I am a huge fashion enthusiast and an accessory junkie. I love meeting with local talent. Designer and owner of Wicked Stitch, Jess Boland creates scarves for all seasons, and her designs are one of a kind.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you decide to start Wicked Stitch?
I am 29 years old, and I was born and raised here in Kingston. When I was 22, I moved to St. John’s Newfoundland for three years, which is where I acquired much of my appreciation for fashion, art and music. There is such an amazingly rich arts culture there, it is hard to spend a significant amount of time in the midst of it all and not come away changed in some way. Wicked Stitch is in its third year and it still sometimes feels like it sort of started itself. I acquired a super sweet sewing machine from a coworker for a great deal (cheap would be an understatement), and spent much of December 2013 sewing at my kitchen table and selling simple fabric infinity scarves to friends and family for next to nothing. It wasn’t until I started putting faux fur and repurposed leather pieces in the scarves and sourcing unique fabric that the demand increased to the point where I had to start putting customers on a waiting list – that was when I realized I had a legitimate business opportunity on my hands. It is a weird feeling when you reach the point where your immediate family members aren’t your only customers! I guess that is the goal, right?
What inspires you creatively when designing a scarf?
I am inspired by a lot of different things when designing scarves. Sometimes it will be something like an interesting thrift store leather coat that speaks to me. Sometimes it’s a friend’s shirt, or an outfit of my own that is lacking something specific. I am never one to jump wholeheartedly on the bandwagon with whatever is super trendy… I tend of go for classic, comfy and cozy style, and timeless colours, patterns and materials. This is true in my own wardrobe and I think my scarves reflect that to a certain degree. You just can’t go wrong pairing leather and flannel – it’s like they were made to be together.
Do you have any advice for others wanting to start a local business?
Network, network, network! Your greatest resource is the community of local business owners around you. The more people you can connect with and learn from, the better. I have found that people are often very receptive if you take the time to reach out. In addition to that, if you try to think in terms of how you can help other business owners and what you might have to offer them, rather than what they can offer you, it is a super effective way of building long-lasting connections and mutually beneficial relationships. It feels great!
What is your favorite part of making the scarves?
I really love everything about making my scarves – from design, to sewing, to connecting with customers. I am really obsessed with fabric – I may or may not have an entire room in my house dedicated to fabric storage – so I love scrutinizing over fabric colours, patterns and textures. BUT, if I have to choose a favourite thing about Wicked Stitch, I know hands down that it is connecting with my customers. When people get excited about my stuff, or feel like they’re purchasing the perfect gift for someone special in their life, it feels incredible. It is especially cool when I get to do commissioned pieces and I am able to make someone’s vision come to life for them. For example, before Christmas I was asked to create a set of flannel memory scarves for a lady using her late father’s old flannel shirts. It was an honour to be trusted with repurposing such treasured garments. I am told that they went over very well with her mum and sisters!
Can you give us some info on what is coming up for Wicked Stitch?
It’s going to be a big year! I am looking forward to getting my online store up and running in time for my spring/summer line. Without giving away too much, I will just say that you can expect more classic Wicked Stitch, but in breathable, light-weight materials and designs that will be perfect for summer evenings spent on the water, by the campfire or on a patio downtown… my favourite places. I am also hoping to acquire some studio space outside my home this year, so stayed tuned for a place that you can come visit me in person! No doubt, my husband will be ecstatic to reclaim some table space at home ☺
I am really looking forward to seeing this lady’s spring and summer line of scarves! To follow Wicked Stitch online, like these pages: