We went to work.
Sarabeth may not have guessed this, but when we sat down I was absolutely terrified that we would have a terrible argument and end up hating each other. I do NOT share my workspace well with anyone (ask any friend who has cooked in the same kitchen as me!), so when I realized we had to complete two drawings that BOTH of us agreed on and had participated in, I was really tense. I didn't think it would work. But it did! Before the night was over, we were bending over the same sheet of paper, pencils in hand, adding lines and saying to each other, "That's exactly what I was picturing!"
We came up with several designs.
Sarabeth, as our official secretary, sent the sketches off to the bride-to-be, and several days later (on my birthday in May, as a matter of fact) from my sewing room in Virginia to a room several states away, we had a Skype date with the bride-to-be, and I finally got to meet our client.
She was pleasant and excited, and we were excited as well, but also nervous. Nothing had been settled for sure yet, and this was where we had to be professional and convince this lovely woman that we could give her a dress that would make her special day even better. We knew we were young in business, and - might as well admit it - we'd never tackled anything this big before. But we knew that we had the necessary skills, and we were hoping and praying we'd get a chance to prove it.
The meeting ended with everybody feeling pretty good. We got the go-ahead! None of the pictures were just perfect, however, and we sent a revamped design a few days later:
After we knew the look we were going for, we needed the concrete materials to make it come to life. We scoured the Internet for fabric and I constantly messaged Sarabeth with photos of fabric, beads, and ribbon. Sarabeth prefers to buy in person, so she hadn't shopped for supplies online as much before, but I knew several "hot spots" and she had the brilliant idea of searching etsy, where we found several fabulous items. Our message count grew exponentially as we compared notes, and occasionally sought feedback from our client when we got the choices narrowed down to two or three options.
I don't think most people even think about this step in design work, but it's extremely important. We've all seen that dress that screams, "homemade!" from across the room, because of the fabric it was made from. The overlooked step of material selection is close to my heart, because I care about underdogs. It literally takes hours and hours - in this case weeks - to find just the right supplies, but it is so worth it!
Once our list was complete, it was my job to compile what we found in such a way that our client could easily imagine the finished result, and give us the final go-ahead to being making purchases and constructing our pattern. This meant making design boards.
This is a job I am in love with, so this step became my baby, and I enjoyed it. The finished boards may look simple, but they represent dozens of hours of work, and Sarabeth and I were both happy with them.
She was so patient through all the measurements and discussion, and as we bid her and her maid-of-honor goodbye, we knew that all the preliminary work was done. We were as prepared as we would ever be. The only thing left to do was begin.
To be continued.