Monday, January 19, 2015

beginnings and endings

I'm SO EXCITED to share this post with you all!

If you've read any of my previous posts, you are familiar with my journey.  If not, here's the brief recap: I never thought I would be doing THIS for a living! I officially started this bra/sewing/teaching business as a way to sell the second pattern I developed (I published the first while in high school).  This was my side job, as I had already been working for years as a credentialed teacher.  Just for fun, right?! I was already teaching sewing classes, but I started doing a few more, along with teaching at some conferences. I was certainly busy with both jobs, but loved them each so much that I couldn't decide between the science/math gig and this bra thing. Then I had my first child.  Job #3. Wow, this mommy thing is seriously full-time! And a decision had to be made.  When the second child arrived I shifted back to only two jobs: Mommy and Bra Engineer. And now for the exciting part...


Endings...
No more teaching school (for now, at least)!
No more difficult to navigate website
No more hit and miss color availability

Beginnings...
NEW website
LOTS OF NEW fabric choices... ALL bra kits will be hand dyed (except white/black).  That means
          - lots of color choices
          - all yardage goods will be available in any of the colors!
          - LACES!!!  in COLORS!!! YEAH!!!
          - "add-on" fabrics: enough to use in addition to a bra kit to make your bra a bit fancier, or use it to make a fun pair of panties!

Really, with all the new fabrics and colors, the possibilities are ENDLESS!

Ah, it feels so good to finally take time to put my heart and soul into my business and make it my own :)  Of course, I had lots of other projects that I ended up putting on the back burner for a bit to make these changes.  But never fear... that panty book/dvd, the swimsuit patterns, swimsuit instructional materials, new classes, revised and new bra patterns...they will still be coming.

Oh, and did I mention that I'm working on some tips and tricks videos for my new youtube channel?

So much going on!  Just wanted to give you all a heads up and thank you in advance as things are transitioning in the next month.  And now, I'm off to my other job...nursing that cute 7 month old!

Happy Sewing,
Monica

Sneak peak: bra made with one of our new fabric! So pretty!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Small Business Saturday

Each year I tell myself that I will resist all Black Friday temptations.  And each year I find at least one thing that we really honestly need and I trudge into the chaos.  But not this year.  Nope, this year I stayed home and sewed all day.  It felt good, and the purple bra turned out beautifully!

I will be out shopping tomorrow, but not at the usual big box stores.  This year, all my Christmas gifts will be handmade or purchased from local stores.  Toys?  There is a fantastic local toy store that specializes in things that encourage creativity and exploration instead of being plastered with some TV character.  My husband's gift will come from the local hardware store.  Even if I get things online, I will still buy from small businesses.

Why?

Because when I support small businesses I know that my money is going directly to support someone with a dream.  Small business owners generally aren't out to make millions, we are simply out to make ends meet.  We like the challenge that being an entrepreneur presents, even though the long hours and seemingly endless list of things to do can be draining.  When we pursue our dreams, we take a big leap of faith trusting that the next dip in the economy won't send our families into ruin.  So I support these risk-takers, hoping that my little contribution will help keep their head above water.

When you purchase from BravoBella, you are not buying from a big chain fabric store whose employees may not even sew.  I have sewn my entire life, and you are supporting my love of a craft that was passed to me from my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.  You are supporting my dream to have a flexible enough schedule that I can drop off and pick up my son from preschool (and pay his tuition as well!).  And you are supporting my dream of giving back - I was given a gift of understanding fit and bra design and BravoBella is my way of giving that gift back to the world and helping women feel more comfortable and beautiful than they thought possible.

So I hope that as you do your holiday shopping this year, you remember me and all the small businesses that you come in contact with.  Let us help you bring a smile to a loved one, while helping us bring smiles to our loved ones, too.
Silly face painting with mom!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

An Average Halloween

I'm a professional seamstress.

Shucks, I even used to work as a costumer for theater productions. Aslan and centaurs, the knights of the round table, even the sharks and jets...

Maybe that's why I place such high expectations on myself for Halloween. I have the ability to make just about any cool, creative, crazy costume I could dream up. And now that I have kids, I feel even more of a burden to do something awesome.

But just because I can doesn't mean that I should. I have come to realize very clearly lately that my most valuable resource is time. There is so precious little of it and it seems to be constantly consumed by so many things. I ask myself every single day how I can best spend this irreplaceable resource.

And, sorry awesome Halloween costume that I saw on Pinterest, you didn't make it into my time budget.

This year, we made memories instead of costumes.  We painted, got our hands all gooey with pumpkin guts, roasted seeds, made rice krispie treat pumpkins... My oldest asks every day for "pumpkin Friday" and I still chuckle at the expression on the babies face when he touched pumpkin for the first time.

We went super simple this year - the boys wore their jerseys, the baby got a store-bought onsie to be a football, and this mom bought a referee jersey (which will likely come in quite handy in the future!). Little Ben was just as excited about putting black makeup under his eyes as he would have been to be a fully functioning Transformer. All the parties and events were just as fun and everyone loved our family theme.

Like most moms, I tend to have very high expectations of myself. As a recovering perfectionist, its difficult to let those go.  But this Halloween I just let myself be mediocre and gained some invaluable memories with my family. Average really can exceed all expectations!

Anyone else out there proud of being average this week?! :)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Advanced Fit, Construction, and Design Class

Check out the work of some amazing students from the latest Advanced Fit, Construction, and Design class!  They did a wonderful job with their projects!  In addition to the design work, they completed other projects with advanced construction techniques.  They also had the opportunity to fit and create patterns for numerous women with some pretty difficult fitting issues.

The next Advanced Class will be held January 17th-22th from 9am-5pm daily at my studio in Fresno, CA. Cost is $800 and includes ALL materials, snacks and lunch. Contact Monica (monica@bravobellabras.com) to save your spot - hurry, class size is VERY limited.





Sunday, October 5, 2014

Catching up!

So, I'm apparently not the best blogger in the world, considering its been a year since my last post! Another round of life changes has occurred... two months after that last post I discovered that I was pregnant with our second child!  After a very difficult pregnancy, Samuel joined our family on May 27th, 2014.  I decided to (finally) take a leave of absence from teaching science and do this sewing thing full-time... well, mostly full-time, as I do have two very small, but VERY active boys to chase after!

I am now diving head first into all things sewing and look forward to using this as a format to share what's happening in the bra-making world!  Look for some inspiration, tips, *sales*, class and event updates.

Ben and Mom (and Sam still cooking!)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The best laid plans...

often get completely thrown out when life throws you a curve ball. It's been one of those seasons. I have been needing a break from the public school classroom and my middle school darlings lately (imagine, needing a break from 13 year olds!). Anyway, I thought that break would come by diving into teaching sewing (bras and more), publishing patterns, and doing custom sewing. However, apparently life has another plan. I was offered and accepted a new leadership position at my school. It's an unbelievable opportunity that I simply can't pass up to help individual students and families, work on curriculum, and help the science department.

That DOES NOT mean that I'm done with this sewing gig! :) 

It does mean that I will have less time to travel for workshops and conferences. I will still have all the supplies available on my website and I'm still available to answer any questions (just maybe not quite as timely as I'd like :-/). If you were hoping to catch a class soon I encourage you to check out Bras 101 and Bras 102 - these DVDs are both basic bra classes that you can watch in your own home as many times as you like. Sign up for the newsletter to receive the latest specials and tips. Join the yahoo group "bravobellabras" to join a great bra making community to share successes and questions. In other words, we all need and deserve well-fitting bras and it's more fun to learn together! 

As for me, I look forward to seeing what adventures this new path holds while continuing to work together with everyone on bras and more...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shopping!

It's finally here! Check out our newly remodeled store. Easier browsing, updateable accounts, and of course great products.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!