When we first started Awestomy, ostomy apparel, we really weren’t quite sure where to start. Neither of us knew how to sew let alone make patterns that could support ostomates needs. We scoured the internet and tried to use our networking resources to find a designer to help our ideas come to life. However, it became very frustrating when no one wanted to take on the challenge of designing cute ostomy underwear. That was until I decided to attend a Pattern meeting.
I found out about the organization through The Art Institute and was quite intimidated when the first event was a mixer at The Indianapolis Museum of Art. Being an art nerd, I had been there many times but the thought of it being a “fashion event” threw me into a frenzy of wardrobe insecurity. After about 7 outfit changes and 2 thoughts of not going, I finally made it to the museum. I was happily greeted by the organizer of the event, who had seen my profile and quickly introduced me to Awestomy’s fashion soul mate, Catherine Fritsch of Mercurious Designs. She specialized in lingerie design and her studio was located in Noblesville, a quick 15 minute drive from home. The next week, we sat and talked and sketched about what needed to be done. She was very professional and confident that we could get this going. Along the way she has taught me a lot about fabric, fashion, construction and how to run a clothing business. Cathy is truly invaluable to our team.
In developing our business and our brand we have used a variety of local businesses from HMC Screenprinters for our t-shirt printing, Studio NTK for our manufacturing, Invention Pictures for our upcoming video ID campaign and we have a few more local partnerships in the works for swimwear. Working with locally based companies is a cornerstone of Awestomy and we are excited about growing this community.
As our business grows, there are many people that are interested in why we haven’t simply outsourced our production to a different country. There are a few reasons. We keep it local because without the wonderful local companies like Mercurious Designs, our dream probably would not have come to life. Small businesses are really an amazing community. Everyone is willing to lend a helping hand or advice to help each other grow. As a business owner, there is a certain amount of security that comes from knowing your designers and manufactures. Being able to sit and talk someone in person is a great experience. You can really get your ideas across and communicate much easier. This is a luxury we often take for granted in our virtual world. Lastly, keeping things local has helped to create jobs that might not have happened. It feels nice to be one of the reasons that a wonderful business is growing right alongside your own. So for now, we are keeping production in Midwest America and hopes that we can help Indy to grow into the fashion powerhouse that we know it can be.