A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.Gina Carey
For heaven’s sake, it’s those things a mother insists upon that can make a life. “I made shorts with an elastic waistband in a six weeks sewing class while in high school,” Suzanne Sevier says. She continued to sew her own “weird pieces” while at Father Ryan High School.
And then she schlepped her sewing machine to the University of Tennessee. Draw string pants enchanted her and the resulting creations were doled out to friends and family. “But I began to notice that no one ever wore them,” she said, with a toss of her ginger hair.
Suzanne is and was an imaginative hustler of a gal. “I was always an eclectic dresser – drawn to the fun, fancy and strange,” she says.
Today she is more of a conformist. Her creative juices have been high jacked into custom made skirts and dresses. To date she has sold over 45,000 skirts. A hallmark of Suzanne’s service is that while she takes accurate measurements, she listens to her customers who vary from age 30 to 70. Women learning from women.
In fact, she learned from her aunt at the beginning of a journey that commenced with her first design, The Panic Pants – drawstring, no less. She took that fun on the road. “I would wear them to Widespread Panic concerts and offer a sale from my bag,” she says admitting that though they did not sell very well, she thought they were a hit. I told my aunt I needed to copyright my clever idea because someone might steal it and she said, “That was not going to be a problem,” laughed Suzanne.
Which brought her to fashion school in Atlanta and then to the art of pattern-making from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Suzanne admits to a love for the drafting of patterns. Having been an economics major, she benefits from an understanding of numbers which parlays into proper fit.
Serendipitously she claimed a work spot at the renowned Mood Fabrics ultimately managing their warehouse. All the while she continued making skirts for folks back home in Atlanta and Nashville.
Her experiences to this point culminated in self knowledge and the confidence for a private label. “I wanted to own my own production where I could have a high degree of quality control,” she said.
Her Dad helped her with a business plan and her brother-in-law was the great entrepreneurial encourager. Earnings were not forthcoming so she supplemented with part time work for friends.
In time Sevier Skirts presented a pop up show at Rumors in Nashville. She encountered an enthusiastic customer who volunteered a home party the following week. Though she bagged some orders, she did not make money. Her father coached her toward some profitable numbers and she was off to the races.
She has since crisscrossed the southeast with a high popularity in Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, Charlotte and Columbus, Ohio and still schedules parties but also makes house calls to long time customers.
Sevier Skirts has modified through the years as Suzanne took notes for a fuller cut in the early days transitioning into the smart aligned structure of today. She seized on dress design when she intuited that the market was yearning for a dress.
For the past 8 years, she and her team of 3 cut, sew, inspect and ships out each design and it is all done in Nashville with a sense of her profound Tennessee roots.
Suzanne Sevier was pre-loaded with a genetic propensity for leadership as John Sevier, first and third governor of Tennessee, was a 4 times great grandfather. P.S. Another great grandfather started Wrangler Jeans. One could only speculate on those gentlemen’s assessments of their female prodigy.
She vouches as one of five siblings to the desirability of a devoted extended family. She admits to a preference of living close to her parents. When mention is made about husband Bart and son JB, she emotionally speaks of their support. The two provide love and are enmeshed into the flow of a home business. “It’s all they know,” she says.
The next step for Suzanne is a pattern adjusting method that was gleaned in partnership with Stitch – It & Co. in Green Hills, Nashville. (http://www.stitchitandco.com) Stitch-It & Co. holds Sevier patterns and swatches and completes the look with alterations. Owner of Stitch – It & Co. Jeff Loring says, “I know nothing else like it in the country.”
Naturally this does not surprise the bustling CEO of Sevier Skirts because all skirt systems are literally in the bag.
Suzanne makes this dish as the main event for her family and friends. “That would be another life when I might focus on the details of cooking. For now everything for me is about quick and easy,” she says.
Canned black beans
Grated Marbled Colby Cheese
Pickled and chopped Jalapeños
Drain black beans
Saute ground turkey with taco seasoning.
Lay out the tortilla chips
Sprinkle cooked ground turkey on chips
Spread black beans on turkey
Spread out jalapeños
Top with cheese, tomato and avocado.
Sour cream can be served on the side. Cold beer is a must.
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