Monday, April 26, 2010

Behind the Design - Parsimony

Hi everyone.  I hope you all had an awesome weekend.  Mine was wonderful.  NYC was so much fun, it was great seeing our old friends and we ate a ton of great food and walked everywhere.  I miss it so much! 

This week's Behind the Design features the amazingly talented fashion designer, Robie Dodson from Parsimony

Where does your inspiration come from?
Oh gosh, pretty much everywhere...I have one dress that was inspired by a pair of my husband's tennis shoes.  He was speaking at a conference, and instead of listening to what he was saying, I was struck by how awesome the colors were and how great they'd look on a dress.  When I create a dress, I'm always thinking about a mom - a woman who wants to look good but doesn't have much time or energy to put into getting ready in the morning.  So, all of my dresses are designed to stand alone or look great layered, to be worn with flip flops or stilettos - however the busy mom wants to wear it.  Our lives are pretty much casual, so I try to create dresses that fit into a casual lifestyle but have "hot mom" casual style!  (A new tag line I'm going to start using is "sexy dresses for decent moms"....because moms want to be sexy without being least most moms do!)

Do you have a spot you like to go that helps you feel creative?
Yeah, my bathtub!  I wish I had something more fabulous and glamorous for this question, but the truth is, the only time I'm alone is when I'm in the tub - and even then I have to lock the door!  But it does help with my creativity...that and the glass of wine that's usually alongside me.

Where do you do most of your work?
Up until two weeks ago, my sewing room was also my laundry room.  And by room, I really mean "cave"'s tiny!  My chair bumped up against the washing machine as I sewed, but it did the job.  Two weeks ago, I bought a fabulous armoire off craigslist for $30 and moved that along with two new sewing desks into our game now I have a "sewing wall" instead of a "sewing cave."  I feel bad for those women who have sewing rooms. :)

How did you come up with the name for your business?
Parsimony is a take off of the word "parsimonious" which means to be frugal.  Anyone who knows me is always teasing me about how frugal I am...I am really the queen of finding fabulous things CHEAP - you should see that armoire!  Anyway, my goal is to design and create custom-made dresses for women without charging an atrocious price.  You shouldn't have to pay a fortune to look fabulous!

Your favorite thing to make?
Um, that would have to be DRESSES.  Not much of a surprise here.  I love how easy dresses are to wear, they always look fabulous and put together, yet they require nothing more than slipping something over your head.

What is your all time favorite design from past or current collections?
The answer to this question changes on a daily basis.  My 'favorite' is usually the last thing I made.  Right now, I'm enjoying my strapless dress collection - especially the OBI strapless dress.  Also, I'm loving the new skirt I've just created (not photographed yet, coming soon).  I wore it Easter Sunday and got about five orders, so I think others will like it too!  Stay tuned!

You couldn't run your business without __________?
This is an amazing story - I was at the sewing machine/serger store here in Austin one day.  The hubs and the kids were sleeping, so I snuck out to daydream about owning a really great serger.  I happened to run into a couple that I barely knew who were just killing time while their son played sports.  They asked what I was looking at, I explained what it was and why it was awesome and worth every penny of the $900 price tag.  I left, they left.  Twenty minutes later, the wife hunted me down in the store and handed me a huge box - inside was that awesome serger.  I still can't believe it and I'm still tearing up when I talk about it.  Awesome!!

What advice do you wish someone had given you when you first started your business?
Oh gosh, how much space do I have??  The biggest thing I've learned is to set my policies according to what works for ME - not what I think others want.  For instance, I started my business with a one week turnaround from payment to shipment.  Well, I have a husband, two kids, and I make custom dresses from scratch....what was I thinking?!?  I thought no one would want to wait longer for their dresses, so I killed myself trying to get them all out.  NOW, I've learned that I need four weeks to ship a dress...and people still buy them...Just be clear up front, and both you and the customer will be happy because no one is surprised.

Coffee or tea?
What is this thing you call "tea"?  Coffee for sure!

Favorite magazine/blog/daily read?
I love LUCKY magazine.  I'm not a huge blogger yet, but I am enjoying MODA's blog.

If you could follow one person around for a day, who would it be?
Hmmm, I'd love to follow the entire Project Runway process for a day - soooo fun.  As for a person - definitely anyone working on the Liberty of London fabric and design.  So fun and fresh!

Do you have any hobbies or creative outlets other than your work?
I am a marathon runner - sooooo rewarding!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, money and time being no object, where would you go and why?
Oh, I want to go skiining in the Swiss Alps....I hate being in a bathing suit, so mountains are more my speed!

If you had to spend a year on a deserted island, what five things would you bring with you?
My husband
Mu children, Owen and Ellie
My bible

Thank you Robie for participating in this week's Behind the Design.

Photos courtesy of Robie Dodson, Parsimony

Robie can be found at:
Etsy Shop
Parimony Home Etsy Shop

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