours there helping bead dresses. When I moved to France in the 2000s, after about 15 years of being a professional writer and editor, of course not having time for making things, I finally had the time to sew again!”

Her love affair with texture and patterns inspired her to make all these pretty clothes under her own brand, which has become one of my favorite local brands.

It was while Apol was driving around her father’s home province of Batangas that a friend of hers brought her to five women sitting together sewing using the smocking technique. The women were smocking children’s dresses then.

“I feel my heart beating faster whenever I come across any piece of craftsmanship with loads of details,” shares Apol. She then took the challenge of using these techniques to fashion garments for grownups and — fast-forward four years — she is still creating lovely pieces with a growing clientele of women young and old, all of whom appreciate the smocking details in every piece she makes.

The Mirren, a linen maxi dress.

Read on as Apol shares with us her 10 pieces of advice on starting a garment business.

1. Begin with passion. Start a business that you are absolutely in love with. This will help you power through the tough times.

2. Manage your business with a clear head. Passion is an advantage, but you have to help it along with logic, reason, and a healthy dose of math.

3. Bootstrap it. You don’t want to start things already in debt.

4. Keep records. Of everything. This will help you make wise decisions later.

5. Related to No. 2: Pay attention to data. Study what those pieces of information are telling you. For example, knowing what types of clothes sold well in June last year helped me make decisions for what we produced for June this year.

6. Have a working knowledge of each facet of your business.

7. But don’t do everything yourself. Hire people to manage the things you are weak at.

8. Commit to a constant pursuit of excellence.

9. Take care of your customers. Keep them happy with a great product, a seamless purchasing experience, and considerate after-sales service.

10. Take care of yourself. A friend of mine always says that running a business is a marathon. You have to be ready to be in it for the long haul. So eat well, enjoy the sunshine, and spend time with the people you love.

Anita smocked bamboo bag.

(We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please e-mail me at [email protected]. Follow me on Instagram @monsromulo.)


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