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Anyse Mellott | Fashion Designer & Business Owner Speaks Candidly about her Career

StitchnPost: What would you like people to know about being a fashion designer and owning a small business?

Anyse: It’s always a tough road to follow one’s passions, but never give up – I know, cliché, but true. My favorite phrase is: “Growth involves taking Risks.” Things may slow down, or mistakes can be made, but if you are being true to yourself and your goals, nothing bad sticks for long. A big thing is to prep for those times mentally and emotionally, as well as thinking financially. One thing I will do between fashion projects is taking a moment to bake or play some video games. It helps during this time with COVID-19 to remember that I’m only human and it has built up relationships to have more time to reach out.

Why did you choose fashion design as your career choice?

Anyse: This goes back to my childhood and the time I spent with my great grandparents. I loved art and we go to immerse ourselves in creative activities throughout elementary. My great grandparents were very supportive, buying me paper and letting me use foil to create photo frames. I used to walk around their house to find little pieces of rock or dropped items that I could put together to make a masterpiece. My great-grandma taught me how to sew and embroider because I’d go downstairs with her while she sewed and played with my barbies. It helped that I could create small garments for them to wear from the scraps she gave me after completing her quilt. As I grew older, that idea stuck with me that I could bring my creative elements to people around the world. I love making works of art for people to wear that expresses my own passions and the emotions they evoke.

Do you remember when you decided to become a fashion designer? If so when?

Anyse: The ideas were always in my mind, as I drew clothes in all my notebooks during elementary school. I think the idea truly came to fruition around third grade. I was still doodling clothes in my notebooks and now had two friends that would help me with shoes and hairstyles. It was a real business venture.

A new challenge has reached many small businesses, individuals, and large businesses alike, COVID-19. With this challenge, how are you staying current and relevant to your fashion designs and business? Also, how are you coping with the stay at home order in Minnesota?

Anyse: A good portion of my time has been committed to creating and donating masks to local hospitals. I’ve had some sent to families across MN, as well as out of state in TX, IA, and more. A big way to move forward was to think of better ideas that would expose my business and be relevant. I’ve definitely focused on my social media for the business to be better and started to create more designs for fun. So far, I’ve reevaluated my website, business cards, and product photography. Most of my feelings during COVID-19 are how do we move forward as a society without exposing everyone and causing more harm than good. It’s also on elements as a business to create disaster relief funds for employees so that this doesn’t harm hard workers or the business. I’m not at a big enough point to worry about that, but it’s something to note for my future.

What do your friends and family think about you owning a small business in fashion design?

Anyse: Most of the time, people are blown away by an actual fashion designer. My friends and family are no exception, but they have a bit more of a respect for it, seeing my struggles. My aunt is a lifestyle travel blogger who constantly checks on me and shares updates of my business. Friends close to me love it because they get to model and wear gowns for photoshoots.

How long have you been a small business owner in fashion?

Anyse: I’ve been sewing since I was little, but I’d say my official business didn’t begin until I moved from small-town Iowa to Minneapolis for school. The business plan was constructed and structured to my goals actually became established.

Where do you get your inspiration when creating your designs?

Anyse: This is going to sound a little typical, but the world is my canvas. My first official line was 17 gowns based on buildings in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Sketches and other small projects have followed make-up, nature, art movements, and even video game characters. I really don’t limit myself because most of life has a story to tell and you can get anything to evoke emotion.

How do you currently promote your fashion designs and business?

Anyse: Most of my clientele come from word-of-mouth and Instagram promotions.

What fashion show(s) have you participated in within the last twelve months? In addition, what one show and one positive thing that you can recall happening in a show that keeps you interested in fashion design?

Anyse: Recently, I was to be part of Fringe during April 2020 Minnesota Fashion Week. It was canceled and moved to the Fall due to COVID-19, but the hosts have been very friendly about the circumstances and communicated quickly. Last year, I was in Jungle Red Salon’s Red Event that benefits local, homeless youth. It was completely different from other shows I have been able to participate in because we were partnered with ARC Value Village and made the garments from upcycled clothing. We were allowed to use fabric scraps from prior projects, but no new materials were allowed to be purchased. It was one of the most heartwarming experiences I’ve had recently because it donated all the funds from the private auction and fashion show to its cause. It was a great way to remind me that giving back and building on community is what I want to strive for. We invest in people and the world will shine.

What does fashion design mean to you and how do you determine success when designing?

Anyse: Fashion design for me is a way to get out of my head and create 3D artwork. It’s freedom of expression and an open diary for all to see the wounds.  I’d also admit that it is a way to connect with people and tell stories that you never thought would see the light – not obvious, but vulnerable. Success is honestly when I get a text from someone that hired me, wearing or sharing photos of them enjoying what I created. For a small moment, I got to make someone’s day and that’s all you can really ask for.