ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- It’s a dream a lot of us have. To turn a hobby into a successful business. Mimi G made it happen, turning her love of sewing into a multi-faceted lifestyle enterprise.
She’s online teaching people how to sew, selling patterns online and through the big pattern companies at brick and mortar stores. She even throws in some cooking videos for good measure.
But Mimi will be the first to tell you that getting here was anything but easy.
Mimi spent time living on the streets of Los Angeles – homeless. She slept in her car. She slept in the park. She had to send her daughter to live with her mother for a while. Mimi was the victim of domestic violence. All a difficult part of her journey. Looking back, she knows it all made her stronger, eventually leading her to where she is now. But that didn’t make it easier at the time.
“I can’t even tell you that just 8 years ago, I was working a 9-5 job and coming home and having nervous breakdowns in my bathroom before coming out to feed my kids and wondering how I’m going to figure this out, to being where I am now,” Mimi said. “I couldn’t see another way where I would have gained as much strength, and as much courage had I done it any other way.”
Mimi was working not one but two full time jobs, finding every way under the sun to make Ramen noodles appealing night after night for her kids, barely making ends meet. Not even really knowing what a blog was, she started one for herself. She calls it self-therapy. “Because at the time – I just sort of felt like I was drowning – which I think happens to a lot of moms and women, where they find themselves in positions where they feel like: I’m supposed to be doing something greater than I’m doing, I’m supposed to be living my purpose, I just don’t know what that purpose is.”
Quickly, she learned not only what a blog is but how to focus in on how to write a blog that meant something to her. There are dozens of sewing blogs out there but she didn’t see any that focused on what she cared about: clothes she’d actually wear. So that’s what she wrote about. And the followers came.
Now she realizes the blog and the brand that came out of it are about more than sewing.
“I realized the purpose of the blog was not about teaching people to sew,” Mimi G says. “It was about teaching people that despite whatever circumstances you may have com from or currently find yourself in, what you can do with your life really just depends on you and how much you want that change.”
Success came with challenges and changes, too.
Mimi may have built her brand on social media, but she quickly learned it is possible to share too much. She had to learn when to share and when not to share when it came to her family and her kids.
She does share what her now-husband is up to, because he spearheads her menswear line. He asked her to teach him how to sew. She says he was a natural. Now he teaches menswear sewing courses on her site and designs her menswear patterns.
They’re the only two in the family that sit at a machine and make their own clothes. Mimi says her kids have all tried it but none sew.
Why does she sew? Mimi says that she took it up because shopping was depressing. She says especially for women of color who have curves, finding clothes that fit right is a challenge. So she took to just making her own.
Fast fashion is also falling out of fashion and one answer to that is to make your own clothes – so you know it is not only made just for you but you know it will last. Mimi says if you don’t think you can sew your own clothes, a thrift-store find with new buttons or a little something else added to it can be another good antidote to the fast-fashion fatigue. Her online sewing classes, Sew It! Academy, helps teach people how to craft their own clothes.
Mimi says sewing your own clothes isn’t necessarily cheaper, but it will be made just for you and made to last. “When I take time to make my own coat, that coat is going to be with me for years.”