I believe that something made by hand
carries with it the energy of the maker. Most, if not all, of the
items I make are incorporated into a special day. Whether my
creations are used in a wedding, for a Father's Day present, or to
welcome a new baby, a small part of me is actually there on the most
important day of peopleís lives. Thatís extremely special. I
cherish the stories that are told to me and the photos that are sent
of special events in which my ties were used.
I love working with my hands, creating a whole from parts. It must be something ingrained in me. I grew up in a household
where handmade was a way of life. I grew up watching my father make
items, or use the resources we had available before running out to
purchase a mass-market item.
My first rocking horse was handmade, by
my father, out of solid wood no less. The clothing I wore was
handmade by my Grandmother. The costumes I wore on Halloween were
flawlessly sewn by my mother. When something needed to be fixed or
changed around the house, my father was there with a hammer and his "mission" face. When I want a change or something new, itís only
natural for me to first see what I can do with resources I already
have. My first apartment was small, I needed narrow side tables that I could
not find at the store. After a visit to the local hardware store, I was able to make the exact size tables I needed.
Itís this type of critical thinking
and resourcefulness that I learned from my parents I believe has
helped me as a designer and helped me create my first father/son
necktie set that is still my best seller.
When my son was born in 2008, I left my job at Rollins
College as a Database Coordinator. My dream was to be a stay at home
mother and be a part of my son's life one day at a time. For an event
in the spring of 2009, I wanted my husband and son to have matching
neckties. I looked online for matching ties and showed them to my
husband. He was not pleased, most of the ties were shirt ties or
informal material ties. My husband preferred silk ties and thought silk would be best for this type of event.
countless hours combing the Internet and could not find matching silk
neckties. I decided to take things into my own hands, and thus I
created my first matching silk necktie set. The necktie set was a hit
with my husband, my friends, and my family. It was the talk of the
event, and I decided to create more of these necktie sets and offer
them to other families, since nothing like it was offered at the
Itís so important to stay on top of
the game and anticipate the future in this industry. Because my
pieces are accessories, I feel they need to be beautiful enough to
make the outfit, on-trend enough to complement any look, and classic
enough to make them timeless pieces people will want to wear forever.
I take cues from customers, I flip through wedding magazines, I check out what color combinations are in vogue and which ones will stick around for the long haul.
I love receiving an
email from a bride-to-be stating she's so happy that she found
her wedding colors in the perfect design in my store. Often she had searched for months with no luck, and that she can now take a sigh of
relief knowing one thing would be checked off her wedding list.
I do not have a degree in art, fashion
or design. I actually hold a degree in a Environmental Studies and a
Master's in Business Administration. I like to call it the yin-yang that rules my life.
I was not taught how to use my sewing
machine. Instead, I purchased a sewing machine and sat there for
about 3 months, staring at it, wanting to use it but I was petrified
of it. One day, I dug in and I have not seen the sun since. Apart
from my creative time, I take care of our son and the house, cook,
run errands, play train conductor Ė you name it! Basically, I am
being a mom and a wife. The clothing designer in me sometimes makes
an appearance, too.
Since 2009, Apple & Ivy has grown
to a well-known online boutique for neckties, bow ties, suspenders,
and other special event attire. While the business has grown
exponentially every year, it is still just me, in my home studio
creating items for fathers, groomsmen, sons, and daughters. I
absolutely love my job, and I am delighted to have met so many wonderful customers while doing it.
In June 2012, I created 276 neckties,
45 bow ties, and 19 suspender sets